Why does my car smell sweet?

Whether or not they will be able to handle an unforeseen issue is something that every car owner worries about. How can someone who isn’t an automotive expert even tell when something is wrong? Fortunately, our cars display symptoms just like we do. The smell in and around your car is a simple sign to keep an eye out for. What scents should you consider a warning sign since the new-car smell doesn’t last forever?

The sweet odors in your car aren’t all that sweet. 

A sweet smell is one that you should always pay attention to. While some claim it smells like butterscotch or cinnamon, others insist it smells like maple syrup. Whatever you call it, a sweet smell is typically a sign that your coolant is leaking.

The fluid in your car that controls the temperature of its systems is called coolant, also known as antifreeze. It prevents things from getting too hot inside your car and from freezing during the winter.

There is no smell when your cooling system is operating properly. The sweet coolant smell, however, is a sign that coolant is leaking when you start smelling it inside or around your car.

Your engine may become too hot as a result of this. Since overheating can ultimately result in catastrophic engine failure, coolant leaks must be taken seriously.

This can occur gradually or it can happen very quickly, depending on how serious the leak is. In either case, engine failure will result in your vehicle’s engine seizing while you’re driving, which could result in an accident and seriously hurt someone.

Should you contact the experts?

Absolutely. Coolant leaks are a major issue, and there are, unfortunately, numerous potential causes for them. Take your car to a shop right away so a mechanic can diagnose the problem if you don’t really understand it. After finding where the leak is coming from, they will figure out if it was caused by something else. The good news is that by understanding that a sweet smell emanating from your car is a warning sign, you may end up saving a lot of money over time.

Early detection of a coolant leak is crucial to preventing engine failure in your vehicle. Take it to a mechanic as soon as you start to suspect a leak because you never know when it will get worse. Early detection results in a much more affordable repair than late detection. If the issue is left unattended for too long, a coolant leak could actually cause an older vehicle to fail.

Additional risks

If the possibility of engine failure weren’t terrifying enough, coolant/antifreeze is extremely toxic and contains the poisonous compound ethylene glycol. While an adult is unlikely to ingest enough through a leak to cause too much harm, small children and animals are also susceptible, and that amount could severely harm them, possibly even resulting in death. A dog’s kidneys could be shut down by as little as a tablespoon.

Animals and kids may be drawn to coolant because of its sweet odor. Antifreeze containers should always be stored safely away from children and animals. If any is spilled, make sure it is cleaned up completely with soapy water and that any paper towels used are disposed of properly.

For the safety of you and the children nearby, be aware of any strange smells coming from your car and take it to the shop as soon as you suspect a coolant leak!

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