Why Does My Car Have A Burning Oil Smell But No Leak?

Sometimes, you find a burning smell in a  new car. But what if there is a burning oil smell but no leak in your old car? It is one of the most common cases you can meet once, and it concerns you.

So what can you do if you detect a burning oil smell from cars? Knowing the exact reasons for this annoying odor will help you find optimal solutions. Let’s start!

Why There Is A Burning Oil Smell But No Leak?

burning oil smell but no leak

When you detect a burning oil smell from a car, a lack of engine oil or a problem arising in the clutch, brake, exhaust pipe, or electrical parts is to blame.

Or there might be an oil overfill inside, but you can see it.

Engine Oil Overfilling

It is possible for the engine’s oil to leak into the engine gaskets, washers, and other components of the engine if the vehicle is filled with oil.

However, after entering the engine compartment, the oil does not get into it; this might cause it to catch fire or sustain engine damage.

However, depending on the engine’s size, it will most likely do the same thing; it will eventually become useless.

In most cases, the exhaust will produce a significant amount of white smoke caused by the combustion of oil.

A strong indicator is that the oil is also ignited simultaneously with the gasoline inside the cylinder.

Very Little Remaining Engine Oil

In contrast, when your car is almost out of oil, it will begin to burn oil when it does use it. Oil is necessary for the engine since it lubricates all working components.

When the supply is low, those pieces start constantly scraping against each other, which creates heating and friction.

The engine heat has the potential to ruin the engine by wreaking havoc on its components and bringing about its demise.

Burning Smell From Clutch 

Why does my truck smell like burning oil? There is a possibility that the compressor clutch in your car is sliding and leading to the car smelling of burning oil.

When the clutch pedal fails to engage correctly, the gears are not activated, resulting in the engine revving faster than normal, even when the vehicle is not moving as quickly.

In addition, a smoky odor may be produced since this causes friction.

Burning Smell From The Exhaust System

If there is a burnt oil smell in the car from the exhaust pipe, this might be an indication that the catalytic converter is defective.

The catalytic converter plays an important role in the process of converting potentially dangerous gasses in the exhaust into less dangerous ones.

However, it may give off a scent similar to burning when it deteriorates.

Brake Burning Smell

If you smell burning from the car’s brakes, this might be a clue that the brake pads need to be replaced soon.

When the brake pads are worn out, they might start to grind against the brake rotors. This also can cause the brakes to become less effective and lead to overheated brakes.

The grinding action might produce a burning scent, depending on how fast it is done.

Burnt Smell From Electrical Components

When a fault involves one or more electronic systems in the device, such as a piece of plug wire, a blown-out fuse, or an overheated relay, there will be a burning oil smell.

This odor can make you confused with the aroma of motor oil that has been fumed.

Transmission Fluid Starting To Leak

A burning odor might indicate that the transmission fluid is leaking when coming from the transmission. When the fluid spills, it might combine with the oil, generating a smoky odor.

Take your vehicle to a technician for an inspection if you detect the burning oil smell through vents but cannot locate any visible signs of engine oil leaks.

It might be something uncomplicated, or it could be an indication of a more significant issue. It is always preferable to err on caution rather than admit defeat.

How Can We Remove The Car Smells Like It’s Burning Oil?

The easiest way to get rid of it is to take it to a technician or repair shop. They will inspect to see what the problem is.

The technician may be able to solve the issue by determining the source of the burning oil smell inside cars.

However, it is advisable to contact a moving truck and have the vehicle towed to a secure area if the reason is unclear or if the car smells of burning oil followed by flames or a misfire.

In any of these cases, the driver should immediately exit the vehicle.

How To Know If The Engine Is Burning Oil?

burnt oil smell in the car

The simplest way to tell whether a diesel engine is eating oil is to track how much oil it has used. Then, before setting off on a journey, ensure the car’s oil has reached its maximum level.

After many trips for two or three days, you should double-check the water pump level. If it has dropped, there is no tellable sign of a leak, but the oil is probably gone.

When you see heavy, blue-tinted smoke coming from the tailpipe while driving, it might be an indication that your engine is consuming too much oil. A glance at the oil level will confirm this.

Is It Safe To Drive My Automobile If It Has The Smell Of Burning Oil?

It’s tough to tell whether driving is safe without knowing more about the issue.

If this distinct smell is caused by exhaust leaking through the pinhole, the leak must be fixed before you can continue your travel without creating any more issues.

A nasty oil odor might hint at an unclean system, but you could still drive.

Unless the smell is strong or you suspect a major issue in the engine, you should avoid long-distance driving.

Your automobile must have a pre-check feature once you discover an engine oil leak beneath it. Our research shows that running short on oil may be disastrous for an automobile’s motor.

Never risk damaging your car by driving on less oil than what is recommended by the manufacturer.

Take care of the oil odor as soon as possible if you aren’t in a bind and don’t have an urgent need to utilize your vehicle.

A rumble check may not reveal oil holes, but an oil leak within the vehicle might be the source of the unpleasant oil odor.

If that’s the case, you might run into another problem with your engine after a lot of driving rather than fixing it right away.


Is It Typical That I Can Smell Oil After I’ve Been Driving?

It is usual to smell oil after traveling, but if the abnormal odor is very strong, it may indicate a problem.

When you sense anything like burning oil inside your vehicle, you should take it to a technician so they can inspect it for you.

Is It Possible For An Engine To Burn Oil Without Producing Smoke?

Yes. An engine can consume oil without producing smoke.

What Can I Do to Prevent the Oil in My Car from Being Burned?

The most effective method to stop your vehicle from wasting oil is to frequently check the amount of oil in the vehicle and to top off the oil if it is low.

In addition, you want to make it a routine practice to have a technician examine your vehicle to guarantee that everything is in proper working condition.


All in all, don’t freak out if you find a burning oil smell but no leak. There are many possible reasons, most of which may be resolved with little effort.

But if the issue is severe and can be resolved at home, take your car to a repair shop for the assistance of a specialist.

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