Burning smell after exiting freeway


Vehicle is 87 Accord, Manual, 184k

When I exit the interstate and come to a standstill I get a burning rubber / electrical burning smell which goes away after 20-30 secs. It almost smells like burning clutch, but it does not appear to be slipping and the clutch that is in the car only has 60k on it. Any ideas? Thanks.


next time you go for a drive, immediately after stopping, feel the wheels around the lug nuts. be careful not to burn yourself.

if one of the wheel hubs is really hotter than the others you could have a ‘hanging’ brake caliper.


The stuck caliper thing could well be it. I used to have an Accord of this same model year, and both front wheels would get hotter than hell’s lava after driving for a while. Didn’t have the vehicle long enough to actually determine if the calipers were bad.


That smell may be burning oil which has leaked onto the hot exhaust. Oil leaking onto a hot exhaust can catch fire.


No, this would cause smoke to come from under the hood. I only know because I had that happen with my old Geo Prizm. There was no smell, but sure enough when I got off the freeway smoke signals would come from the hood and through my vents.


If this is the case, is it a serious problem? And would the said serious problem be expensive to take care of ?


are you doing this yourself, or having it done at a mechanic?

about 200 to do yourself, and probably 400 at a mechanic.

BUT, you have not said if you have determined what the problem is.

just replacing parts (the wrong ones) does not repair the specific problem unless you diagnose the correct problem.


It will be done at the mechanic, is this something I can let ride, unless it gets worse ? I’m not willing to spend alot of $$$ repairing this car because I plan to get rid of it next year anyway. Thanks


Well, a big oil leak will do that but a small leak will smell but not necessarily create smoke. I’ve experienced both situations.

The calipers should be easy enough to check for…if they are fine, I wouldn’t discount the oil theory.


No, it isn’t. You need to get this looked at.

If it is a dragging brake, and that was my first thought also, you could suddenly lose your brakes from overheating. Failure to be able to stop could cost you your life. Do not put this off.