My 2004 Subaru Outback has started emitting a burning smell, but not all the time. I had the brakes checked and they were fine. We just had record snowfall for Oregon and I had to gun my car a few times to power through snow mounds. Could it be the clutch? How could I know for sure?
This is the best i can offer you.
brakes - Smells metallic/electrical type smell and you will burn your self by touching the rims.
Clutch - Smells like nasty fish.
almost anything can make a burning smell, do you have any strange sounds is it stronger in the car out outside, you said not all the time, when does it smell?
…I had to gun my car a few times to power through snow mounds. Could it be the clutch?
I think you answered your on question. You may have a clutch going out, and putting pressure like this on one can lead to clutch slippage, heat, and burning smell. Depending on how hot the clutch got will determine how long the smell will linger. I tried to back a trailer up a hill in my Toyota Pickup some time back, overheated the clutch, and the smell lasted for a week.
I had this issue as well, and it was a torn CV boot on the axle that sprayed grease on the exhaust system. From reading other forums this seems to be a relatively common issue especially on the front right side since the rubber boot gets hot from the exhaust system. The dealer suggested we replace the half axle while we were having the boot replaced.