Burning Oil Smell in Your Car? Here Are The Possible Causes

Experiencing unpleasant odors, especially car oil smells burnt during traveling or riding a car is one of the worst problems linked to a defaulted engine and oil leakage. However, it could happen due to various other reasons.  It may seem normal at the start but can cause massive troubles including engine failure if ignored or left untreated for too long.

Reasons Why Car Smells Like Burning Oil?

The type and the intensity of the car oil smell during driving depend upon the root causes of this problem. But most people consider it only to happen because of oil leakage from various points. However, a professional check-up of the vehicle can help you to find the exact reason and take steps to handle it wisely.

Some possible reasons that can cause car burning smell are listed below;

Oil Consumption

The major cause of the oil-burning smell inside the car is oil consumption. Sometimes when oil enters the engine section, it starts burning instead of going to the pan. It results in a sharp burning smell.

Investigation Reveals Oil Consumption as Major Cause of Foul Smell in Cars

Overheated Engine

The overheated engine is another significant contributor to the burning oil smell inside cars. When oil drops on the engine, it starts burning and results in a smell inside the vehicle. Engine overheated due to various reasons such as mechanical issues, damage to one or more parts, and low fuel level.

Overheated Engines Could Be the Reason Your Car Smells Like Burning Oil

Oil Leakage

Oil Leakage is one of the primary reasons for the burning smell and black exhaust when driving the vehicle. When piston rings, oil pipes and valves wear out or leak. It results in oil dripping on the engine and burning.

Oil Spills

Most people confused it with leakage. While it happens due to improper oil change methods that cause oil spills in the engine cabin. When the engine starts working, the oil burns and causes a smell. It can be solved by cleaning oil with the help of an oil-absorbing agent.

Worn Piston Rings

Worn-out piston rings are also the major cause of car smells like burning oil. They are responsible for cleaning the combustion chamber. When they wear out, they cause oil leakage to the engine, and burning this oil results in a burning smell.

Car Piston Ring

Damage Valve Seals

Valve seals are crucial to ensure a proper supply of oil and prevent leakage. When they are damaged or worn out due to debris and sludge formation they cause leakage or excessive oil flooding. It not only causes a burning smell but also results in engine failure if not taken care of in a timely manner.

The Solution To Fix Car Smells Like Burning Oil

After inspecting and understanding the cause of a burning smell from your car, the next step is to fix or eliminate these factors immediately. Changing oil is the most common and primary solution to this problem but it does not work in all cases. Therefore, we listed here some effective solutions to get rid of this problem safely and economically.

  • Regularly check the oil level
  • Make sure to change the oil before witnessing overdue oil change symptoms
  • Inspect thoroughly and find the root cause of the oil-burning smell
  • Repair the damaged parts
  • Send the car for professional service to replace the worn-out parts.


Why Does My Car Smell Like Burning Oil?

Oil and other types of fuel are the lifeblood of any type of car and other vehicles also. However, each car needs a specific level and regular oil changes to enable you to keep your car running smoothly and in the right working order. Extremely low or overfilled oil, oil seeping into the hot engine, leakage, debris building, and clogged valves are the major factors of car smells like burning oil.

Make sure to send your car for professional services to diagnose the exact cause and solution of this problem.

What Are The Overdue Oil Change Symptoms?

Changing car oil after a regular time frame is crucial to keep your vehicle engine in the right order and enjoy stress-free traveling. Skipping this routine can result in massive damage to your vehicle engine. Engine noise, the burning smell inside the car, long-distance traveling, auto alerts, dark exhaust smoke, overheated engine, and black oil is the overdue oil change symptoms or signs that your car needs an oil change immediately.

What Problems Can an Overdue Oil Change Can Cause?

Most people ignore the importance of regular oil changes and end up meeting with various problems from overheated engines to seizing the normal performance of the vehicle. Some major problems caused by overdue oil changes may include;

  • Overheating the engine can result in the wearing and tearing of other components of the oil system of the car.
  • An overdue oil change can lead to debris formation if ignored for the long term and debris can badly damage the metal of the vehicle engine and other components in the surrounding area.
  • It can also cause engine oil burning and catastrophic engine failure.

What Does It Cost To Get Rid of Car Smells Like Burning Oil?

The exact amount of treatment is not known. The reason is that it depends on the cause of the problem and the type of solution. Usually, manual repairing of defective parts costs very little money than professional services and replacement of the damaged parts. However, it’s a temporary solution and makes the situation worse if not performed in the right way.

Bottom Line

Experiencing a burning smell from the car but not overheating is a clear sign that your vehicle is struggling with a low oil level or needs an oil change. However, some other reasons can also cause this problem. Therefore, make sure to send your vehicle for a complete check-up and professional services to fix the problem.

Regular care and maintenance, changing engine oil, and keeping an eye on the oil level are crucial to ensure the good performance of the vehicle.

Last Updated on April 27, 2023 by Umar Tanveer

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