burning smell

Asked by Dec 21, 2018 at 10:35 PM about the 2013 Kia Rio5 SX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hello all,

I drove about 50 minutes, including  some idling time. I stopped for about 30
minutes and when I got back into my car I smelled burning plastic. After I got
gas, my car would not start. I tried about three or four times and it would just
not start, the radio was working as well as all the lights. After a few minutes of
leaving it alone it finally started up. When I got home I tried to find the burning
smell. Oddly enough I could smell it more from my glove box and the center
console where my drink holders are were really warm almost hot... if I had a an
iced drink in it the ice would probably be melted. I did keep an eye on the
temperature gauge, it was one tick mark below the center tick mark. If that
makes sense. Any advice? Any ideas? Thank you thank you thank you!

1 Answer


So you don't think this was the engine running hot? An overheating engine can give off an acrid smell, more like hot rubber than plastic though. If the temp gauge stayed in the normal range and the engine didn't run hot, it may have been something electronic frying. If it involved the ignition, starter, or antitheft circuits that may explain the hesitation in starting. You or a mechanic are going to have to look for damage to wiring, fuses, and relays. Unfortunately wiring can run in the most hidden of places, it really takes someone with experience to find electrical issues. BTW if you've had ANY modifications made to the car, like a remote starter or a big speaker amp, that would be a good place to start looking.

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