I own a 2005 Chevy Impala and this winter, I noticed a strong exhaust odor inside the vehicle and outside the vehicle. This morning, after arriving at work, I noticed smoke or exhaust coming from under the hood of the car, so I popped the hood and saw what looked like either gas or gas/oil mixture right on the top of the engine that was burning on the manifold, on the right hand side. It smelled strongly of gas. I have looked for information and I keep coming across it's either the head gasket or clogged catalytic converter. Could someone help?
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Are you loosing radiator fluid. sometimes the heater core will rupture and you will smell burn odor. also check for strange rubbing sounds or screeching coming from the blower fan motor. or engine exhaust manifolds are hot when car is on, make sure nothing is leaning on them which will cause a burn odor. Any odor coming from outside will find it's way inside through the fresh air vents.
I had the same problem with my 2005 Honda Accord. I would happen only sometime but is a distant odor I smell from inside the cabin. Older Hondas sometimes have gasket problems that leak small amounts of oil onto the exhaust manifold. Ask the mechanic to go check the valve cover gaskets. They replaced a new gasket to my car at the Honda dealer and I haven't smelled that burning odor since then. Good luck.
No service engine light? A loose gas cap will set a light.
You may want to inspect your fuel filler neck and anything close. For a long while its not uncommon for a person to report the fuel odor issue and have it be where some low life cut a filler neck or puntured a tank to steal fuel. But if that were the case there would usually be a service engine or gas cap light as the systems now days monitor pressures so they can detect leaks in the Evap system.
When you mention a smell though under the hood, do you think the smell could be exhaust? I have seen those manifolds crack. or maybe just a leak from a gasket or exhaust donut.
Is the exhaust loud? If not it may not be an exhaust smell. I work at an exhaust shop and we have seen a few vehicles with the same issue. More often than not, it ends up being a fluid leak (usually oil) that has flowed on to an exhaust manifold or front pipe and on start up the fluid burns off, causing the odor. Once the fluid has burned off there is no more smell. This is no to say the leak has stopped, but the odor is less noticeable when the vehicle is moving and the fluid burns off a little at a time as opposed to all at once like it does on start up. Hope this helps to steer you in the right direction, good luck!