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Heater Core Leak – Sweet Smell

Q: There is a sweet smell in my car coming from the air vents. Is this something I should be concerned about?

A: This sweet smell is probably an indication of a leaky heater core. The heater core is like a little radiator. It is mounted between the engine compartment and the passenger compartment. The heater core is used to transfer heat to the inside of the vehicle when you turn on the heater blower. If it is leaking, it drips in the heater ducts and sometimes on the floor inside the car. When the blower is turned on, the odor circulates inside the passenger compartment. Check to see if your coolant level is low. Do not open a hot radiator cap. If your coolant gets excessively low, you run the risk of overheating your car’s engine and causing internal damage. If your coolant level is low, have your local service center perform a cooling system pressure test to find the leak.