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Ross, Diagnostic and repair technician
Category: Car
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Experience:  Licensed diagnostic and repair technician
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I have a Citroen c3 pluriel, 1.6 sensodrive. I get a burning

Customer Question

I have a Citroen c3 pluriel, 1.6 sensodrive.
I get a burning rubber smell whilst driving, no apparent problems with brakes or suspension, any ideas?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Shantal-Mod replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  Ross replied 3 years ago.
Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you today. I am a licensed diagnostic and repair technician, I look forward to working with you. Sorry it has taken a while to answer your question!

Naturally, it is difficult to idenfitfy a smell online, however there are three possible causes that I suspect may be causing the smell.

Firstly - The clutch wil make a burning smell if it is being slipped a lot by the driver, but it will also do this if it is beinging to come to the end of its life and slipping slightly when driving... the heat caused by the slippage will cause a smell from the engine area.

Seccond - The brakes, although you say there are no apprent problems with them, brakes can bind slightly causing a similar smell to that of a burnt out clutch Brakes can intermittantly bind and will get worse with heat as the components expand. When you get the smell I would check each wheel with the back of your hand to see if one is hotter than the rest. Otherwise the brake pads need to be removed and checked for uneven wear, at the same time the pistons should be pushed back to ensure they are free and that all sliding pins are free. The rear brakes should be stripped, inspected and adjusted if they are drums.

Finally - Oil leaks, these engines suffer with oil leaks from the rocker cover area and the filter housing, the rocker cover can drip small amounts of oil down the back of the engine which drip on the hot exaust manifold and instantly turns to oil vapor giving a strong burning smell, because it gets burnt away there is often no signs of dripping oil but is visible by inspecting the rear of the engine. Also the filter housing can leak... if your model has an under tray fitted although the oil will drip it collects on the under tray and some will get blown back onto the hot engine and exhaust where it causes this smell.

All three of these will cause a burning smell but all three smells are slightly diffrent to a trained nose so my best advice would be to have a mechanic take a look. If they are unable to smell it... the car should be put up on a lift with the engine tray removed to look for signs of oil leaks, the brakes stripped and adjusted if nessasry and the clutch tested for slipping. You can test the clutch your self by putting the car into 4th gear with the hand brake UP give the engine a little bit of throttle and gently release the clutch peddle, the engine should stall, If it doesnt stall the clutch is slipping and is the likely cause of the smell.

I hope I’ve provided the information you were seeking. If you need more help, please use the reply tab to continue our conversation. If you do not require further assistance, kindly rate my service. Thank you, Ross.