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My '97 Chevy Blazer smells like burning rubber when I drive it.
November 22, 2005 6:04 PM   Subscribe

My '97 Chevy Blazer smells like burning rubber when I drive it... and the emergency brake is NOT on. None of the indicators on the dashboard are showing anything either. I'm not very good with cars. What could be causing this smell?
posted by deafweatherman to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
 
Look in the engine and see if there's any debris, ditto for the exhaust and tail pipe. Otherwise I'd ask a mechanic.
posted by fshgrl at 6:09 PM on November 22, 2005


It could be one of the belts that drives parts of your engine. Pop open the hood and take a look at the dan belt, wat pump belt, Etc. See if any of them show more wear and tear than the others.
posted by Botunda at 6:12 PM on November 22, 2005


is it an automatic or a manual? when the clutch on a manual transmission starts to slip, it emits this noxious smell that is sorta like the smell of burning brakes (but not quite). if your clutch is slipping you'll notice decreased mileage and power; had either of these?

disregard this message if it's an automatic.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 6:24 PM on November 22, 2005


A few questions:
Does it happen while idling hot, or just while driving?
Are you sure it's rubber, not clutch or brakes?
If you are, is it electrical rubber or tire rubber?
Did you do a visual inspection for tire clearance and of the front suspension? (look at the tire for marks)
Could you get the car to start smelling, and then sniff around, to try to get a better handle on the source?

My first thoughts are overheated wire insulation, or something caught in the axle and rubbing on the tire. Lots of other possibilities though (overheated brake pad on one corner, a piece of a blown tire that got off the road and into the engine, etc).
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:29 PM on November 22, 2005


Belt was my first thought too.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:57 PM on November 22, 2005


most likely a belt ... hoses can smell like that if they get too hot, but i think you'd notice high temperature readings ...
posted by pyramid termite at 7:20 PM on November 22, 2005


Transmission fluid and filter might need changing. Good idea anyway.

Check that you're not driving highway speeds in four wheel drive. There is not enough slippage in the transfer case to accommodate the differences between the road and the tires, causing the tires to scrub slightly on the pavement.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:28 PM on November 22, 2005


My old car had a smell like this. I took it to the dealer, and it turned out to be a plastic grocery bag melted onto the catalytic converter. The mechanic guessed that while I was standing at the counter describing the problem.

It went away eventually.
posted by sevenless at 8:33 PM on November 22, 2005


I'd check the tires by putting your hand on each of them (after you drive a bit and start smelling rubber) and if there is friction or rubbing on the tire, it will burn you -- so be careful.
posted by orlin at 7:05 AM on November 23, 2005


I've actually seen forest fires start because of something hitting the tire and heating up -- flying off into brush and starting a fire.
posted by orlin at 7:06 AM on November 23, 2005


I'd check the tires by putting your hand on each of them (after you drive a bit and start smelling rubber) and if there is friction or rubbing on the tire, it will burn you -- so be careful.

Ditto that. And check the wheels themselves for heat, as well.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:15 AM on November 23, 2005


I vote for belt. It is probably slipping in one place (power steering?) and that is causing the friction. Check the belts for a polished finish or missing pieces.
posted by Megafly at 9:06 AM on November 23, 2005


If it screeches sometimes it's a timing belt. A quick (temporary) fix for this is to spit on it (as much as you can).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:34 PM on November 23, 2005


A timing belt isn't like an accessory belt--it doesn't screech because there are teeth on it. Unlike, say, an air-conditioner belt, which turns by friction alone. If your timing belt is screeching, that would mean the teeth were gone, which would mean your car wouldn't be moving.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:44 AM on November 24, 2005


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