Question about 2002 Pontiac Grand Am

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Smells like burning coolant after driving for some time

I notce that after im done doing alot of driving and the cars pretty hot then when i get out i notice that i smell burning coolant...what could be the problem?

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  • honeymokey
    honeymokey May 11, 2010

    What engine?

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  • Pontiac Master
  • 22,156 Answers

You have a water leak??

Posted on Jun 14, 2009

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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ENGINE SMEELS HOT AFTER DRIVING ANY DISTANCE.


Hi Dianne, sorry, but I have to ask: after the oil change, are you sure the oil was re-filled? Maybe some got spilled on the exhaust manifold and needs to burn off (any smoke?) Is there coolant visible in the overflow tank? If the coolant is low, perhaps there is a leak in a hose to and from the radiator. "Hot smell" can also be rubber burning, i.e. drive belts, clutch pressure plate. Hard for me to tell w/o being there-hope this helps!

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I should start by saying the life expectancy of the car is 200k.
So you are starting at over the limit. Not to say it won't run another 50k or 100k, but the odds go down each mile you put on it.
A 3.8 engine needs a timing chain and gears at around 150k which may or may not have already been done.
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Sounds like you have a blown head gasket and coolant is getting into one of the cylinders.

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2005 Nissan Maxima white smoke at startup no coolant smell or oil smell. What could it be?


white smoke means oil or coolant burning. black fuel. performed a cooling pressure test and see if u loosing pressure.

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My coolant was empty, they filled it , now I have this burning rubber smell


your brake caliber is hanging up not releaseing you'll have to replace the caliber and then bleed the brakes.have a nice day.

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Temperature light came on 2002 VW Passat wagon backing out of garage today, slight burning smell. Returned after 2 miles. Have experienced this smell on and off since oil & filter change several weeks...


You can see the coolant level by looking through the opaque round coolant reservoir. It should be just over the middle. There's a line indication proper level. Orange Dexcool meets the VW specification and is generally available. The rear coolant flange can warp and seep over time and leaks onto hot parts. That's probably why you smell it.

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I was driving down the road when all of the sudden i smell burning plastic.I pulled over turned my radio down stepped out popped the hood .I didn;t see any problems i cranked my car and my radio was dead...


arent you still under warranty?! check the positive terminal of the battery(common gm issue). check the wiring at the starter motor and look for burned wires. if there is consider the warranty. BY THE WAY, IF YOU HAVE HEAVY SMOKE AGAIN, DO NOT "POP" THE HOOD! IT CAN CAUSE AN AIR FEED AND POSSIBLY IGNITE A FIRE IN YOUR FACE. ive put out car fires in iraq. its not fun getting or treating people for burns. let me know if you need further assistance. cheers

Jan 20, 2010 | 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe

1 Answer

Heat gauge shows hot , have to add antifreeze although no leak


Very common fault is head gaskets.  causing coolant consumption and bubbles in radiator.  Run vehicle, have a friend accelerate once or twice hard, while you smell exhaust for sweet smell of burning coolant.

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1 Answer

A smell of burning rubber is coming from my engine. What is it? Could it be the timing belt? Is it safe to drive any distance? Thanks burning rubber smell from engine


A common cause of a smell like that is a coolant leak.Take a close look around the hoses,clamps, frost plugs and the water pump as it has a weep hole that will leek coolant if the seal is breached. Sometimes all you will see is a stain, but no coolant as small leeks boil away with the engines heat.
If a belt was burning it would be very noisy. The timing belt is cogged so slippage is unlikely. It is possible that a foreign object has gotten on the exhaust manifold like a plastic bag. One last thing I can think of is a wire or something touching a hot surface and melting. Good luck.

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when a coolant is heated, it usually gives off a smell of a burning wire or a hot rod, but this will depend on what coolant you are using. It is either the coolant dripping to a hot part of the engine or the old replaced coolant still has some left on a hot part of the engine. some says evaporated coolants are dangerous, but that will, like what i said, depend on what coolant you are using. you may wan to consult the dealership that serviced your car and have it cleaned / checked.

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