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Trouble Shooters Tips:

Use Your Senses

What’s That Smell?

Learning to pinpoint strange vehicle odors can help your counterperson, service adviser or technician sniff out the real cause of the problem. Here are a few common odiferous car complaints.

Description Potential Problem
Sweet odor, usually accompanied by steam from under the hood Antifreeze or coolant leak
Heavy, thick odor, possibly accompanied by smoke from under the hood or from the exhaust Burning oil
Acrid odor, like burned toast Electrical short
Continuous, heavy sulfur odor, like rotten eggs Emissions
Burning material or rubber odor Overheated brakes or clutch
Metallic odor, usually accompanied by antifreeze/coolant odor Overheating


"It Just Isn’t Running Right ..."

Knowing something about how your vehicle performs and handles makes communicating with counterpeople, service advisers and technicians fast and easy.

Performance Problem How to Describe It
Cuts out Temporary, complete loss of power. Engine quits at sharp, irregular intervals. May occur repeatedly or intermittently. Usually worse under heavy acceleration.
Detonation Mild to severe ping, usually worse under acceleration and load. Engine makes sharp, metallic knocks that change with throttle opening. Sounds like popcorn popping.
Dieseling Engine runs after ignition switch is turned off. Runs unevenly and may make knocking noises.
Hesitation Momentary lack of response as accelerator is pressed. Can occur at all speeds. Usually most severe when starting from a stop. May cause engine to stall.
Missing Pulsation or jerking that changes with engine speed. Exhaust has a steady spitting sound at idle or low speed. Not normally felt above 30 mph.
Rough idle Engine runs unevenly at idle. Car may also shake.
Sluggish Engine delivers limited power under load or at high speed. Won’t accelerate as fast as normal. Loses too much speed going up hills. Has less speed than normal.
Spongy Less than anticipated response to increased throttle opening. Little or no increase in speed when accelerator is pushed down to increase cruising speed. Continuing to push pedal down will finally give an increase in speed.
Stall Engine stops running or dies out. May occur at idle or while driving.
Surge Vehicle speeds up and slows down with no change on accelerator pedal. Can occur at any speed.

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