If you turn on your car and smell something burning, chances are there is an oil leak in your engine. Oil leaking from a valve in the engine causes a foul, acrid odor. People driving behind you may see smoke from the tail pipe and smell the burning oil. Test for an oil smell in your car.
Turn the car on and drive around for 10 minutes. Smell the air inside the car. Does it smell like something is burning? Burnt oil has a distinctive smell that most car owners recognize easily.2
Open the hood after turning the car off. Is the smell stronger near the engine? If so, chances are oil is leaking from a valve and burning on hot engine parts.3
Find out when the last oil change was for the car. Recent oil changes can lead to burnt oil smell due to excess oil in the engine. After the car drives for awhile, the excess oil burns off and the smell disappears.4
Run the car in idle with the hood open and watch for smoke. If you see smoke and smell burning, there is oil leaking somewhere in the engine.5
Stand behind the car while it's running. Do you see smoke coming out of the tail pipe? Have someone give it a little gas while in park and watch for black smoke from the exhaust. It smells like burning oil if oil is burning in the exhaust system.