12 Causes Burning Oil Smell Through Vents: Reasons And Solutions

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Do you like to drive with rusty and wired burning smells? Impossible, isn’t it? But often, you may notice a burning oil smell through vents without noticing. It happened suddenly, and driving will be hazardous. Not only does it become hazardous but also feels uncomfortable all the way.

The most common reason for this burning smell is leaking and spilling the engine oil on hot surfaces. Most probably the exhaust pipe or exhaust manifold starts to burn oil that causes and creates this smell. In addition, too old and lousy engine circulation can also cause this problem over time. Leaking and baking the engine oil or fluid causes a weird smell also.

However, there are many reasons behind the burning smell coming from air vents. Knowing every detail of information will save you and ensure what are the exact problems in the future. Therefore, keep reading this article from top to bottom. You can understand the possible reasons and their solutions from here.

12 Most Possible Reasons Why Burning Oil Smells Through Vents

Noticing any smell like a burning smell coming from the air vents indicates problems inside. When it comes through the vents, there are a lot of reasons. But the most common is pouring too much oil into the engine, which leads to falling into the hot chamber, resulting in the burning oil smell. Here are the possible reasons that help you to get precise thoughts.

1. Too Much Oil Pressure

Oil or fluid is required to run the engine without any trouble. But it should be the proper amount of fuel. Neither too much oil level is suitable for low level. The accurate measurement is enough and mandatory to keep the system running flawlessly.

But unconsciously or consciously, you pour too much oil into the tank, which increases the oil pressure surprisingly. When the engine gets too much oil, it circulates too fast. Moreover, it causes the motor to go to the buck, and driving quality is reduced significantly. If it limits here, it is considerable.

Unfortunately, it creates odors that are harmful to the body and car. So, it can be said this is the first but most common cause of smelling like burning plastics. However, this is not a good sign at all. You need to take it into account and fix the issues soon. Don’t pour too much engine oil into the tank and give your car a sweet touch.

2. Oil spilling

Oil spilling is a common but severe occurrence when pouring oil into a tank. It happens unconsciously though, it is a concerning matter for drivers. When inserted, oil or fluid always falls on evaporating or hot surfaces, such as an exhaust manifold or pipe. After a few minutes of starting, it starts to burn and evaporate.

In this circumstance, it burns and smells weird. If you notice this, take a step immediately and check the exhaust manifold or pipe is there any oil left or not. Remove any oil stain after a few minutes of stopping the engine. If you don’t notice any oil stain in the exhaust manifold, switch your mind to the next causes.

3. Leaking oil rapidly

There is another mandatory consideration when smelling burning oil when idle is oil leaks after the oil change. It happens when the engine oil is rotten completely. In addition to the rotted gasket, oil seals damaged or poor connection are responsible for leaking oil rapidly.

To check deeply and identify the problem, go under the car. After that, check and recheck the oil pan seals or drain plug. There you may notice the shape is incorrect.

If the shape is incorrect, the oil leaks surely. Still, don’t understand the leakage problem? Then check the shape of the timing cover seal and valve cover gaskets.

4. PCV Valve Leak

Another substantial and well-estimated reason for burning oil smell vent cover is a PCV valve leak. On the bottom side of the engine, it is connected to the crankcase, which holds the motor oil. Fuel circulates at a certain speed when it is in good condition. From time to time, it opens and closes, ensuring proper oil flow.

Getting it clogged or not closing on time can be a big problem. Among them, are poor acceleration, too much oil consumption, braking instability, and seat idle overtime during driving. When it is idle roughly, it is common to damage spark plugs.

It impedes engine ventilation, which is a hindrance to correct airflow, with crankcase ventilation. Another problem caused by a bad PCV valve is it builds up high pressure in the valve cover, covers bolt failure, and causes a faulty oil gasket.

5. Valve cover oil leak

Oil leaks from the valve cover gasket are considered the most potent and significant reason in this particular scenario. Sometimes, it is known as the origin of this problem.

Usually, oil leaks on the back end of the cover gasket cause excessive oil dripping on the exhaust manifold or pipe. It sometimes causes a significant burning odor in the engine components. Most of the time, this issue is difficult to find as it leaves no sign.

The most common reason why the valve cover leaks oil is an old car. When the car gets old, it can’t perform the way a new car treats. This is why the nuts and bolts start to lose which causes oil leaks. So as soon as you find the cover leaking problems, don’t leave it for a seat. Try to fix it immediately by yourself or a mechanic.

6. Exhaust system leakage

The exhaust system handles bulk work efficiently by removing burnt or excessive oil, dirt, dust, and other debris. It keeps the engine fresh and helps to start on time. But a faulty or leakage exhaust system can’t perform the way a perfect condition exhaust pipe does.

When the exhaust leaks oil indiscriminately, engine components transmit a burning odor through the AC vents. Any damage to the exhaust pipe, catalytic converter, or muffler leads to exhaust gas overflow or uneven flow, which causes a nasty and wired firing odor.

