I Smell Antifreeze When My Heater Is On

Does your car smell like antifreeze? As you probably guessed, it’s not a good sign and it could indicate a problem. But what could be causing that stench and what can you do about it?

What Does it Mean When Your Car Smells Like Antifreeze?

If you smell antifreeze, it likely indicates an issue with the heater core.

Antifreeze is also known as coolant and it helps to absorb heat from the engine and keep it running at an optimal temperature. When you turn on the car’s heating, hot coolant flows to the heater core and provides the warmth required.

If there is a leak in the heater core, the air will smell like antifreeze. It has a strong, sweet, and slightly fruity stench and is unmistakable.

Is a Heater Core Leak a Serious Problem?

Although a leak is nearly always something to worry about, that isn’t necessarily the case here. If the leak is minor, you can just top-up the coolant level and keep going until you are able to get the vehicle checked over.

If the leak is severe and occurs inside the vehicle, it could damage the upholstery and lead to some costly repair work.

If you notice that distinctive coolant smell and think that you might have an issue with the heater core, get the vehicle checked out.

Why Do I Smell Antifreeze in my House?

If you have radiators in your home and you detect the sickly sweet antifreeze odor, it could indicate a leak in the radiator or pipes.

Antifreeze is often added to the water that circulates through your heating system, as it prevents it freezing during extremely cold temperatures. If it leaks, you will be able to detect an antifreeze smell and should call a repairman to deal with the issue.