View Full Version : Strange Problem

01-20-2009, 04:32 PM
Okay guys I have this strange smell that comes out of my heater vents into the cabin. It seems to have started when it got colder and when I started using the heater. It smells like burning rubber, however it isn't constant. It only happens after the car has sat for a while.

Its hard to describe so I'll just give a scenario. Okay so lets say the car has sat overnight and the next morning I get in, start her up and drive away. I drive for enough time so its close to fully warm and the temp needle is close to halfway. When I make my first complete stop at this time, say at a red light, this is when the smell starts to come in. It can be pretty strong too sometimes. I then start to drive again the smell dissipates and never comes back for the rest of the drive.

Now I've searched and found another thread that seems like the same problem but the problem was never solved or diagnosed. Now I know I gotta do a bit more testing in terms to how long the car sits to how strong the smell is and to just paying attention to all the small details.

I've also popped the hood as when the smell was coming through the vents and it seems to come from around the area of the firewall/rear of engine. But I haven't had the time to investigate with working full time, school full time and it being colder then a witch's tit in a brass cup here in jersey lately ha

I'm pretty stumped as to what it could be maybe someone can shed some light? [confused][headbang] Sorry for the long post too, wanted to be as descriptive as I could haha


01-20-2009, 06:13 PM
sounds to me like a plastic bag or something may have gotten swept under your car while driving or parked, and it is melted to the exhaust. you smell it in the cabin because the fumes are being sucked into the cabin filter when you stop. the only thing you can really do besides scraping it off, is just to let it melt away eventually. this same problem happened to my moms rav4. plastic grocery bag stuck on the cat causing a bad plastic/rubber smell from the vents. this also explains why it was never discovered because it most likely just melted away or enough to where it wasnt noticed.


01-20-2009, 06:42 PM
My skid plate dissapeared the first big snow fall of the year. I think it broke off little by little, never noticed it. lol
Anyway, due to this I think a bag got under my car and stuck to my test pipe. Wierd smell every once in a while, didn't pay too much attention. Kevin is probably right. See if it goes away soon. If not maybe it's your blower/fan that pushes the air out of the vent. It's located under/behind the glovebox. Put your head under there and see if the smell is stronger there.

01-20-2009, 06:53 PM

Hahahaha [up] [:D]

But anyway yeahhhh I dunno that seems to make sense. But its not constant and has been happening for atleast 2 months now. So if it was a bag I think it would have burned off by now and would have smelled every time I stopped?[confused]

And I'll check that fan but doesn't seem to likely either since its not constant and after it comes it goes away quickly and doesn't return for the rest of the drive. Only other thing I could think of is something is leaking slowly and then just burning off and then the smell doesn't return until its gathered there again. But I can't think of anything that would create a smell of burning rubber? It smells just like I did a nasty burnout with no smoke though lol

01-20-2009, 07:05 PM
I've got the same thing going on with mine. The fact that it doesn't happen every day is kinda odd so I'm thinking maybe it has something to do with ice or snow blocking air flow at some point. Will update if I come up with anything.

01-20-2009, 07:20 PM
Yeah it really has me lost at what it could be...

01-20-2009, 07:29 PM
Another possibility is that you have an oil leak that is dripping onto the exhaust manifold. When you're stopped, the fresh air intake into the cabin pulls the smell into the car. When you're moving, the smell is blown under / behind the car and you don't get it into the car.

My 1.8t has this problem, and it is caused by the seal at the back of the cam. When the weather gets warmer, I will replace mine.

01-20-2009, 08:04 PM
I know what burning oil smells like and its definitely not the same smell...

01-21-2009, 10:49 AM
yea burned oil is very different smell from burning plastic/rubber. something has to be rubbing/stuck to/dripping on to your exhaust at some point. inspect your manifold, turbo, cat, and downpipe and you will most likely find the culprit.

01-21-2009, 08:34 PM
Yeahhh thats the plan hopefully I can get under the car this weekend...