Why Does My Car Smell Like Burning Oil?

Your car might smell like burning oil. The smell is caused by a buildup of oil on the exhaust manifold. This buildup can be caused by a leak in the valve cover gasket or another component of the engine.

It’s important to have your car checked out if you notice this smell or other symptoms like smoke coming from the tailpipe or excessive oil consumption. Your vehicle’s engine could be damaged and need repairs, which will cost money.

If you wait too long, it may become necessary to replace parts that would have been inexpensive to repair if treated early on.

What are the symptoms of burning oil?

If you’re noticing that your car smells like burning oil, it could be a symptom of something much more serious. But if you’ve noticed the smell recently, or if it’s been happening frequently, it’s worth investigating.

The main symptom of burning oil is that your car will start to smell like burnt oil. You might notice this as an odor inside your car, or you might notice that it smells stronger when you open the hood and look at the engine.

If you notice that it smells like burning oil when you turn on your engine but not when you turn off your engine, then this is probably what’s causing the problem hot oil from a leaking gasket or seal has burned off and settled in the engine bay while waiting to be taken out of service by a mechanic.

What causes burning oil in cars?

It’s possible that your car’s engine is burning oil because it has a leak. This can happen when an engine part wears out or has been damaged by another part. The second cause of burning oil in cars is a clogged filter.

When dirt accumulates on the filter, it prevents the oil from flowing through it properly and causes the engine to overheat and burn off the excess oil. The third reason for burning oil in cars is poor fuel quality.

If you’re using cheap gas or dirty fuel, this may be why your car smells like burning oil! The fuel burns inefficiently, causing excess pressure and heat that results in burning off some of the lubricating properties of your motor oil.

What does it mean when your car smells like burning oil?

If you have a car, then you’ve probably experienced the smell of burning oil at least once. The smell is usually noticeable at the time of an oil change, but it can also occur after driving for a long period of time or when there’s a problem with your engine.

The smell is caused by oil that has been burned by the engine. This means that some of the oil has become too hot and turned into carbon and other particles that emit this unpleasant odor.

The smell may be more noticeable if you’re driving on a highway because airflow can’t circulate as freely inside your car. The smell could also be stronger in older vehicles because they use more oil than newer ones do.

The oil pan gasket is cracked or damaged

If your car smells like burning oil, it could be because the oil pan gasket is cracked or damaged. The oil pan gasket is located under the car, between the engine and the transmission.

It seals up the opening where oil passes from the engine to the transmission. When this gasket is damaged, oil can leak into your car and make it smell like burning oil.

Buy a new gasket for your specific vehicle. If you don’t know what kind of vehicle you have, look inside your glove compartment for a sticker that says something like Year Model Vehicle. Then, use this information to find a replacement gasket online or at an auto parts store.

Place a drain pan underneath your vehicle’s engine. Then remove all visible bolts that hold down the cover plate for the transmission usually, there are about five or six of them total. Once these bolts are removed, lift up on this cover plate so it’s not touching anything else anymore then remove it completely.

The dipstick doesn’t go all the way into the engine

If your car smells like burning oil, it’s probably because the dipstick doesn’t go all the way into the engine. That means that you can’t check how much oil is in your car, which is a problem because your engine needs oil to run smoothly.

If you can’t get the dipstick all the way down into the engine, then you should check with your mechanic or dealership about getting it fixed. They usually cost around $100-$200 and take about an hour to install.

The oil cap is loose or missing

If you smell burning oil, it’s possible that your oil cap is loose or missing. The oil cap is a small, round plastic part that sits on top of the engine and keeps oil from leaking out. If the cap isn’t tight enough or if it has fallen off completely, you may see a burning smell coming from your engine. You can fix this problem by tightening the cap or replacing it altogether.


When your car starts to smell like burning oil, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong. The burning oil odor can be caused by a variety of problems, but the good news is that most of them are easy to fix. We’ll go over some of the most common causes of your car’s burning oil smell.

Steven Hatman
Steven Hatman

We break down every information into easy-to-understand articles that cover all the categories anyone who owns a car needs to know about, such as oil , brakes , tires and etc. Our car guide is free and updated regularly for you to use as a resource, not only when you have an issue with your car but even before buying a new or used car! We also give tips on what to look for in each category or part of your vehicle.