Nervous


#1

I have a 2001 Toyota Avalon with 139,000 miles and runs excellent. I recently just got an oil change and it smells like something is burning. More of like a burning rubber smell. I know my car does not have an oil leak but what else could it be. I plan to take it out of town very soon. Should I not take it anymore? Also, when my A/C is on and I’m sitting idle it sounds like my car wants to turn off every time the the a/c kicks on but it doesn’t. My RPM’S are fine. (600-700) any advice?


#2

“I know my car does not have an oil leak”

How do you know that?
Are you basing that statement on not having to add oil, or have you inspected it while it was on a lift, or…?
My point (and I do have one!) is that only a very tiny amount of oil spilled onto the exhaust pipe can cause a burning oil smell, and it is entirely possible that some oil was spilled–and not cleaned-up–when the oil was changed.

If the smell is not the result of some spilled oil. it could result from something as simple as a plastic bag that became adhered to the underside of the car and that came into contact with exhaust components. This is not that unusual a situation, so you shouldn’t discard it as a possibility.

In any event, if the smell continues for more than another couple of days, I strongly suggest that you have the car put up on a lift for an inspection of the area under the engine, and also the exhaust pipe/catalytic converter.

As to the A/C-related problem…
What can you tell us about the car’s maintenance history, aside from the oil changes?
For instance…When was the last time that the spark plugs were replaced?
Is the Check Engine Light lit up?


#3

I bought the car from a friend who took extremely good care of it. I bought the car with 127,000 miles and I would never buy a car with that many miles. But I know she took care of the car. I don’t know when the last time the apark plugs were replaced. No check engine light thankfully. Do you suggest to just replace spark plugs for now?


#4

It could be that someone spilled some oil when pouring it in.


#5

“I know she took care of the car. I don’t know when the last time the apark plugs were replaced”

You would probably be amazed at the number of people who come to this site with car problems, and who state that their car “has been well-maintained”. Then, as we gather more information from these people, it almost always turns out that “well-maintained” existed only in the mind of a negligent car owner. In other words, without hard copies of maintenance receipts that you can compare to the mfr’s maintenance schedule, you don’t REALLY know how well the car was maintained by the previous owner.

Unless you know for sure–through hard copies of maintenance receipts–that the spark plugs were replaced by 100k miles, then they are long overdue for replacement. It is also possible that the Idle Air Control valve (IAC) is gunked-up, and needs to be cleaned.

Additionally, unless you can confirm that the transmission fluid was changed at least 4 times already, then you may be looking at transmission failure in the very near future. No, the transmission has nothing to do with the A/C-idle problem, but I am just giving you another example of vital maintenance that may have been skipped, and that can result in very large repair bills for the second owner of the vehicle.

Also–if your car’s engine has a timing belt, unless you can confirm that the belt was changed w/in the past 8 years, it is long overdue for that maintenance. Once again, that has nothing to do with the A/C-idle problem, but neglect of that type of maintenance can be extremely costly for the second owner.


#6

You need to find out if all maintenance is up to date (timing belt?). The smell after the oil change is likely spilled oil, that happened with my Toyota V6 every time.


#7

Timing belt first changed at 69,000 miles. Am I due again?


#8

If oil was spilled on something during the oil change, an underwash at a touch-free car wash might help to clean that up.

I agree with the others that you need to get the maintenance records (which luckily you should be able to do in this case) so that you can properly maintain the car from here on.

Since there’s a chance of a leak here, make sure to check the oil frequently during your trip.


#9

Thank you. That’s very helpful. Much appreciated and I will change spark plugs very soon. Would it be ok to take my car out of town this one last time??


#10

"Would it be ok to take my car out of town this one last time?? "

No one can say. Many shops will do a “trip check” - a once over of major components likely to fail. It would generally cost an hour’s labor or so to check it. And even then you would have no guarantees. What you want is a roadside service subscription - but that’s an “in general” sort of thing.


#11

“Timing belt first changed at 69,000 miles. Am I due again?”

This is just a bit more evidence that you need to refer to Toyota’s Maintenance Schedule, which–hopefully–is in your glove box, either contained w/in the Owner’s Manual, or in a separate booklet with an appropriate title. I say that because timing belt replacement–like almost all automotive service items–has an elapsed time value in addition to an odometer mileage value.

For instance, the timing belt replacement schedule is probably something like, “Every 105k miles or 8 years, whichever comes first”. Knowing when the timing belt was replaced is just as important as knowing that it was replaced at 69k miles.

So…the answer to the question of whether it is due again can only be answered by you, after consulting both the hard copies of maintenance receipts and the mfr’s maintenance schedule.

Among the other things that you should be concerned about are…
…when the brake fluid was last flushed (If it was more than 3 yrs ago, it is overdue)
…when the coolant was last changed (also a 3 yr schedule)
and
…most important of all in view of the potential cost involved when it is not done–when the transmission fluid was last changed.


#12

You or someone else just needs to take a look see and see where the smell is coming from. Its kinda hard to see from here. But on a lot of cars now it is hard to get the oil filter off without spilling oil on the exhaust pipe. I’m careful with mine to wipe it off but if a quick lube, who knows. It can take a day or two to burn off again.

Or, they didn’t get the filter tight or the oil plug and the oil is dripping out with a ruined engine soon to be. Have a look see to find out.


#13

After 100 k miles, even the most well cared for, most reliable car can have problems. Buying a car from a reliable friend is no gurantee of anything. I skill like the Idea that whomever changed the oil could have done a sloppy job and spilled some on the exhaust manifold of the like.


#14

Never buy a car from a friend or relative,because what they consider to be no problem may bug the daylights out of you.I usually have the opposite problem.I let go of good vehicles too easily,while a lot of people wont let go till there is something wrong-but in your case it sounds to me like,somebody spilled a little oil,just look it over or have somebody thats good with cars look it over -Kevin


#15

The timing belt change interval is every 90K miles, yes you are due.


#16

Make sure the oil level on the dipstick is where it is supposed to be, not low, not over the mark. If that is ok, me, until proved otherwise, I’d assume the tech simply spilled some oil on the engine during the oil change. Since it is making you nervous, why not take it to your local inde shop and ask them do to a look-see if there is anything wrong.


#17

There is a chance ol is leaking out of the head cover gaskets, it does not take much depending on vehicle to cause problems. My work truck, an 03 f150 had a tsb about leaking head gaskets due to contaminants, Well I had to make a 60 mile drive in wnter with the windws open, as it happened to drip onto the exhaust, manifold or pipe I am not sure.

No signs of oil loss via dipstick, but we put on a plate to prevent the oil from dripping onto hot parts.


#18

@Toyota forever
I bought the car from a friend who took extremely good care of it.

That’s good but a well taken care of vehicle will have issues and faults. No matter how good a vehicle parts do wear out.


#19

I agree with @kmccune

A lot of my friends and relatives have cars which they think are in excellent condition

Yet, when they ask me to fix something, I often find that the vehicles have been severely neglected