person smelling car vent

Why is there a sweet smell coming from my car?

There’s a Sweet Smell Coming from My Car…What Should I Do?

Here at Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale, AZ, we want to make sure that your Mercedes-Benz vehicle is in tip-top shape. However, stuff happens. Sometimes things go wrong. And while it may be obvious that something is wrong, it may not be obvious what the problem is. For instance, a common complaint for car owners is there being a sweet smell coming from their car.

Why is there a sweet smell coming from your car? Let’s take a look.

car radiator

Sweet Smell = Coolant Leak

If there is a sweet smell coming from your car, then it’s most likely leaking coolant (or antifreeze, for anyone that lives where it gets below freezing). Leaking coolant is a major problem. If your vehicle gets too low on coolant/antifreeze, it will overheat. Most of the time, you’ll stop driving due to all the steam coming from your engine compartment. However, leaking coolant, if left completely unchecked, can and will cause total engine failure. An engine that fails due to overheating usually cannot be fixed and must be replaced, which is very, very expensive. But don’t worry! Leaking coolant can be easy to fix. It’s usually something as simple as a leaking hose.

Is Leaked Coolant Dangerous?

Coolant and antifreeze should be cleaned up immediately. They are both very toxic to animals, humans included. Even more alarmingly, coolant and antifreeze has been reported by unfortunate individuals as having a sweet taste to go along with its sweet smell, making spilled or leaked coolant very attractive to pets and small children. For reference, a fatal dose for a 75 lb dog (similar in size to grown Retriever or Labrador) is 8 oz, which is roughly the size of cup of coffee or 2/3 of a can of soda. For smaller animals, like a house cat, as little as half of a teaspoon can be fatal.

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