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Weird smell from new car


I bought a 2011 Hyundai Sonata last month. I like the car very much. Its very quite, stylish and comfortable to drive with good economy. But, after driving for even a small distance like 10 miles and when I come out of the vehicle, I could feel a weird smell from the front of the car. One of my friends bought same type of car 3 months back and he doesn’t have any such issue. I am curious to know whether it is a manufacturing defect or it is a normal behavior ? When I checked this with the dealer, they said it happens with some vehicles and not with all. They told me to wait till 6,000 miles. Can any one tell me what should I do ? I am really confused . Please reply

Wait 6000 miles to see if it stops. You can probably speed this along by taking a long trip (a couple of hours or more). If it doesn’t stop, then back to the dealer.

My 2010 Cobalt had an odd smell for the first couple of weeks. I assumed it was Cosmoline or something like sprayed on the engine to prevent rust. I just kept an eye on the coolant and oil levels during this time.

Ed B.

Thanks for the response. Is this a normal behavior on new cars or manufacturing defect ? Two of my friends bought new cars (Sonata and Camry) recently. Both of them don’t have this problem. What is the reason behind this ? why should i wait for 6000 miles ? If the smell persists even after that period, will I get replacement ?

Several things:

Describe the smell. Is it like poop, solvents, skunk, etc.?

If the dealer knows about the problem, ask the dealer the REASON for the smell.

6,000 miles? No. Now. The longer you wait the less leverage you will have.

If you could describe the smell it might help.

Does the dealer agree that there’s an unusual odor? If so, they should try to remedy the situation. It shouldn’t take 6,000 miles. You’ve already had the car long enough for any of the “new” to have burned off.

Lots of companies spray a rust preventative on the drivetrain parts of the car to prevent the salt water from damaging the parts during the long sea travel the cars are faced with to get to the US from Korea.

Since I can’t smell your car over the internet (yet, anyway), I can’t tell you if that’s the smell you have.

What I would recommend that you do is take the car to a detailer, and ask them to wash the engine bay to get the rust preventative off the car. That will most likely resolve the issue.

Or you can demand that your car dealer have their detailer do it.


Unless it is overpowering or you can smell it in the cabin, I’d just drive it a while and wait for it to burn off. It may be excess paint, rust preventative, undercoating, etc. on engine parts that get hot. Probably a good long highway run would get rid of it.

If your car was fresh off the boat/truck, then it’s likely some added rust protection they spray on cars being shipped over seas, as been said. My Mazda had an odd smell to it for about a week or three before it went away(they said about 100 miles and it’d go away). I read on the CX-7 forum to expect that smell when one gets a brand new one, and the salesman confirmed it, even got the chance to smell it during a test drive before I ordered mine.

Is the smell something like burning wires/rubber almost?