Weird Taste and Chapped Lips While I drive

I have a 98 Saturn SL2 and whenever I drive I get a weird and gritty taste in my mouth and my lips chap. My girlfriend says she can smell something weird but I can’t. I thought it might be oil burning on the engine so I replaced the valve cover gasket (there was a leak), but it still has not gone away. There is no fogging of the windshield or windows or any coolant leak that I can see that might come from the heater core.

If you use synthetic oil, I would keep looking for oil burning and exhaust leaks. Burning synthetic oil does make a weird smell and leave a gritty taste in your mouth.

Thanks for the reply. No synthetic in this guy. However, exhaust leaks make me wonder. Would they be coming from the exhaust manifold, or the cat, or somewhere else? Would this cause a weird taste?

Is Doctor Driver In The House ? Paging Dr. VDC Driver . . .

Here we go again with weird smells (and tastes). Do you think this could be a medical condition, rather than a car problem ? Are ther actually two different illnesses at work here ?


…well, as long as you brought it up…

When only one person can smell something “odd”, it can be an indication of a neurological problem.
As but one example, back in the early '30s, George Gershwin was playing a piano solo at Carnegie Hall, and to everyone’s dismay, he suddenly stopped playing the piano and silently sat there for a couple of minutes. When questioned later, he had no recollection of the lapse in his playing, but he did complain about “the strong smell of burning rubber” that permeated the auditorium.

As you may have surmised, nobody else smelled burning rubber in Carnegie Hall.
Several months later, Gershwin was dead from the effects of a large brain tumor.
Other cases of only one person smelling something have preceded diagnoses of neurological conditions, so this is something that might be best pursued with an MD.

And, as CSA implies, the OP’s chapped lips and perception of a “weird taste” may have nothing to do with the odor that his girlfriend detects. There could be two different medical conditions at play here.

Or, there could be a legitimate issue with the car.
From afar, nobody can really tell you for sure.

This May Be Of No Help, But Back In My College Days I Had A Friend Who Awoke With A Gritty Taste, Chapped Lips, And He Smelled Funny. Turns Out His Friends Had To Drag Him Through An Alley Very Early That Morning After A Night Of Partying.


Ahhhh!! Your missing your winshield!! Gritty bugs and cold wind chapping your lips! :wink: