Why does my car smell like nail polish remover?

We were all there. While driving, suddenly you notice a bad smell coming from your car. It smells like nail polish remover, but you can’t pinpoint its source.

Several factors can be to blame if your car smells like nail polish remover. It can be blamed on simple problems like a spilled nail polish remover bottle or more serious problems like a fuel leak.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes of nail polish remover smell with CarMats and what you can do to fix it.

Reasons for the smell of nail polish remover in the car

1. Spilled nail polish remover is one reason why your car might smell like nail polish remover. 

It stands to reason that you spilled some if your car smells like nail polish remover.

When doing your nails in the car, it’s not unusual to spill a small amount of nail polish remover.

Cleaning up any nail polish remover spills as soon as you can is the best course of action.

Clean up any extra nail polish remover with a paper towel or rag before using a car cleaner or soap and water to disinfect the area.

2 Spilled fuel

When you’re driving, if you detect a strong nail polish remover odor, there may be a fuel leak.

Fuel leaks are a serious problem that needs to be fixed right away.

It’s crucial to get your car to a mechanic as soon as possible if you suspect a fuel leak. They’ll be able to identify the issue and carry out the required fixes.

3. The oil spill

An oil leak is yet another explanation for the nail polish remover odor. The smell of nail polish remover might be coming from your car’s oil, which may be burning off in the engine.

Oil leaks are also very serious and need to be fixed right away. Take your car to a mechanic to have it checked out if you suspect an oil leak.

4. Products for chemical cleaning 

The smell of nail polish remover may be coming from any chemical cleaning products that you’ve recently used in your car.

Some cleaning supplies have a strong smell, especially when not used correctly. If you’ve used any chemical cleaning products in your vehicle, open the windows and let the car air out before you get behind the wheel. This will assist in eliminating the overpowering odor.

5 A malfunctioning air freshener

A bad air freshener is another potential source of the nail polish remover odor. The smell might be coming from a cheap air freshener that you’re using.

Although air fresheners are intended to cover up odors, they occasionally have unintended side effects. If you’re having trouble with one that smells bad, try switching to a different brand of air freshener.


Take your car to a mechanic or car dealership for diagnosis if you can’t find any problems with it. They will be able to figure out what the problem is really about and suggest the best way to fix it. 

See more: