Any Vehicle, Any Condition, Up To $10,000
Any Vehicle, Any Condition, Up To $10,000

What to Do When Your Car Smells Like Antifreeze

You’re driving down the road, and you start to smell something. At first, you can’t tell exactly what it is. It’s a familiar scent, but you just can’t place it. After a little consideration, you realize what it is: antifreeze. Your whole car smells like it. What’s going on? Why does your car smell like antifreeze all of a sudden?

The smell of antifreeze in your vehicle can mean a number of different things. In some cases, it may indicate that there’s a leak in your car’s heater core. The heater core in your vehicle is important for keeping the inside of your vehicle warm: it pulls heat out of the coolant system in your vehicle an circulates that heat inside of your car. If there’s a leak in the heater core, you’ll likely notice the smell of antifreeze inside your vehicle. Replacing your heater core may or may not make sense depending on the age and value of your vehicle: sometimes, it’s better to just sell your junk car.

What Does Antifreeze Do?

Simply put, antifreeze works to lower water’s freezing point. It smells strong and distinct: if you’ve smelled it before, you know what we’re talking about. Inside of your vehicle’s heater core, a mixture of water and antifreeze is stored and later used to keep the interior air of your vehicle at a certain temperature. A leaking in this system will often result in the unpleasant odor of antifreeze wafting around the inside of your vehicle.

You might be surprised to learn that a small antifreeze leak in the exterior part of your car isn’t necessarily the end of the world. As long as the leak is slow and small enough, you can just top off your antifreeze periodically and continue to drive your car. If the leak occurs inside your car, however, it can cause damage to the interior: antifreeze is highly corrosive and will cause deterioration of whatever surfaces i comes into contact with. And, of course, if a leak gets bad enough to cause a significant decrease in the amount of coolant in your vehicle, your engine could overheat -- which is something you definitely want to avoid.

Replacing a Heater Core in Your Vehicle

Unfortunately, replacing a heater core is usually rather complicated. This is due to the fact that they’re typically located in a place that’s very hard to reach. More often than not, heater cores are located on your vehicle’s firewall, either underneath or behind the car’s engine. Accessing the heater core involves a lot of complicated disassembly, which usually requires both tools and time that the average home mechanic doesn’t have. In most cases, it makes more sense to take your vehicle in to a qualified mechanic and have them replace your heater core. If there’s a different issue with your coolant system, they’ll be able to diagnose that, too.

In some cases, though, the cost of repairing your heater core will exceed the value of your vehicle. When that happens, you should sell your junk car instead of throwing money away on a repair. Rusty’s Auto Salvage can beat any other offer in the area for your vehicle: visit our website or call us at 866-439-4401 to find out more.

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