St. Cloud Automotive and Diesel Repair

What Can Cause Your Car to Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Your car smells like sulfur, that awful rotten egg smell. This is a sure sign of serious mechanical problems. There is a tiny amount of sulfur in the form of hydrogen sulfide within the gas in your fuel tank. Normally, driving will convert it into sulfur dioxide. Result? No smell.

So, what goes wrong when conversion doesn't happen? Incomplete combustion. Something is wrong with your emissions system. A brief scent of sulfur after revving up your engine is no problem. But a lingering smell is. Time to investigate.

First, check your catalytic converter. Normally, it would convert hydrogen sulfide to sulfur dioxide. The converter may be jammed or broken. If so, replace it. If you don't, higher temperatures in your engine could lead to a car fire.

If your converter is fine, your next step is to check the fuel pressure sensor. This sensor regulates your car's use of fuel. If it fails, it'll allow oil to clog up the catalytic converter which will prevent the converter from doing its job. Result? Rotten egg smell pouring out of your tailpipe. If this happens, replace the sensor.

If the sensor is fine, check your fuel filter. A failing filter will cause the same problems as a failing sensor. The fix is the same. Replace the filter.

Finally, if these parts are working fine, check your transmission fluid. When was the last time you flushed it? It may be leaking into other systems in your engine. Change your fluid and check for leaks.

The good news is you won't have to clean your engine. Replace the faulty part in your engine or the transmission fluid and the rotten egg smell will disappear.

You should check things out anytime you smell anything suspicious while running your engine, such as smoke or burning. This could be a sign of serious damage—overheating, a leak, or worn-out brake pads. A smell like old gym clothes may indicate mold or mildew in the air conditioning system. The smell of burning rubber means something is overheating.

Your car maintenance motto should be: When in doubt, check it out.

If you need catalytic converter repair, give our auto repair shop a call today!

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