Ask Your Mechanic, featuring Sean White from VIP Tires & Service, Laconia, NH store

It’s probably not making popcorn. What do you do when your vehicle emits burning smells?

If your vehicle ever has a burning smell, trust your gut and find the closest garage, immediately. There are endless possibilities as to what the problem could be. It might be something minor now, but if you wait, it could evolve into a much larger (and costlier) concern. Sean White states that, “A burning smell is a very important (and obvious) message from your vehicle declaring that something is wrong.”

Some of the more common things that could be causing a burning smell include:


A loose connection that’s dripping on the engine


Being overdue for an oil change


A lack of engine oil


A loose or slipping belt


Brake trouble


An electrical short


Plastic bags/road trash melted


A leaking water pump


“Many vehicle maintenance tasks can be performed by the home mechanic but when it comes to that burning smell, don’t try and fix it on your own,” advises Sean. Often times, any quick little fixes can exasperate the problem and result in a costlier repair — this includes just topping off some fluids. It’s important to have a trained set of eyes, such as those of your professional VIP Master Technician, to find the subtlest of clues and accurately diagnose the problem.

It is important to notice the difference in burning smells — is it an oil-like smell or sweet, like maple syrup, or is it like rotten eggs? The answer to this question gives your technician a place to start looking for the problem. If you answer sweet, like maple syrup, it’s surely a coolant issue. This is a problem that should be remedied as soon as possible. While it’s a likely a leak; it’s a less expensive fix. If you let it go on too long, you’re most likely going to end up with some serious (and expensive) engine repair or even replacement.

Sean White is a big fan of regular oil changes; he says these are the cheapest thing you can do to keep your vehicle going. “At VIP, your professional technician will perform an overall inspection, looking for any signs of future trouble. As we transition to Springtime, it’s probably a good idea to stop by and visit your local VIP technician for a regular check up. If you need to swap out those snow tires, it’s the perfect time to see what those winter roads and potholes have done to your vehicle with a free alignment check.”

This article is made possible byVIP Tires & Service. VIP is a complete automotive repair and service center. When you choose VIP for tiresauto inspection, automotive serviceoil change, wheel alignment, brake repair services, muffler & exhaust repair, or any other car maintenance, you can rest assured that we will keep your vehicle running right. Open 7 days a week and with 56 locations throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, VIP is right around the corner when you need us

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