How To Get Rid Of Antifreeze Smell In Car

How To Get Rid Of Antifreeze Smell In Car

When handling our car, we occasionally detect a pleasant odor that resembles a sweet mixture of water and chemicals – the antifreeze smell. Antifreeze is used to cool our cars by transferring heat from the engine to the radiator, preventing it from overheating. It has a sweet-savory scent, but the chemical components make it toxic and dangerous to inhale.

To get rid of the antifreeze smell in your car, check for leaks in the car’s heating and cooling system, replace worn-out radiator caps, and have the engine serviced on a regular basis. A damaged or expired antifreeze could also be the source of the odor, so replace it with a new and good one.

Antifreeze smell is not like other car odors that fade with time; it is an important component that keeps the car engine running smoothly so cannot be overlooked. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about antifreeze, including how to avoid leaks and get rid of its smell in your car. Let’s get right to it.

Tips for Getting Rid of Antifreeze Smell In Your Car

Antifreeze odors can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from a simple hose puncture to a more complicated issue like a crack in the coolant container or heater core. Once you’ve identified the possible source of the smell, it’s then easy to counteract. 

Some of the best ways to identify and get rid of the antifreeze car smell are as follows: 

  • Check for Leaks in the Heater Core and Cooler Compartments

Antifreeze smells are typically produced by leaks in a car engine’s coolant and heater. A coolant leak indicates a failure in the heater core, which can cause an antifreeze smell in our car, so thoroughly inspect your vehicle for leaks.

  • Replace worn-out Radiator Caps

Another reason you may experience the smell might be your radiator cap has weakened over time and can no longer withstand the pressure of the antifreeze mixture. To address the issue and prevent further engine damage, you may need to replace the radiator cap.

  • Service Your Car Engine and Perform Other Routine Checks

You should double-check that all engine parts are in good condition, that there are no cracks in any hoses, and that all other hoses, nuts, bolts, and seals are properly connected. The antifreeze smell can result from any leak or breakage, so make sure all engine parts are in perfect working conditions.

  • Replace Your Antifreeze With a High-Quality Product

A major source of this issue could be the use of an outdated or expired antifreeze. Not only will it cause the antifreeze smell, but it also has a negative impact on your vehicle’s engine and overall operations. You should use high-quality antifreeze products, such as Zerex and STAR BRITE Synthetic Coolant.

Other measures to consider:

  • Change the coolant heater core in your car.
  • Pad all floor carpets and foot mats because antifreeze takes time to evaporate, especially in a closed vehicle.
  • Disinfect all car interiors with Lysol Disinfectant.
  • It could just be a smell of sweet debris lingering in the car so you should avoid lurking debris around car fittings

How To Detect An Antifreeze Leak Smell

Locating the smell of an antifreeze leak is the first step to dealing with it. Many a time, the smell of antifreeze leakage is difficult to detect due to its weak concentration or the antifreeze leakage has diluted in the environment area. Don’t worry; we have the most effective solution for you.

To easily detect the location of the smell, follow these steps:

  • Before parking, hover around with your car for about 5 minutes to allow it to warm up then wait a few moments and see if you can detect the smell.
  • Check beneath your vehicle for antifreeze drippage and whether the odor is still present.
  • Allow your car to cool for a while after turning it off.
  • Open your car bonnet and inspect the radiator cap and surrounding hoses for cracks and breaks.
  • Check that all of the engine connections are securely fastened.

After completing all of these steps, you can be confident that you have identified and resolved the source of the antifreeze smell. If the smell persists, it is a more complicated problem and you should seek further assistance from your mechanic.

What Makes Up The Car Antifreeze?

Antifreeze is a uniform mixture of chemicals diluted with water. Its dilution with water accounts for its low freezing point, and why it’s used as a coolant in the car engine. The chemical components of the car antifreeze and their level of toxicity are tabulated below:

ComponentsToxicity Levels
MethanolHighly Combustible and Toxic
GlycerolNon-Toxic (Antifreeze sweet smell)
Ethylene GlycolExtremely Toxic to Humans
Propylene GlycolModerately Toxic

The components of a car antifreeze explain why, despite its sweet-savory odor, it is toxic and should be gotten rid of at any instance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why Do You Smell Antifreeze In Your Car?

A: You will notice a sweet antifreeze smell if you have an antifreeze leak in your car engine’s heater core and cooler compartments. To avoid your car from overheating and to prevent its toxic effects, get rid of the smell.

Q: Is My Car’s Antifreeze Smell Toxic?

A: Yes,  it is a toxic odor that must be eliminated. Antifreeze chemical components can biodegrade in the human body and interfere with the kidney, lung, brain, heart, and nervous system. The breathing process is also hampered, which can cause sudden death. If you inhale a large amount of this odor, seek medical attention immediately.

Q: What Should You Do If Your Car Smells of Antifreeze?

A: Check for leaks in your car’s cooling compartment and surrounding hoses, install a new heater core, replace worn-out radiator caps or gaskets, and service your car engine.

Final Thoughts

Car antifreeze is a sweet and savory smell you may perceive while driving, but it’s not entirely pleasing if left for long. Getting rid of its smell is easy if you can recognize where it comes from. Hopefully with the help of our article, next time you perceive this sweet yet toxic smell, you can now handle it!


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