Car AC Smells like Burning Plastic

Car AC Smells like Burning Plastic Auto Repair

When the air conditioning in your car blows out a burning plastic smell, you should check your car or have it looked it by a mechanic. Before going to the repair shop, though, you can check to see if the following reasons are causing that unnerving scent.

Possible solutions when your car AC smells like burning plastic:

Sometimes plastic bags get stuck underneath the car and melt around the hot exhaust pipes. If you see a plastic bag blowing in the highway, try to avoid it as much as possible because it could damage your car in the long run.

Coolant Leak

The heater core could be leaking coolant onto the heating/air conditioning system. Check to see if your coolant tank has any cracks in it. Though it is usually a minor leak, it may require a major repair.

Electrical Problem

A fuse might have blown or short-circuited, causing a burning plastic smell from your A/C. Check all cable and fusible links to see if any are blown.

A/C Compressor

The car’s A/C compressor could be overheating due to lack of refrigerant and lubricant, which causes a burning smell. Whenever you bring in your car for a maintenance inspection, have the mechanic check the A/C. The mechanic will check to see if the A/C compressor is charged and he will put refrigerant and lubricant in the compressor.

Outside Smells

The burnt plastic smell could be coming from your surroundings and traveling through the A/C vent. To prevent outside smells from infiltrating, select the air conditioning option that only re-circulates air that is already in your car. This closes the vents.

If these tips did not help and you are experiencing more difficulties with your car, see a mechanic immediately. Seva Call can help connect you with the best auto repair professionals in your area.


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