Burning Rubber Smell From Car Tire (Should You Be Worried?)

A vehicle might have many sorts of smells; it can come from foods or drinks, but you will identify where and what the smell is. However, if your vehicle smells of burning rubber, then that is something that you should figure the source from. So let us talk about it. 

So should you be worried if you smell burning rubber from your car tire? To be on the safe side, you have to have your vehicle consulted if you notice a burning rubber smell on your tire because there are plenty of reasons why there is a rubber smell from your car tire. 

So with that, we will be listing down all the possible reasons your vehicle is smelling like burning rubber. We’ll also talk about how to fix the problem at hand. You have to know the reason or reasons behind the burning smell because a burning rubber smell might not automatically mean that it is burning rubber. 

This is like when you will suddenly step on the brake and if the tire will leave a mark on the asphalt or the concrete. A burning smell from your vehicle comes from a severe issue in your vehicle, and it will need immediate attention. Again, if you want to be on the safe side, you can reduce the chances of worsening the actual problem. 

It must be fixed as soon as you can because it might take a higher price to fix it. So if you smell burning rubber from your vehicle or your car tire, you need to pull over while you are driving and inspect your tires. 

You also have to check the engine compartment. So let us get started. 

Burning Rubber Smell From Car Tire

Why Does My Tire Smell Like Burnt Rubber?

There are many reasons why tires smell like burnt rubber. One of the possible reasons for that burning rubber smell is that the parts can either be made of rubber or wrapped in rubber. One of the parts might also be melting. 

This is because of the contact with a hot engine block. It can also be because of an electric short circuit, friction in the timing belt, steering belts, or compressor belts. So let us look at all the possible reasons why your tire smells like burnt rubber. 

1. You Might Have A Loose Rubber Hose

If your vehicle is smelling like burnt rubber, then the first reason is that there might be something burning, and it is rubber. Your vehicle has a lot of rubber hoses in the engine compartment, and it is needed for the optimum performance of your engine. You have to give it time, and it can be loose, weak, and break free from the clips and the pins that are placing them in position. 

If this will have contact with the part of the engine that is not hot enough to burn, they might have a burnt rubber smell. You can inspect first and look under the hood if there is a loose rubber part. 

2. You Might Have A Leaking Radiator Coolant

There are many reasons why the radiator is leaking coolant. For example, a leak in your radiator coolant might cause a smell like burning rubber if you stop the vehicle after a long drive.

3. You Might Have Burnt Motor Oil

A burning rubber smell can also be because of a motor oil leak into the exhaust pipe. In that case, you might smell something outside your vehicle. After driving your vehicle for about thirty minutes, the burnt tire smell will be even more robust. 

This will clear up after an oil change. However, if the oil change is not done correctly, the oil is overflowing, or you might have an oil plug that is not screwed tight enough, then some of the oil might not drip into the exhaust system and to some other parts. 

4. You Might Have The Odor From The Heater

If your heater has a burning rubber smell, the duct might be blocked by debris and dust if you turn it on. Your engine might be trapped with a loose plastic bag. The heater may be a part of the heater core. 

5. You Might Have A Burnt Our Brakes

If you brake intensely, you might have a brake bound to the rotor or the warp. The friction might cause the metal to expand. As a result, there will not be enough cooling time in each application of the brakes. 

6. You Might Be Clutching Too Hard

If you have a manual vehicle, you might be already familiar with a gear stick or a clutch. However, some people ride their clutch very hard just before switching their gears. This will have friction if the driver is not correctly compressing the clutch. 

7. You Might Have A Short Circuit In The Electrical System

If there is a short circuit in your vehicle’s electrical system, you might be smelling burnt rubber. The vehicle is made out of plastic. 

If the system is running, there will be no short circuit. But short circuits can happen if the wires in the system are handling more load than they are supposed to, and this will then cause them to heat up. 

Is It Bad When Your Tire Smells Like Burnt Rubber?

If your tire smells like it is burning, it can be from the drivetrain. It can also be the parking brake. There must also be a stuck brake caliper on the side. 

It can have significant wear in your brake pads and might need replacement. You might also damage the brake motors by wearing them down, warping them, or even both. You can have your vehicle consulted by an expert mechanic. 

You can also overload the tires. The tires might also be underinflated. Finally, the burnt rubber might be wrong, depending on the reason. 

What To Do When Your Tire Smells Like This?

You can do that. You have to stop at an exceptionally safe place and inspect your vehicle all over. You must start with the tires. From there, you can move from the hood of your vehicle. 

What Does A Burning Tire Smell Like?

The smell is like an acidic or tangy smell with a dash of sulfur or carbon. The characters of the fumes can be a result of the burning of polymers. 

Is It Bad To Smell Burnt Rubber?

If you inhale a burning rubber or a burning plastic, it is harmful because it has chemicals and poisons like cyanide and carbon monoxide. Inhaling harmful smoke from a burning rubber can cause irritations on your lungs and your airway. 

As a result, it can cause them to be swollen and then blocked. If the airway and the lungs get damaged, the oxygen cannot go into the blood. As a result, there can be a risk of respiratory failure. 

How Long Does It Take For The Burnt Rubber Smell To Go Away?

It can go away for about ten or twenty complete cycles. Sometimes, it can get lower than that, or it can also get higher than that.


In summary, the smell from a vehicle is a common occurrence. Many car drivers have a strong smell, and it can come from food or drinks that have spilled. 

But there are also moments when a car tire has a burning rubber smell. There are a lot of possible reasons. You have to find what the exact reason is.



Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more