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Reasons Why My Car Smells Like Burning Rubber When Accelerating

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Car Smells Like Burning Rubber When Accelerating

Burning rubber smell from a car is a safety hazard for drivers and passengers. Oftentimes, you will notice a burning rubber smell coming from the vehicle when you accelerate. 

But why my car smells like burning rubber when accelerating? Typically, smells like burning rubber occurs due to clutch problems, worn brake pads, loose drive belts, and many more. However, paying attention to the issue and getting it fixed as soon as possible is a must for efficient vehicle performance. 

In this guide, we will talk about the possible reasons behind the problem and how you can solve them easily. We will also talk about a few important pieces of information here.

Problem-Solving Table For Car Smelling Like Burning Rubber 

Problem-Solving Table For Car Smelling Like Burning Rubber 

Here, we have prepared a table for you to understand the reasons why the burning rubber smell comes from the vehicle when you accelerate. Take a look at these reasons and their solutions. 

Worn Out BrakesReplace the brake pads with new ones
Overinflated or Underinflated TiresInflate the tires or adjust them to the correct level
Drive Belt DamageRepair the drive belt and align it properly
Exhaust LeakSeal the leak or repair the exhaust system
Clutch ProblemIdentify the damaged part and repair or replace it

If you want to know more about the details, watch this YouTube video, 

Reasons Why Car Smells Like Burning Rubber When Accelerating 

There are quite a few reasons why car owners encounter burning rubber smell while accelerating their vehicles. Let’s have a look in detail and find out the solution. 

Car Smells Like Burning Rubber When Accelerating

1. Worn-Out Brake Pads 

The most common cause behind this problem is the brakes of the car. These brake pads of a vehicle wear out over time. And when the brake pads wear down, they start to rub against the rotors.  

These worn-down brake pads create friction and heat, which end up causing the rubber on the pads to melt. And the molten pads emit a burning smell when the vehicle accelerates. 

Car Worn-Out Brake Pads

How To Fix? 

The solution to this problem is nothing complicated. But paying attention to this issue is necessary as damaged brakes are a safety hazard. 

  1. First, inspect the brake pads of the car if you get a burning smell. Make sure that the pads are in perfect working condition. 
  2. Replace the worn-out pads with new ones in case they are molten.
  3. Getting the work done by a professional is typically the best option to ensure that the new brakes fit perfectly in place. 

2. Drive Belt Problem

Another common cause of a burning rubber smell when accelerating is a problem with the drive belt. The drive belt is responsible for powering the essential accessories in an automobile. These accessories include air conditioning, power steering, and an alternator. 

If the belt is loose or worn, it slips and creates friction, which causes the belt to heat up and emit a burning smell. This can also be caused by a malfunctioning pulley, which causes the belt to move from its original position and wear out. 

Car Drive Belt Problem

How To Fix?

  1. The solution to this problem is quite similar to the one we discussed earlier. 
  2. Check the drive belt attached to the car and ensure that it is in the correct position. 
  3. Make sure that the belt is not damaged and that there are no holes or burns on the belt. 
  4. In case the belt requires work, replace it with a new one and ensure proper positioning. 

3. Vehicle Tires 

The tires of your car can also be responsible for the problem of the burning smell that you get when accelerating the vehicle. Overinflated or underinflated tires are typically responsible for the problem. 

When a tire of your vehicle is underinflated or overinflated, it affects the balance of the tires. And this problem with balance causes wear or tire which burns to emit the rubber smell. 

Vehicle Tires

How To Fix?

  1. Check the condition of the vehicle tires and see whether there are any burns or holes. 
  2. Release some air if the tires are overinflated. And in the case of underinflated tires, fill the tires up to the right level. 
  3. You will have to replace the tires in case you notice that the rubber is burnt.

4. Exhaust Leak

The exhaust system is highly important to ensure the proper performance of the car. Leaks in the exhaust system of the vehicle can also lead to a burning rubber smell. 

Car Exhaust Leak

How To Fix?

  1. Check the exhaust system for leaks and ensure that it is perfectly fine.
  2. Close the leak or seal it properly to prevent the burning smell. 
  3. If the system or exhaust pipes are rusted or corroded, make sure to replace them on time. 

5. Clutch Issue 

Last but not least, the issue of a burning rubber smell when accelerating is often due to a problem with the clutch. Over time, the clutch gets damaged as the vehicle moves along the road. And if the clutch is worn or damaged, it creates friction which causes the component to heat up.

