What Causes a Jeep to Have a Strong Antifreeze Smell?

When you get into your vehicle and smell antifreeze it will cause you to be concerned. I have had a lot of people ask me what causes their Jeeps to smell like antifreeze.

The simplest answer for an odor of antifreeze and no obvious signs of leaks is that the expansion tank is vented and allows the odor to escape.

The following guide will help you understand the reasons why you might smell an odor of antifreeze in your vehicle and when to get concerned about it.

Why Does My Jeep Smell Like Antifreeze?

Filling Vehicle Radiator with Antifreeze

If you smell the sweet odor of antifreeze when you are driving or when you get into your car you do not necessarily need to panic. You do need to do a preliminary inspection to rule out possible leaks though.

The causes of an antifreeze smell.

  1. The aroma of antifreeze can alert you to a leak in your coolant system.
  2. Overfilling the coolant reservoir.
  3. The relief valve gasket made needs replacing. You may need to have the gasket replaced due to wear and deterioration. You might also discover that the screws need to be tightened or replaced. 
  4. Leaking heater cores will allow you to smell antifreeze from the vents of the vehicle. When the fluid leaks from the heater core a sickly-sweet smell is released into the air and that smell will be drawn into the vents. The main cause of a leaking heater core is corrosion. 
  5. Worn head gaskets can make you smell antifreeze in the exhaust of the vehicle. When the head gasket is bad, or the heads on the engine are cracked the cooling system fluids are not properly contained and can be drawn into the combustion chamber. Antifreeze can be smelled in the exhaust. See a licensed and certified mechanic because this problem needs to be addressed immediately.

If I Smell Antifreeze What Should I Do?

Smelling antifreeze is not an immediate reason to have the vehicle towed to the shop. Before you panic do a preliminary check to see if you can see obvious signs of a leak.

How to check for a leak

  1. Walk around the vehicle and look under the automobile for puddles of coolant. If you have been running the vehicle and running the air conditioner condensation will cause a small puddle of water to form under the automobile. This puddle will not smell like antifreeze and should be basically clear.
  2. Lift the hood and see if you see any obvious dripping from hose connections. Check the hose clamps and see if they are fitting snugly.
  3. Check to hoses for any obvious signs of wear or age.
  4. Look at the engine for a residue or stain that is light in color.
  5. Look at the coolant reservoir and check to see if it is overfilled or possibly empty.
  6. Reach under the radiator and touch the bottom to see if there is any moisture.
  7. Check the radiator cap while the engine is cool to make sure it is seated properly on the radiator.
  8. Exam your water pump for signs of leakage.
  9. Inspect the thermostat housing.
  10. When driving look to see if the vehicle is producing light-colored smoke. This could indicate that the coolant is being burned off. 
  11. Use a pressure tester’

Does It Cost a Lot to Repair a Coolant Leak?

Auto Mechanic Checking the Parts of a Car

The cost of repairs is going to be determined by what has caused the leak in the first place. If you need to tighten a clamp then the cost will be nothing. If you need to flush the system and replace the coolant fluid the cost will be close to $50 if you do the work yourself.

If you have to replace your entire radiator the cost can be somewhere between $300 and $900 dollars. 

If severe damage has been done the cost of repairs could be hundreds of dollars. Still in confusion which antifreeze is best? Read this article then.

Can I Use The Radiator Stop Leak to Fix The Problem?

If you determine that the radiator is leaking causing you to smell antifreeze then a radiator stop leak may be the solution.

For most brands of radiator stop leak, all you have to do is pour the contents of the container into your radiator reservoir and let the normal circulation dispense the stop leak to the right place.

What Are The Possible Consequences of Ignoring The Smell of Antifreeze?

If you smell the sweet smell that indicates a possible coolant leak and does nothing, there are several problems that could arise.

  1. You can blow a head gasket in the engine. When the gasket is compromised then the coolant can get inside the cylinders. This can cause your engine to be unable to lubricate properly and lead to major engine troubles.
  2. The engine can overheat. When this happens, you will have less power and control while driving. This can also lead to a crack forming in the engine block due to the heat and the pressure the engine is under. If the engine block cracks or warps you are looking at major repairs and possibly replacing the entire engine.

People Also Ask

Why Does My Jeep Smell Like Coolant?

Your vehicle may smell like antifreeze because of the venting in the expansion take. It could also be an indication of a leak in the cooling system.

What’s Wrong If You Smell Antifreeze?

If you smell coolant, you may have a leak in the system.

What Does Antifreeze Smell Like?

Antifreeze smells sickeningly sweet. Some people refer to the smell as reminding them of pancake syrup.

More Interesting Jeep Articles:
Why are Jeep Patriots so Cheap?
How Much can a Jeep Wrangler Tow [Explained]
How much Does it Cost to Lift a Jeep Wrangler?
How to Make a Jeep Wrangler Ride Smoother

Final Thoughts

Odd odors being emitted from your vehicle require thorough investigation. The aroma of antifreeze may be nothing serious, but it could also mean that you have a coolant leak and that leak could lead to overheating, warping of heads, and expensive repairs. Be sure to check each odd smell whether is coming from the vents in the dash or the exhaust. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

About Brendan Burnett

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