If there's a peculiar sulfuric smell in your car, you should get it seen to as soon as possible
Like with strange sounds from your car, certain smells can also be an indication of a problem. If you've ever hopped into your car and caught a whiff of a strange rotten-egg-like smell, you likely have a problem that needs to be addressed quite urgently. Sulfur is most likely the odor you're smelling - a compound that is found in the gasoline that combustion-engined cars burn to run.
A car in good condition will have all the working parts to burn up the gasoline and convert the resulting emissions into a neutral gas that is then ejected from the car via the exhaust. It is quite the process, however, and if there is any sort of fault or damage anywhere in the system, the result could be ineffective emissions and the smell of rotting eggs in your car.
So, if you've wondered why your car smells like rotten eggs, read on to find out some possible causes for this kind of car trouble.
Whether you get the rotten egg smell in your car when accelerating or when it's just running, these are the three most likely causes as to why your car smells like rotten eggs:
There are many small issues that you can deal with yourself on your vehicle and basic maintenance like oil changes and even changing out brake pads can be done at home with some guidance. Issues like the smell of rotten eggs in your car, however, are serious - the implication is that if you can smell it, noxious fumes could be leaking into the cabin.
The best course of action is to seek the help of a professional as soon as possible. Read our guide to finding a good mechanic here. Remember to drive with open windows for proper ventilation until you get there; it's not safe to spend time in an enclosed space with toxic fumes leaking into it.
Here are some of the other odors you could smell in your car and their possible causes:
Yes! It is generally the burning of a toxic by-product such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and nitrogen oxide that results in the rotten egg smell, a symptom of a failure either in the fuel, exhaust, or transmission system. Breathing in toxic fumes is highly dangerous.
No, oftentimes you'll just need to get a mechanic to repair or replace the car part that is causing the problem and the smell will dissipate; it shouldn't return once the issue has been solved.
Cars like the Toyota Mirai, Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, and the Hyundai Nexo do not use traditional combustion engines and have no harmful emissions. As a result, hydrogen fuell cell vehicles do not need a catalytic converter the way gas-powered vehicles do. These kind of vehicles use precious metals as a catalyst for the chemical reaction needed to power the car, which is a catalytic converter of a different kind.
Whether it is a transmission fluid leak or issues with your car's exhaust or fuel system, if your car won't start, chances are there is a problem with the battery. If the battery has cracked, leaked some acid, or shorted out, you may catch the rotten-egg smell and have no power to start the car. A new battery is the way to go, here.