When the clutch heats up, it often emits a burning smell. This problem is typically caused by a worn clutch plate, a damaged flywheel, a malfunctioning clutch cable, and so on. 

Car Clutch Issue

How To Fix?

  1. Conduct a proper clutch inspection to identify which part of the component is causing the issue. 
  2. Once you have identified the part causing the burning smell, get it repaired by a professional. 
  3. Replace the part with a new one if necessary. 
  4. However, make sure that you check the entire component to avoid problems in the future. 

What To Do When You Experience A Burning Rubber Smell When Accelerating?

First of all, addressing the problem as soon as you notice the smell is important. This is because the burning smell typically occurs due to component wear or tear and damage. 

If you continue to drive a car with damaged parts, it can be a safety hazard for you. Not only that, but it is also dangerous for people traveling on the road. 

A Burning Rubber Smell When Accelerating

In case you have proper knowledge about the car, check it and solve the issues on your own. Otherwise, take the vehicle to an experienced mechanic to identify the main issue and solve it for you. 

How To Prevent The Burning Rubber Smell Problem?

How To Prevent The Burning Rubber Smell Problem

Preventing the burning rubber smell is quite easy and does not put a dent in your pocket. Take a look at how you can protect the car from this smell of burning rubber. 

  • You must keep in mind proper maintenance. Vehicle maintenance regularly is highly important to ensure automobile longevity and efficient performance. 
  • Take a look at the owner’s manual and check the components regularly. Make sure that all the vehicle components are perfectly functional and that there are no signs of damage or wear and tear. 
  • Take the car to a mechanic as soon as you notice any damage. 
  • Make sure that you drive the car sensibly. Oftentimes, excessive speed of the vehicle, harsh acceleration, and sudden and forceful brakes impact the parts of the automobile. And this impact causes the components to get damaged easily. 
  • Ensure that you drive within the speed limit and accelerate or apply brakes sensibly. 

Process Of Locating The Burning Rubber Smell Source 

Process Of Locating The Burning Rubber Smell Source 

Identifying the source from where the burning rubber smell is emitting is not easy. But you can follow this guide to locate the source to prevent severe damage. 

  1. Park the automobile in a safe spot as soon as you notice the smell and evacuate the car immediately
  2. Check the surroundings of the vehicle for any visible damage or fire
  3. Perform a sniff test to identify the source of the problem
  4. If you can locate the problem, replace the damaged part with a new one or get it repaired
  5. Contact an experienced automobile mechanic if you cannot identify the issue

However, make sure that you do not drive a car with a burning smell. This is because it is a safety hazard, and the vehicle can cause a fire. 

Why My Car Smells Like Burning Rubber When Accelerating
If you’re experiencing a burning smell from your car while accelerating, it could be a sign of several underlying issues. For instance, a burning rubber smell could be a result of a malfunctioning accessory belt or damaged engine components. Our article on burning smell from car but not overheating explains the possible causes and solutions to this issue. On the other hand, if you’re smelling a rotten egg-like odor, it could be due to issues with your car’s catalytic converter or emissions system. To learn more about this issue, check out our article on why does my car smell like rotten eggs. At Car Problem Solved, we strive to provide valuable insights and solutions to help you diagnose and fix any car-related issue.


Do you have queries about the topic? Check out our frequently asked questions section to find the answers.

Q: Is Repairing The Burning Smell Problem Expensive?

The cost of replacing or repairing the burning rubber smell depends on the severity of the damage. However, if the issue is related to the drive belt or clutch, the cost is typically higher. 

Q: Should I Drive My Car If I Notice A Burning Rubber Smell?

No, you must not drive a vehicle if a rubber-burning smell is coming out of the car. Park the car in a safe spot and evacuate all the passengers to avoid any unfortunate accidents or injuries.

Q: Can My Engine Smell Like Burning Rubber?

If you find a burning rubber smell from your engine, most probably because the engine belt has slipped and requires immediate attention


Ensuring that the vehicle is in proper condition is important to avoid the risk of car breakdown and other safety hazards. The burning rubber smell issue is quite common, but it is highly risky as the automobile can catch fire. 

Now that you know the reasons why a car smells like burning rubber when accelerating, we hope you can easily identify and solve the problems. Make sure to ensure proper maintenance and keep an eye on the components regularly.

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