Funny smells and firewalls

timer Asked: Jun 14th, 2013
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Question Description

My car started emitting a funny smell. It reminds me of the plastic-ey smell when using a hot glue gun. It started yesterday, specifically when I left work, because it didn't smell when I drove to work, and the smell started within a minute of starting the car. I looked under the hood for melting hoses, loose wires, etc. but the only thing I noticed is that there is a hole in the firewall fabric. Not a melted hole, not cut, but a chunk torn out. It's possible an animal got into my engine compartment, but anyways, could the smell be little pieces burning on the manifold? The smell is not smokey, not acrid, and not metallic (like an electrical fire). I know it's not brakes or belts, as there is no noise (and those smells are very distinct.) There's no visible issues that I can find other than the firewall. Car runs normally, no overheating.

Tutor Answer

School: University of Virginia

That is a very good possibility; the firewalls are made with fiberglass composite and shreds into fine tiny particles which may have settled on the manifold. If you continue smelling this, I would wait till your ride is completely cooled off and wash that section. If it continues, then, well, obvious it was not the fibers. However, majority of the smell that come our car we are familiar with what is causing it. Good luck!

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