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Discussion Starter #1
What is this? Happened twice or more this weekend.
Long distance trip, extended gas runs, avg about 75 mph.

When I slow down to a stop at exit or toll booth, choking, acrid burning smell coming from all around the car-- smells like burning parafin, lasting about 30-60 sec. No smoke visible (yet). Once I get moving it disappears. (It is not brake pads- I know what that smells like, from racing). What is going on?

Also when idling, at a standstill, smelly exhaust, like a bus- but not like what I described above. Truly like an exhaust smell. Did Volt not have to use emissions controls like other cars because it is electric?
 

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Is your Volt very new? If so, the smell might just be the protectant they put on the engine or exhaust cooking off. Most new cars suffer from this briefly.
 

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..and what are your climate control settings?
 

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What I noticed is because I drive 90% electric,t long periods of time go by with the ICE not running. All this time allows for contaminants to collect to the exhaust system. In a traditional ICE car these would burn off as fast as they accumulated and wouldn't be noticed. The problem with the Volt is a lot more can accumulate and when the ICE does come on it all burns off at once.
 

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My Volt exhibits the same behavior. I've taken it to the dealer several times with no resolution. On the hoist, I've looked really carefully at the full exhaust system and seen no leaks or other likely culprits.

For me, the smell is strongest when the engine hasn't run for awhile and runs for only 15 minutes or so. After a long drive -- four hours or more -- I can't detect the smell.

The smell on my car is strongest in the driver's side rear wheel well.
 

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The tailpipe is on the driver side if I recall correctly so that would explain the concentrated smell location. As for the strange odor, it could be any number of things or reasons. Stale gas, even some that is only a few months old, can generate a distinctly different odor when burned. If the parafin smell you describe comes from the rear of the vehicle (correct me if I'm wrong), it could be one of several plastic components heating up that are in close proximity to the exhaust outlet. If it comes from the engine bay, there are multiple components there that could generate that smell. Could be plastic parts, the vanity/modesty covers on the engine and electronics, or could be the coating on the high voltage wires. Best bet, as was suggested to me about my recent smell/exhaust issues, would be to lean on your dealer a bit. That's what they are there for. Double this if the car is new.
 

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I noticed a smell when my car ran in "Engine Maintenance" the other day. Its not that I have never run with gas (down to 1/2 tank) but it hadn't run in a while (thus the car running like this). I didn't know what to make of the smell but I wasn't too concerned.
 

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1) Check your hatch seals in perfect 100% condition & are sealing perfectly (are not damaged)
& The hatch is FULLY closed not on the safety.

This happens with hatchbacks - low lip, vans, station wagons.- this why when running in ICE mode or any normal car you don't drive with hatch ajar tail gate down barn door open etc. is NOT recommended by the manufacturer due to ingress of fumes.

2) GM will have placed air vent out grills that have rubber flaps in the internal rear qtr panels - if these are stuck open, mangled or missing it can also cause similar issue due to the vacuum aerodynamic effect that can suck in fumes and hence the smell, usually drivers of the recirculate only option climate air club.

PS mine does NOT have this issue even in recirculate and ICE running my nose quickly picks it up in any car that has a leaky ex system or body leaks.

A normal dealer mechanic who's any good should be find this and sort it out for you, this is not Volt specific - millions of other cars have this happen on occasion and it should be an easy run of the mill type fix for them!
 

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I've had the same exact issue. Smells like oil drippings cooking on the exhaust. Car is 18 months old, but has had more engine use this winter than last (very little in the summer). It got worse and then better. By the time I complained to the dealer at the 15K service, they could not replicate the issue, and I have to admit, though still there, it is much less noticeable.

There was another thread about an exhaust smell, and I also had that issue along with it. At one point, it got so bad I had to drive with the window open. (One possible clue is that it was snowing heavily - which incidentally made driving with the windows open interesting -, and I'm thinking some vent may have been covered by snow, or something like that.) That one too has gotten better, so I am puzzled. Warmer weather is ahead, and my lease ends in August, so I may not have a chance to get to the bottom of it.
 

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Did Volt not have to use emissions controls like other cars because it is electric?
This is a joke right??? Since I'm sure it is my question is have you made an appointment with your local dealer and or contacted your Volt Advisor?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No it is not a joke... ICE exhaust normally smells like my chain saw, that is a separate issue from my complaint here.

