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Old 20th June 2012, 10:20   #1
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Default Honda Civic burning smell problem

I own a Civic V AT since May 2008. Right from the first service till the last time my car visited the service center over the last 4 years, I have been complaining about one problem persistently. If the engine speed crosses 3500 rpm, a burning smell creeps into the cabin and stays for around 5 to 15 minutes. Last year at one instance, I got so fed up with this problem that I refused to take delivery of the car without this problem being rectified. After 20 days of diagnosis (yes, twenty whole days) and going back and forth, they said it was a cooling coil problem. I said I will not pay for it as I have been complaining from the time the car is new. They said they will get approval and change it under good will warranty but God only knows if they actually did change it.

For a few days it was fine. But again started to appear. A friend said it smells like the clutch is burning. I've given up on the service center guys to fix this problem. In the last 4 years if they couldn't fix the problem, I'm sure they can't fix it forever. In a Civic AT it is very difficult to overtake without the car touching at least 4k rpm. The car is in Chennai and the service center is Sundaram Honda. Experts here can you guess what the source of this problem could be?
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Old 20th June 2012, 10:39   #2
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

Is the car dragging in anyways? Is there a engine responsive till atleast 3500rpm?
If the car is dragging get it checked thoroughly, it could be the clutch settings are off & are chewing off more than required, similarly with the disc brakes, The adjustment error can be so minute that you wouldn't hear a screeching noise neither any dragging, but the disc brakes will be working overtime.
It could also be the wiring in the dashboard, I've had this issue in my previous car, & then suddenly one day I noticed smoke coming out of the dash. It was a short!
I recommend you get the car thoroughly checked by a competent mechanic, not at Honda A/S/S though.
The existing issue will just snowball into other bigger issues. Overall it is a potential hazard driving around with a burning smell. Take care. Let us know what it was after you've gotten it checked.
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Old 20th June 2012, 10:47   #3
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

If the car never crosses 3500rpm ever nobody would ever notice there is anything wrong with the car. The disc brakes have worn out recently but after a healthy 48k kms. They didn't have discs in stock during the last service. It should be with them in a week and I will be getting them changed. And the car doesn't lag in anyway. I'm quite a quick driver in the city and without pushing the car beyond 2.5k rpm I get to 70 quite easily. So I do not suspect the brakes at all. Clutch it could be. But who would be competent enough to diagnose an AT clutch. Anyone from Chennai could help in this regard please?
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Old 20th June 2012, 14:54   #4
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

Can you describe the burning smell? For example, electrical burn? Exhaust Leak?

Since you mention this is only happening above 3.5k rpms, I'm wondering if there is a belt that's slipping at higher rpms.

Your Honda dealer appears incompetent. Best you look for an expert independent garage (my recommendation)
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Old 20th June 2012, 15:13   #5
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

Big possibility that the belt's slipping. Also check for any minor oil leaks under the hood. Do a thorough check in board daylight.
Also, please try & isolate the type of burning smell, e.g. the clutch burning smells very metallic, whereas a wire overheating & burning slowly will smell of a bit of rubber, oil leaks burning on hot areas will smell a bit smoky.
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Old 21st June 2012, 10:44   #6
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Can you describe the burning smell? For example, electrical burn? Exhaust Leak?

Since you mention this is only happening above 3.5k rpms, I'm wondering if there is a belt that's slipping at higher rpms.

Your Honda dealer appears incompetent. Best you look for an expert independent garage (my recommendation)
Thanks GTO. The burning smell is like a metal burning smell only. Not like an electrical burning smell. I shall try this person in Wallace Garden.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mb_jg View Post
Big possibility that the belt's slipping. Also check for any minor oil leaks under the hood. Do a thorough check in board daylight.
Also, please try & isolate the type of burning smell, e.g. the clutch burning smells very metallic, whereas a wire overheating & burning slowly will smell of a bit of rubber, oil leaks burning on hot areas will smell a bit smoky.
There are no leaks as the car is parked inside the house only and there are absolutely no stains on the floor. Yes as quoted above, the smell is metallic only. No rubber or electric burn smell.
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Old 21st June 2012, 11:09   #7
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepakchan View Post
I shall try this person in Wallace Garden
This place in the forum directory has also got quite a few positive reviews: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/chenna...e-chennai.html (Car repairs & maintenance : Ignite Garage (Chennai))

Cheers,
Vikram
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Old 29th June 2012, 07:07   #8
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

My car (2010 V A/T which has run 46200 Km) also has started giving out a burning smell under the hood after 45K service.The smell does not creep into the cabin, emanates out of the driver side from under the bonnet (even after a sedate run of 5-10 Kms).Whitefield Honda said it might be due to some oil which was used for cleaning and polishing (which I did n't believe) and washed off the residues, but the smell still persists.I could not hear any abnormal rubbing noise during running either. Nor could I spot any smoke under the bonnet.So am unsure what the cause could be.

There was no eveidence of any leakages as well and oil ,coolant levels are all OK.There was no warning sign in the Dash as of now.

