Several weeks ago I took my Subaru Outback to the dealer for the 90,000 miles service, although I had only 80,000. After that there has been a burned rubber smell, what can it be? No leaks

Asked by Oct 29, 2016 at 04:17 PM about the 2008 Subaru Outback Basic

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

After the 90M miles service the car had a smell of burned rubber. There is no
leaking oil into the motor. It looks perfect! There isn't any visible leaks. The car
is not heating up. The car is kept in a garage. It's a 2008 Subaru with 84,000
miles. Could it be the timing belt? Could it be leaking to the exhaust system? If
so how will I know?

8 Answers

60,395

Check under the car to see if something got stuck to the exhaust system. Your timing belt should be good for 105,000 miles but it is possible to inspect it. There is a small inspection port on the cam belt cover. Oil leaks don't really smell like rubber but it is possible that a small leak could be dripping onto the exhaust system. A slipping fan belt can also smell like burning rubber.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
65,935

Carefully look in the engine compartment, especially near the exhaust manifold, for anything that doesn't appear to be out of the ordinary. Someone may have left a tool or something in there by accident. HTH. - Jim

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
60,395

I have seen plastic trash bags stuck to the exhaust system.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
18,755

What did the dealer find?? Could it be possible that the valve cover gaskets are starting to fail and burning up under intense heat from the normal range inside the engine compartment?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
4,270

All answers above are cogent and realistic, except Mark's which is technically impossible and once again the erroneous one. This is getting REALLY amazing, Mork....

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
4,270

FoR: all good guesses. I'm voting for a tired, chunked-out ps belt.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
18,755

Wow, this was the thread I found... http://repairpal.com/burning-rubber-smell-off-the-engine-643

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
4,270

FoR covered this in the first post. Please stop wasting our time.... Cecilia, a great many '00-'09 OBs have oil leaks from their HGs. The most prevalent is on the right (passenger) side, underwhich sits the exhaust that cooks of the dripped oil. This can have a funky odor you could describe as "burnt". If you're REALLY lucky the leak source may simply be from the variable valve oil pressure switch on the TOP right rear of the motor. The OE switch's plastic core isn't up to the high pressure duty of the valve solenoid, so cracks and bleeds oil down the corner of the motor, onto the exhaust. Unlike a $1600 HG job, this one's only a $15 switch and 10-20 minutes labor. Good luck. (Note that the OPPOSITE side (front left upper) head corner of course has a more visible valve with its own pressure switch. When IT leaks it's more visible, as it's in the front, under the oil filler tube area. If you look at this more visible assy you can then identify the REAR right side one under the windshield.)

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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