Back to problem:
Environmental settings were on auto for 72 degrees. Car is not new, at least 18 mo.--but never run for long distance on ICE (300+ miles trip to Chicago) until this past weekend.

Each time this occurred was when running ICE in hold mode, after coming to a stop, after running for extended time (toll booth, or exit). it smells like burning grease/plastic/wax, very acrid, and lasts until I move the car (while also under ICE) and then seems to disappear completely.

Hatch Seal leaks occur when a car is moving- aerodynamics make fumes build up and swirl behind the hatch lip. My smells are all around outside the car, only a little inside, after the car comes to a stop, not when moving-- with windows open (toll booth or parking gate) it is much worse. Happened on separate times. I did not have the abiity to stop and open the hood.

Did not happen today on short 10-30 mile ICE run.

I've searched posts, each similar thread has said essentially the dealer was useless. Unlikely for them to find something here. I was hoping a general experience has pinpointed problem, with knowledgeable solutions. "take it to the dealer" or "bad gas" was not the easy response I was looking for. I am not stupid about cars.

BTW true vent or hatch leaks make your clothes and hair smell like exhaust, and consistently give you lightheadedness, nausea, and headache, due to CO (carbon monoxide), even after a short 20 min. trip. CO is odorless, but exhaust fumes are not.
 

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No it is not a joke... ICE exhaust normally smells like my chain saw, that is a separate issue from my complaint here.

Back to problem:
Environmental settings were on auto for 72 degrees. Car is not new, at least 18 mo.--but never run for long distance on ICE (300+ miles trip to Chicago) until this past weekend.

Each time this occurred was when running ICE in hold mode, after coming to a stop, after running for extended time (toll booth, or exit). it smells like burning grease/plastic/wax, very acrid, and lasts until I move the car (while also under ICE) and then seems to disappear completely.

Hatch Seal leaks occur when a car is moving- aerodynamics make fumes build up and swirl behind the hatch lip. My smells are all around outside the car, only a little inside, after the car comes to a stop, not when moving-- with windows open (toll booth or parking gate) it is much worse. Happened on separate times. I did not have the abiity to stop and open the hood.

Did not happen today on short 10-30 mile ICE run.

I've searched posts, each similar thread has said essentially the dealer was useless. Unlikely for them to find something here. I was hoping a general experience has pinpointed problem, with knowledgeable solutions. "take it to the dealer" or "bad gas" was not the easy response I was looking for. I am not stupid about cars.

BTW true vent or hatch leaks make your clothes and hair smell like exhaust, and consistently give you lightheadedness, nausea, and headache, due to CO (carbon monoxide), even after a short 20 min. trip. CO is odorless, but exhaust fumes are not.
Where you located, just like my Corvette Forum buddies if we knew where you lived maybe one of our forum members could hook up with you and try and find a solution. I have done that several times during my Corvette days. If you were near by I'd be more than willing to help you.
 

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Happened to us this weekend while our 2013 Volt was going up some pretty steep hills. Smelled like burning rubber. Smell went away when we got on level road. I hope it's a 'breaking in' thing.
 
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No it is not a joke... ICE exhaust normally smells like my chain saw, that is a separate issue from my complaint here.

Back to problem:
Environmental settings were on auto for 72 degrees. Car is not new, at least 18 mo.--but never run for long distance on ICE (300+ miles trip to Chicago) until this past weekend.

Each time this occurred was when running ICE in hold mode, after coming to a stop, after running for extended time (toll booth, or exit). it smells like burning grease/plastic/wax, very acrid, and lasts until I move the car (while also under ICE) and then seems to disappear completely.

Hatch Seal leaks occur when a car is moving- aerodynamics make fumes build up and swirl behind the hatch lip. My smells are all around outside the car, only a little inside, after the car comes to a stop, not when moving-- with windows open (toll booth or parking gate) it is much worse. Happened on separate times. I did not have the abiity to stop and open the hood.

Did not happen today on short 10-30 mile ICE run.

I've searched posts, each similar thread has said essentially the dealer was useless. Unlikely for them to find something here. I was hoping a general experience has pinpointed problem, with knowledgeable solutions. "take it to the dealer" or "bad gas" was not the easy response I was looking for. I am not stupid about cars.