7. Not careful about oil change

Many drivers may fail to change the oil at the right time. It causes significant damage to the engine and other internal parts. Unfortunately, poorly inserted oil can damage the circulation and cause overflow, which leads to engine malfunctions. Also, the engine loses its versatility and functionality. As a result, you may smell like burning odors.

In addition, excessive oil damages the air filter as it can’t flow air correctly. However, it’s not a breathtaking or challenging task to solve. Simply changing the oil after emptying the oil tank is all that is required to keep the fluid healthy. Don’t put too much fuel in the tank to avoid further damage.

8. Air filter damage

The air filter ensures that the airflow into the engine is correct and keeps the engine running smoothly. A bad or dirty filter prevents air flow and tends to consume fuel significantly. It will impact the end of the session. In addition to cleaning the engine and other internal components, a clean and purified filter can easily remove dirt and debris.

Not only does it help to flow the right air, but it also helps to produce sufficient power. It is recommended to change and replace the air filter after detecting the problems. Otherwise, you need to prepare yourself for the next danger.

9. Loose oil drain plug

Well-shaped and well-organized drainage systems are mandatory to drain waste or unnecessary oil. When unnecessary oil or debris gets clogged into the engine or air filter, the entire system will lose its performance.

After getting the car old, the nuts and bolts from the joint started to lose and it caused the drain plug to. For this reason, the oil emits significantly and causes a burning oil smell.

10. Low oil level

As mentioned earlier, high-pressure oil levels can cause a burning odor. But don’t forget low oil level is still a threat to cause this particular problem. When the oil level is too low, the system will fail to serve accurate performance. The reason behind this is getting less oil.

Consequently, the engine is deprived of getting enough fuel and the piston starts to crash. After that, it may produce a burning smell through the vents.

11. Rear valve cover gasket leaking

Very often, the burning smell of oil is noticed when the back end valve cover gasket starts leaking oil when running. It happens for the contact valve covers the hot exhaust manifold and burns excessively.

Sometimes, white and black smoke comes from the engine through the exhaust system. It is considered a severe issue as the engine loses its running capability. If you run the car with a leaking gasket for a long after detecting it, surely, you will lose your beloved car forever.

12. Deteriorating Hood Seal

Hood seals are efficient in running the engine flawlessly by reducing noise. It starts to destroy the engine when it goes bad. When the hood seal works accurately, the engine runs smoothly. So whenever you notice the hood seal stop working or you hear an unusual sound come from the door sides, change the hood seal immediately.

How To Eliminate Burning Oil Smell That Comes Through Vents: Easy Troubleshooting

Eliminating this burning odor coming from the vents is crucial when you’re determined to drive stress-free driving. But not every time it happens because of a lack of knowledge. Here is the most effective guide to solving this problem have a quality ride always!

Find the exact issues

Fixing any problems is essential to get a good result. But before that, finding the exact issues is more than crucial. If you can’t fix the exact problem, the problem will remain after repair. The burning smell occurs for so many reasons. But any single reason can cause great damage. Therefore, identify the problem first, and then go for the next step.

Understand when it happens

There are two times when you can smell burning oil while driving and while idling. Oil burns can be detected after a few miles (500 miles). Again, when you just insert the oil and keep the car idle or seat for a while, you notice burning smells. Therefore, understanding the timeframe is your next priority before fixing it.

Maintenance accurately

Maintaining a car or anything else regularly is mandatory if you want to keep them in shape. But most of the time, damage can happen due to poor maintenance like inconveniency in oil changes, avoiding battery fixing, and any other damages. Therefore, maintenance now and then of your car is a major consideration.

Don’t sit with a single defection

When you notice the smell, check, and overcheck repeatedly. You may find valve cover gasket failure and think it is the only reason. But it may also happen for lousy PCV valves. If you fix only the valve cover gasket, the issue remains because you don’t fix the other issue.

So it is recommended that changing and replacing the worn-out components every few months keep the car stable and workable.

Clean the air-circulated filter

Unclear or dirty air filters damage many things in the car. As a result, you can’t find any peach while driving the car, let alone enjoy a long journey. Cleaning and checking the air filter or AC vents regularly will make you feel a better ride experience.

Fix the motor

The motor plays a significant role in enhancing drivability and power. If the motor or vents defect, the entire system will fail to serve. So keep the motor always fit to produce more power.

Take the car to the technician

As a last resort, you can consult with a mechanic. Take your car to the garage and tell them the problems. They will make your car better and fix the issues easily.

Final Verdict

Driving is worthless and boring when something goes bad inside. And when it comes to the burning oil smell through vents, it is going to be the most wounded thing. No car owner wants to meet this problem at any time. But unfortunately, often, it occurs and hampers the drivability. The article already showed the reasons and how to avoid them in the future. Identify the exact problems, fix them accordingly, and make your driving smooth. 

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