I did check the most probable place whether the tyre is rubbing somewhere.But that seems to be OK.What could be the issue here? Could it be timing belt rubbing somewhere or something else?

Thanks.

Last edited by ramanak : 29th June 2012 at 07:09.
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Old 29th June 2012, 08:41   #9
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

I think you rae having an oil leak somewhere above the exhaust manifold & that is falling on the manifold causing the smell. Kindly get this checked. It could be the tappet cover. Also since your car is A/T, no clutch issues to take care of, so that can be ruled out.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 09:10   #10
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1self View Post
I think you rae having an oil leak somewhere above the exhaust manifold & that is falling on the manifold causing the smell. Kindly get this checked. It could be the tappet cover. Also since your car is A/T, no clutch issues to take care of, so that can be ruled out.
Thanks 1self.No.There is not a single drop of leaking fluid anywhere on the floor where the vehicle is parked.Whitefield Honda said this could be due to polishing oils used under the bonnet (Frankly, I did not believe this) and they washed under the bonnet with Soap solution saying that the smell should go away. But even now the smell persists.After running a few Kilometers, I checked in Basement parking (so that there is no wind draft) whether there was any smoke below the bonnet.But I could not spot any. As of now am clueless what could be the issue.The smell comes with/without AC.Other than the smell, Car runs very smoothly, Acceleration is normal and I dont notice any kind of rubbing noise.

Last edited by ramanak : 2nd July 2012 at 09:21.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 18:55   #11
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramanak View Post
My car (2010 V A/T which has run 46200 Km) also has started giving out a burning smell under the hood after 45K service.

I did check the most probable place whether the tyre is rubbing somewhere.But that seems to be OK.What could be the issue here? Could it be timing belt rubbing somewhere or something else?
ramanak, since you say this has started after the 45K service..please check your service invoice for all the services and replacements performed.

If some parts have been adjusted or replaced, those are prime suspects as technicians are known to slip up on proper fitting and adjustments. Check ALL moving parts for proper functioning and if they are touching or rubbing against any other part of the engine.

Since yours is an AT I'd rule out a clutch related problem but 2 things definitely do jump out at me - the one of the brakes is sticking ever so slightly OR something under the hood, for e.g. the alternator/AC belts need to be adjusted again.

Your best bet is to examine each part that was touched during the service. Take the help of a knowledgeable friend or another technician to carry out this inspection.

Last edited by R2D2 : 2nd July 2012 at 18:56.
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Old 2nd July 2012, 22:12   #12
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post
Since yours is an AT I'd rule out a clutch related problem but 2 things definitely do jump out at me - the one of the brakes is sticking ever so slightly OR something under the hood, for e.g. the alternator/AC belts need to be adjusted again.

Your best bet is to examine each part that was touched during the service. Take the help of a knowledgeable friend or another technician to carry out this inspection.
I also feel Alternator could be a suspect since the smell comes from around that area.Brakes were touched during service as well.Thanks for the pointers.
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Old 3rd July 2012, 13:56   #13
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

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Originally Posted by ramanak View Post
I also feel Alternator could be a suspect since the smell comes from around that area.Brakes were touched during service as well.Thanks for the pointers.
You are welcome. Assuming you are comfortable and know your way around your car in detail, inspect the car after every major service, focus on the areas that have received a replacement part or an adjustment.

I do that everytime I get my car back. And before I drive back home a small test drive also helps me spot any anomalies.

I am curious to know what the reason for the smell is. So if you do manage to trace it please do post on TBHP. It will help other TBHPians.

Cheers!
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Old 3rd July 2012, 16:29   #14
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

I had a similar burning smell when I was driving up the steep Nandi Hills roads on my City AT with four passengers in car. For my case it was obvious that the transmission was heating up because of slope. (No issues elsewhere)

I'm wondering if your friend is right and the issue is genuinely at the transmission.
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Old 4th July 2012, 08:40   #15
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Default Re: Honda Civic burning smell problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by the.city View Post
I had a similar burning smell when I was driving up the steep Nandi Hills roads on my City AT with four passengers in car. For my case it was obvious that the transmission was heating up because of slope. (No issues elsewhere)

I'm wondering if your friend is right and the issue is genuinely at the transmission.
In my case, Smell comes even after a few kilometers of sedate driving on flat roads.I am heading to service center shortly.Will post if the issue is
fixed.

AT oil change is due in 60 K service which is still 14 K km away.Engine oil change was done at 40 K service just before my long trip.My Nov 2010 car has seen really tough driving conditions during my recent trip to Gujarat-Rajasthan -Shirdi and back to Bangalore like several hours (22-23 hours) of continuous driving at 100 plus speeds most of the time thrice during the trip in extremely hot weather with A/C in full blast all the time (thanks to sun film rule). Car has also done Bangalore-Chattisgarh-MP trip, trips all over Kerala,Tamil Nadu. Nothing has been changed except for Engine mount under warranty. Stock Bridgestone tyres are also nearing the end of their life.So reason of smell could be anything.

Cheers.
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