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My car smells like burning.

Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
edited December 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
That's it in a nutshell. My guy took a look and said that my antifreeze levels look okay, except the dipstick is charred (!). That would make sense; for the past month or so, whenever we get out of the car, there's a slight burny smell that's gotten stronger recently. It smells like hot plastic, not oil or metal, which would tally with the dipstick being burned (?!).

Twofold question: 1. Why/how the fuck would that happen, and 2. What kind of shop should I take it to? Our local Jiffy Lube is excellent, but I don't know whether this falls under their domain of...dipstick...stuff. Should I try a more expensive full-repair shop? I have to drive a few hundred miles this weekend, and I'm disinclined to let it get any more fucked up, especially not knowing the problem.

Oh, and-- Is it weird for the antifreeze to have a dipstick in the first place? The car is a 2003 Kia Rio, 75,000 miles.

Aoi Tsuki on
Some people already have said stupid things, but I'm ignoring them because I just found a potato in my fridge that looks like it's smiling.

Posts

  • Psychotic OnePsychotic One Never let an alligator... Do your taxesRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    My car was making a burning smell as well a few months back. In my case my 2008 Civic's Tensioner was putting on too much tension and the drive belt was burning up. Maybe take it to a Kia mechanic. If it happens to have been because of a recalled part they will probably fix it and be done with it. or if its in warrenty at all take it to an autherized repair shop and they can give it a good once over and see if they can find the problem.

  • Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Yeah, there was apparently a little smoke when my boyfriend drove in just now, though he didn't see much. I'll start calling shops in the morning. D:

    Some people already have said stupid things, but I'm ignoring them because I just found a potato in my fridge that looks like it's smiling.
  • FatsFats Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Did he catch the color of the smoke?

  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    This sounds a lot more like oil and the lack thereof. Take it to a service shop (as opposed to a body shop).

    When is the last time you had the oil changed?

  • Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Fats wrote: »
    Did he catch the color of the smoke?

    It was white.
    Chanus wrote:
    This sounds a lot more like oil and the lack thereof. Take it to a service shop (as opposed to a body shop).

    When is the last time you had the oil changed?

    We've checked the oil, and it's a tad low, but looks fine. I intend to ask the Jiffy Lubers about it, but the smell strongly indicates some insidiously plastic origin (corroborated by not only my car-savvy bf, but a friend of ours who said it reminded him of burning Barbie dolls as a kid).

    Some people already have said stupid things, but I'm ignoring them because I just found a potato in my fridge that looks like it's smiling.
  • AwkAwk Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    It could mean many things but my bet is on anti-freeze burning in the combustion chamber. Is it weird for the coolant to have a dip stick? Not at all, its a dipstick; it checks levels of fluids. Jiffy lube won't know anything, they're technicians, not mechanics. Bring it to a real shop and get a diagnosis.

  • Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Awk wrote: »
    It could mean many things but my bet is on anti-freeze burning in the combustion chamber.

    ...Pardon my potential stupidity, but wouldn't that smell tastier than plastic? Antifreeze IS magically delicious. (I know little else of vehicles, so blast away if I'm incorrect on that score.)

    I do know a good full-service in town. I suppose it'll depend who's available and when I can get a ride to and fro. D:

    Some people already have said stupid things, but I'm ignoring them because I just found a potato in my fridge that looks like it's smiling.
  • Psychotic OnePsychotic One Never let an alligator... Do your taxesRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Is the temp any higher than normal when you notice this?

    Is it Idling really rough as well. If you have an tachometer watch it and see if its bouncing up and down. Could mean the problem is in the drive system or belts and help narrow down your search.

  • AwkAwk Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    This is true, but it is being burnt with oil and gas. It might smell funny, possibly plasticky? You have a good point though.

  • AurinAurin Registered User
    edited December 2009
    I'd definitely watch the temperature of the vehicle when it's running. If antifreeze is leaking and the engine gets too hot you can seriously mess some things up.

    And antifreeze burning smells rather sweet. It's a distinctive smell, too, you wouldn't miss that. I've got a truck that's still burning that smell off from changing a radiator a few months ago. :P

  • Aoi TsukiAoi Tsuki Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Is the temp any higher than normal when you notice this?

    Nope. I once played a round of "Let's ignore skyrocketing car temps till we get home--oops, dense plumes of smoke so we have to stop dead under an overpass and have an asshole construction worker yell 'Hey, you can't park there!'" and dun wanna repeat the experience.

    Last question: should I go to a Kia dealership, or are they common enough that a good full-service shop could cover it?

    Some people already have said stupid things, but I'm ignoring them because I just found a potato in my fridge that looks like it's smiling.
  • a penguina penguin Registered User
    edited December 2009
    if you have antifreeze in your oil, you are Right Fucked.

    Also, yes, it has a very distinctive smell when burned, and not at all like plastic. It's a sweet smell.

    It's probably just a belt not being happy or something.

    This space eventually to be filled with excitement
  • AurinAurin Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Easiest way to tell if you've gotten antifreeze in your oil is to pull the dipstick for the oil. If it had globules of some foreign substance hanging out on the dipstick there's big issues.

    Hopefully it's something small. If it's got any warranty left, hit the Kia dealership. Otherwise, take it to a shop. Preferably one that a friend has used or you've used before. And ask lots of questions when they bring you the verdict so you can understand what they found and how.

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