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I let someone test drive my manual stick shift car & now my engine smells burnt. Should I be worried?

They said they knew how to drive standard, but they obviously didnt! Smells like the gears were striped like a burnt rubber smell. Im trying to sell this car and am worried they may have damaged something? Should I be worried or should this be ok? They only drove it 1 mile.

17 Answers

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  • 10 months ago

    If it smells, it's probably toast. No pun intended. Get it up to 10 mph, put in 2nd, then try to hold it with the brake.( Don't touch the gas !) . If it slips and keeps running, you need new disk, maybe pressure plate and flywheel turned. Can be $$ in a FWD at dealer to very cheap if you do it yourself on an '85 Tercel.

    When I was young and foolish, I lent my '66 Chevelle out. D***** ruined the clutch. Not such a big job with an old 3 speed and inline 6.

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  • Jay P
    Lv 7
    10 months ago

    It's not the engine or gears but rather the clutch you smell.

    That person did not know how to drive a stick properly. If they only drove it 1 mile, and assuming the clutch disc and pressure plate where in good condition before, you will probably be okay. But they did shorten the life expectancy of those components by not knowing how to properly drive.

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  • 10 months ago

    That's likely the clutch you smell. Don't let them drive it again as they don't know WTF they are doing and will ruin your clutch.

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  • JetDoc
    Lv 7
    10 months ago

    Hey IDIOT! How in the HELL can the STEEL gears inside your transmission smell like burned rubber? Next time you let someone test drive your car, go with them so you'll know what they did.

    • Road Warrior10 months agoReport

      Must be many race car drivers who don't know how to fix their own cars. Non Sequitur.

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  • 10 months ago

    There is no smell to stripped gears, but the damage will be noisy. Burned clutches are permanently damaged, but it takes more than a one mile ride to do that to a good clutch. Slipping the clutch can stink and the smell goes away, except if the clutch continues to slip. Driving with the parking brake on can stink almost the same way. The clutch has xx,xxx miles on it and one more mile of bad driving just doesn't equal all the wear. However, you should never let them drive your car again, and be careful with your car from here on. The damage will not heal. See if you can still stall the engine trying to start off in 4th gear and if it stalls out right away, trouble is much further down the road, not impending.

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  • 10 months ago

    Clutch is burnt--needs surface redone, new plate installed before you sell. Major job.

    • Road warrior
      Lv 4
      10 months agoReport

      Very Easy in an '85 Tercel or '80 Chevette.

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  • Anonymous
    10 months ago

    Nah. You are smelling their old pharts in the seat cushions...very toxic gas. They probably toked up on a joint while in the car and peed on the carpets.

    Or their perfume or Pit stick smell...or hair conditioner. You would have noticed as they first drove off if they drag the clutch excessively. Even then that does not "stink". They test drove the car, so part of the test is gunning it while driving up a hill. They burned the "Carbon out of it" as they drove fast and they drove hard.

    The car can take it.

    You been driving like a Granny for such a long time, you forgot about the days when you were test driving cars and did the same thing.

    . Then again, you don't know where they drove (and maybe the roads they were driving on were being repaved so the stink of fresh asphalt/tar is in the car.

    . Or they drove past a construction site where roofing tar was the stink in the air....or someone was having their septic tank pumped out.

    Or they drove alongside a diesel pickup truck & its exhaust entered into the cars cabin.

    . Or they stopped for a couple of "burders" & flies.

    . Besides, how often do you stick your head under the hood of your car? Maybe you are low on coolant so, a good time to check it now and make sure all the fluid levels are up anyways...then you can ignore it again for a few weeks.

    Gears are made of steel(not rubber) There is nothing to burn.

    • Road Warrior10 months agoReport

      The nose gear of first in my old Chevy was Teflon. Wore right out, so 1st always grinds getting into gear.

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  • 10 months ago

    I would guess they 'tested' your vehicle to its limits and beyond. The best way to test for a slipping clutch is to do a couple of uphill starts, failing that try to pull away with the brake on. Either method will put a strain on the clutch plate and leave it smelling warm.

    If they walked away afterwards they may not have been happy with the result.

    Never let anyone test drive your vehicle unless you are there to supervise, how do you know they are going to bring it back? They could be planning a bank robbery for all you know and need a getaway car.

    • Snezzy
      Lv 7
      10 months agoReport

      Except on the rare occasions when he is wrong, Percy is always right. Was the "test" driver perchance named Willie Sutton? (Go look him up.)

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  • g
    Lv 7
    10 months ago

    Who knows, Honesty!

    Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. If they damaged anything it would likely be your clutch, not your engine.

    Have your favorite mechanic check it out if you wish. However, you cannot hold the test driver liable if they did indeed damage your vehicle. That's the risk you chose to take!

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  • 10 months ago

    There's no need to be worried, this sort of thing happened to me before. They most likely just put some strain on the transmission, but this isn't really damaging. As long as the care still drives normally then there is nothing to be worried about.

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    • Road warrior
      Lv 4
      10 months agoReport

      No. I had 2 do this to me. If you smell something, clutch disk is Gone . Can be $$, maybe easy. Depends on car.

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