Skip to content

Why Car Smells Like Burning Oil when Accelerating – Reasons & Solutions

  • by
Why Car Smells Like Burning Oil when Accelerating

To ensure your safety, your car’s health issues must be identified and addressed immediately. Among many others, one serious issue is smelling like matchbox burn, rubber burn, oil burn, or rotten eggs. If you are experiencing one of these, we recommend that you take immediate action.

But why your car smells like burning oil when accelerating? The most possible reasons for such a smell are a delay in the oil change, a leaking oil filter, oil leakage from the flex pipe, a broken oil plug, and a blown gasket.

It is obviously a serious matter, but we suggest you keep calm and identify the root cause. Here, we have explained all the addressing issues to assist you in the process of getting rid of the oil-burn smell during acceleration.

Why Your Car Smells Like Burning Oil When Accelerating? Reasons and Solution

Why Your Car Smells Like Burning Oil When Accelerating

The burning oil smell is a usual problem with cars. It eventually occurred due to lateness in servicing, changing oil, replacing a broken part, or fixing a minor issue.

Engine oil has not been changed for a long periodMaintaining a timely oil change
Oil leakage from leaked flex pipes and cracked jointsReplace the flex pipe
A loose oil filterThe oil filter may be tightened or must be replaced
A faulty oil plugReplace the oil plug
Blown gasketInstalling a new blown gasket
Why Your Car Smells Like Burning Oil When Accelerating

Identifying Issues and Addressing Approaches

Identifying Issues and Addressing Approaches

Below are the most possible reasons and solutions if your car smells like burning oil when accelerating

1. Issues with Oil Change

To meet our busy-life needs, we often forget or ignore the scheduled oil change of our cars. If you haven’t changed your oil as per the prescribed timeline, it is for sure that your car’s oil already contains unwanted particles and has lost its ideal characteristics. 

This outdated oil can create a burning oil smell while speeding. To be more sure about this issue, first, you have to review the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding the oil change time limit. 

Issues with Oil Change


After knowing this, you should find the last date of an oil change for your car. If there is a difference between the allowed and actual intervals, you must act quickly to change the oil.

2. Oil Leakage via Flex Pipe

Another possible reason for the burning oil smell could be a leak in the flex pipes. This is a common issue and occurs when full servicing is delayed.

Through the flex pipe leaks, the oil spills over inside the engine bay. The heat of surrounding components makes it burn, and your car smells like burning oil when accelerating. It is hazardous; it has the potential to burst.

So, to check for flex pipe failure, two approaches should be applied.

  1. You have to do a physical inspection to find any sign of oil on or near the flex pipe. You should also check for cracks at joints as well.
  2. Try to find a hissing or rumbling noise while accelerating. Try speeding up and down. If there is a leak, the noise level will change as the speed changes.
Car Smells Like Burning Oil When Accelerating


Now, if you are sure about the flex pipe leak, go to the workshop and change it. Still, we suggest you consult with an expert mechanic before changing the flex pipe.

3. Loosely Tightened Oil Filter

The design of oil filters calls for hand tightening. But sometimes, we do not notice the appropriateness of the tightening or simply use a wrench, leaving the oil filter in a loose condition.

If the car’s oil filter is not tightened properly, the fluid will pour out of the container due to exhaust and scatter over the heated components, creating an oil-burn odor.

Loosely Tightened Oil Filter


The solution is simple: you need to tighten the oil filter until the finishing threads are. But be careful; do not perform this task just after stopping. Give the machine some time to cool down before tightening the filter.

4. A Faulty Oil Plug

If your car is not serviced on time, the associated friction generates too much heat, causing the oil drain plug to break. Like a leaking oil filter or flex pipe, a broken oil plug allows oils to leak out.

When the car accelerates, the formed exhaust triggers heated oil leakage and burns inside the engine bay, creating an oil-burn smell.


A broken oil drain plug usually leaks a noticeable amount of oil. To be sure, place a cardboard sheet below the engine and let your car idle for one night. The next morning, if you see a large amount of oil on the sheet, certainly the nut below the oil pan is broken.


Empty the oil pan, and with the help of a wrench, remove the old plug and install a new one.

5. Blown Gasket

The very basic reason for gasket breakdown is overheating. Due to late service, the per-ignition triggers fuel combustion inappropriately, throwing huge pressure on the cylinders. This excessive pressure generates more heat than standard and damages the gasket (creating a series of small holes).

As a gasket acts as a separator between the cylinder and other parts of the engine, a broken one cannot restrict oil leakage. Finally, the spilled oil burns outside, creating an oil-burn smell. 

Blown Gasket


To get rid of the damaged gasket, installing a new one is the only option.

Bonus: if you’re still left concerned, follow this youtube video for the different reasoning for that burning smell!

If you’re experiencing a burning oil smell when accelerating and running your car’s AC, you may also be interested in our article on car air conditioner smells like chemicals. This article covers the possible causes of chemical odors in your car’s AC system and provides tips on how to identify and eliminate the smell. Additionally, if you’re also noticing a dead animal smell in your car’s AC, be sure to check out our article on car AC smells like dead animal for more information.


Here, we’ve listed some most common questions related to the car’s oil-burn smell.

Q: Why does my car smell like a tire burn?

The very basic reason for such a smell is overheated tires and brakes. This overheating is generally caused by the slipping of the clutch.

Q: Is it okay to drive a car with an oil-burn smell?

No. If your car generates an oil-burn smell, it is a serious issue. You may disregard some days if you do not have time to resolve them. 

Q: Does a low oil level cause the oil-burn smell?

Yes. If you have missed the prescribed oil change date, the low oil level can create a burning oil smell.


If your car smells like burning oil when accelerating, take it seriously. We suggest that you check for all the causes mentioned: oil change issue, blown gasket, broken oil drain plug, loosely tightened oil filter, flex pipe leakage, etc. 

However, identifying one and fixing only that is not logical as there might be multiple faults. It is always better to consult with an expert mechanic before heading to any sort of fixation. So, identify the issue and take advice regarding the repairing process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *