2007 Ford Escape emitting a strange smell from... I don't know from whence it originates

I own a 2007 Ford Escape. Upon parking in the garage and leaving over night, I have noticed a strange smell. It is unlike any smell I know. I took the SUV to a Ford dealership and $70 later he said nothing’s wrong. I was wondering if it could be brakes causing it or maybe rotors. Or bearings might have bearing on the situation. I have not noticed any fluids leaked upon the garage floor. Any clue as to what to do?

It could just be your catalytic converter getting older. It could also be fluids dripping onto some hot pipes.

Once I ran over a deer and had roasted deer smell on my mustang for over 3 years. just have to live with it.

Now if you feel it is related to a fuel smell, that is serious and you should continue to figure it out/maybe at another shop.

Otherwise, based on your description, strange smell is too subjective for any good advice.

Does the smell remind you a bit of maple syrup? If so, that’s a coolant leak.

You might have a sticking brake. When you pull in after a drive, very carefully check if one wheel is hotter than the one on the other side.

You might have an oil leak from something like a valve cover gasket. With the car idling, look very closely for wisps of smoke under the hood, using a flashlight to add more light. Also check this with the car at various angles on a hill, as sometimes the car needs to be in a certain position for the oil to drip on something hot. If the leak is small, you might have to do this a number of days in a row until you actually see it happening. It doesn’t take much oil to make a strong smell, so you won’t notice the level on the dipstick dropping much.

You might have a plastic bag melted to some part of the exhaust system, so take a look for that.

If you have any friends who are into cars, they might recognize the smell.

The dealership put it on a lift and looked all under the car , checking for signs of leaks, right? And they cleared the vents on the bottom of the doors, where the water drains from the under-the-windshield air-inlet vents, and the AC condensation vent. All that has been done? If so, there’s not a lot more they can do. Do they say they can also smell the odor? Dead critter somehow got into the HVAC system? Or into a recess in the trunk area maybe? Rain water getting anywhere and staying can cause an odor, sort of a moldy smell. Check all the low spots water could accumulate, the spare tire well in the trunk, under the carpets of the floorboard areas, inside the doors.

It would help if you could give us a better description of the smell.

Dead animal, moldy, sweet, fuel, burning, or the smell of that Chia Pet that you found in the back of the fridge.

Inside the car or outside??? Maybe that 1/2 a big mack that fell under the seat!!!

You might find a car wash that does an undercarriage wash.
Or have it detailed if the smell is from inside the vehicle.


I think you will have to invite friends or neighbors to your garage to offer suggestions as to the type of odor. A strange smell could be from the fuel vapor canister, the paint on the walls or the natural gas water heater.

Do you get the odor if the car is parked somewhere else? If you go to work or park at the mall for a while do you still get the smell? If not the smell may be do to a critter living in you car who is smart enough to leave when you leave in the am.

It could also be a dead critter…
As already suggested, have friends and/or family suggest what they think it smells like.

If it is a dead critter smell, don’t forget to check behind the wheel covers. Easy for a mouse to get caught there and die (speaking from experience).

another possibility could be a minor leak in one of the radiator, or heater hoses,or at a clamp on one of those lines.
I’ve had ones that were so minor that it just dripped onto the hot engine and evaporated before anything could drip onto the floor. When the car is driven, it is not noticeable because the air flow as you are driving defuses the odor.
Yet when you park inside the odor is trapped and is noticed.

@Brakelane has not been back to answer any questions. So maybe he/she found the problem.


gdawgs solution sounds like it might be on track… an aging catalytic converter… the check engine light was on a few years ago… after looking in the maintenance book, seeing that it meant that i need replace the catalytic converter, checking around and not finding a low price on that, I called my parents. they said theirs also came on but they decided to pollute instead of replace it. now… if it is my catalytic converter getting older and I don’t replace it, will it mess up the engine?

btw, the check engine light does not come on anymore.

“btw, the check engine light does not come on anymore.”

Is it possible that the light bulb has burnt out?
The next time that you start the engine, turn the key slowly and verify that the CEL lights up (briefly) just prior to the engine starting.

Not replacing the cat won’t mess up the engine. But it will mess up the atmosphere.

the check engine light was on a few years ago... after looking in the maintenance book, seeing that it meant that i need replace the catalytic converter,

I really doubt the “maintenance book” said that. This must be that elusive “bad catalytic converter” code that all the parts store monkeys quote but no one else can find such a code .