BTW true vent or hatch leaks make your clothes and hair smell like exhaust, and consistently give you lightheadedness, nausea, and headache, due to CO (carbon monoxide), even after a short 20 min. trip. CO is odorless, but exhaust fumes are not.
Afternoon Jilly,

I recommend contacting your Dedicated Advisor. They can arrange a ride along with you and the tech at your dealership. This way you can personally show them what you are experiencing and smelling. They will then be able to better diagnosis the concern for you.

I would be happy to get you connected with your Advisor. Please PM me the Last Eight of your VIN and the Best Method for your Advisor to reach you.

-Ian Chevrolet EV Customer Service
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Problem was the O-ring in the engine oil filler cap, seeps tiny amount of oil that eventually collects enough, and drips onto the exhaust manifold.

I put a smaller O-ring under the original to make it compress more. Seems to be OK for now.
 

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*bumping this thread up*

Mainly because I've been experiencing this "smelly" thing quite lately, and has gotten me worried.

It seems to happen when I'm in HOLD mode, and really "GAS," ie., 70+ in freeways and around 50+ even in steep inclines (say, working the generators really hard)...

My Volt is NOT new - almost 2-years now and around 31K on the odometer.

Was wondering if anyone else had experienced this before?

Cheers!
 

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Check that oil cap to make sure it is level & flush. If the cap isn't seated correctly,oil will leak out and run onto exhaust. The harder you run the car,the harder the ICE will work. That will create more oil splash in the ICE. This is also common to see on Chev Cruze. Had your oil changed recently?
 

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First post here!

I've had my 2012 Volt since July and it's been fantastic. Anyway, I went through this whole burning smell drama a few months ago. After a long road trip ~1000 miles, I noticed a bad burning smell. I thought initially it was rubber, but after opening the hood, I could see that that oil was everywhere, it came from the oil fill/cap area. I noticed that the cap was not seating properly, so obviously that's where the oil was coming from. Took it to the dealer and they replaced the oil cap under warranty. The extended Mountain Mode distance I did on the trip warped the cap it turns out. Even after the dealer did their best to clean all the oil of of the engine, it still took several weeks of using the ICE to finally burn off all the residual oil. Until then, there was still the smell and oil on the ground every day. I thought that there might be another leak, so the dealer put dye in the oil to see and in the end there wasn't a leak. I just needed to give it time and it all worked out.

So, check your oil cap and go from there! Also, I am of the opinion that trying to keep a few EV miles in your back pocket by use of Mountain Mode on long trips (2012, no hold) is not worth it or necessary. Just drive it in Normal and go.

Sent from my SM-N910T using Tapatalk
 

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First post here!

I've had my 2012 Volt since July and it's been fantastic. Anyway, I went through this whole burning smell drama a few months ago. After a long road trip ~1000 miles, I noticed a bad burning smell. I thought initially it was rubber, but after opening the hood, I could see that that oil was everywhere, it came from the oil fill/cap area. I noticed that the cap was not seating properly, so obviously that's where the oil was coming from. Took it to the dealer and they replaced the oil cap under warranty. The extended Mountain Mode distance I did on the trip warped the cap it turns out. Even after the dealer did their best to clean all the oil of of the engine, it still took several weeks of using the ICE to finally burn off all the residual oil. Until then, there was still the smell and oil on the ground every day. I thought that there might be another leak, so the dealer put dye in the oil to see and in the end there wasn't a leak. I just needed to give it time and it all worked out.

So, check your oil cap and go from there! Also, I am of the opinion that trying to keep a few EV miles in your back pocket by use of Mountain Mode on long trips (2012, no hold) is not worth it or necessary. Just drive it in Normal and go.
Nah, I like ghosting around the city streets at my destination. It's worth the slight inefficiency...
 

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I am also experiencing a rubber like smell again recently. I have a 2013 model. I haven't used the ICE much over the summer, and this winter due to the rain I decided not to charge the volt out in the rain so I've been using the ICE a bit more. Yesterday I drove for around 100 miles in ICE mode, a lot of it on the highway, and noticed the smell inside the cabin as soon as I stopped. After arriving home I get out of the car and the smell is quite strong all around the front side.

It has a rubber smell to it, like something burning. I opened the hood and can't see anything obviously wrong. The engine oil level is fine, the coolant level is fine (there's two pink plastic box in the front, not sure which one is for engine and which one is for battery, both level looks OK to me). My theory was maybe there is some leak in the exhaust system?

I called the dealer and they'll take a look at it tomorrow. I hope they figure out what's going on.
 
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