Burning Rubber Smell from Engine – Oil, Timing Belt, or Other Issues?

QuestionsCategory: Ask An ExpertBurning Rubber Smell from Engine – Oil, Timing Belt, or Other Issues?
Elizabeth Thomas Jones asked 3 months ago
I recently purchased a used 2005 Pontiac Wave with 109,000 kilometers. It's been well-maintained, but I'm experiencing a distinct smell of burning rubber after driving for about 5-10 minutes. My mechanic mentioned the timing belt might need replacement soon. I've checked the engine and noticed some smoke and low oil levels. Could this be due to insufficient oil, or is it related to the timing belt? I have an appointment about 25-30 minutes away and am concerned if it's safe to drive the car before replacing the belt. Additionally, I'm curious about the feasibility of replacing the timing belt myself, as I'm technically skilled but inexperienced in car mechanics.
1 Answers
Zack Norman Staff answered 3 months ago
Hey there, Elizabeth! Thanks for your question - this is an odd one, and it does require some thought to figure out what's wrong. Let's address your concerns one by one, based on what you've mentioned:
  1. Burning Rubber Smell & Oil Level: The smell you're experiencing is unlikely due to low oil levels. However, it's crucial to ensure your oil is at the correct level, so do add oil if needed. The burning smell could be from a slipping belt or an oil leak onto a hot surface, causing the rubber to burn.
  2. Driving with a Potential Timing Belt Issue: It's risky to drive with a suspected timing belt issue, especially if you smell burning rubber within minutes of driving. The timing belt is vital for engine operation, and its failure can lead to significant engine damage. Consider rescheduling your appointment or arranging alternative transportation.
  3. DIY Timing Belt Replacement: Replacing a timing belt is a complex task, especially for beginners. It requires specific tools and an understanding of your vehicle's engine layout. While your technical skills are advantageous, it's recommended to either learn from someone experienced or leave this task to professional mechanics.
For now, we advise against driving your car for long distances. It's better to get a thorough check from a trusted mechanic to diagnose the exact cause of the smell and address any potential risks. Stay safe and happy motoring! Zack - Motor Verso Mechanics Team