2013+ Ford Escape Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My 2017 Ford Escape has just begun to have a very strong burning odor when using the heat. It only starts after driving the car for 15-20 minutes, but is so strong that I have to turn the heat off. When the heat is off, the smell goes away. Any suggestions before I take the car in?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
710 Posts
My 2017 Ford Escape has just begun to have a very strong burning odor when using the heat. It only starts after driving the car for 15-20 minutes, but is so strong that I have to turn the heat off. When the heat is off, the smell goes away. Any suggestions before I take the car in?
I get that in my '17 SE also, but don't know if it just the Escape. It seems very sensitive to outside air conditions. Unlike my previous car, a BMW X3, I notice a lot of fumes from diesel trucks, pickups, and find myself searching for that hard to find recirculate button.
In 12 years, I don't think I ever used the recirculate button on the Bimmer. Where is the passenger cabin intake?
The Explorers have a concern over CO in the cabin. I wonder if it is related.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ford-explorer-closer-to-recall-possible-carbon-monoxide-leak-police/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
My 2017 Ford Escape has just begun to have a very strong burning odor when using the heat. It only starts after driving the car for 15-20 minutes, but is so strong that I have to turn the heat off. When the heat is off, the smell goes away. Any suggestions before I take the car in?
Only thing I can think of it's make sure its doing it when you take it to the dealer.
Depends on the smell. C02 I think has no odor.
Could be something electrical in the heating system over heating, maybe the blower motor, electrical wire......... to hard to tell off hand.
Definitely not something that was would easy to find and fix real quick. Whatever they find I'm sure they will have to take apart some panels or something to correct the problem when they do find it.

Please, post back and let us know what they find. I'm sure someone in this forum might run across the same issue and it can help a lot of us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
187 Posts
Teresa B, I get the same EXACT smell in the cabin of my 2016 Ford Escape. It's driving me crazy. My first dealership said they couldn't detect it.

Now my Escape is at another dealership and they're saying the exact same thing; that they cannot smell anything. It's not a very strong smell but it is definitely noticeable. It's often intermittent and comes and goes in 20 minute intervals. I noticed it happens only when the heat is on (it doesn't happen when A/C is on). Plus, I notice it only happens if the air is coming from the outside. When I select recirculate, it does not happen. So that tells me the cause is located somewhere outside.

Unfortunately my recirculate doesn't stay on all the time. My recirculate automatically shuts off by itself after 20 minutes, whenever my defrosters are turned on. I can actually tell if my recirculate is on/off by my nose. When I smell "the smell" I know my recirculate switch is turned off. Then it's time to turn it on again...

I'm very very concerned that the smell is something dangerous. It does indeed smell like exhaust. To those who think exhaust doesn't smell, stick your head near a tailpipe. There is definitely a smell coming out of the tailpipe. I'm concerned that constant exposure to it could be detrimental to my health. I'm worried about getting lung cancer from constant exposure. If the idiot dealership guys can't help me out, then I probably have no other choice than to sell the vehicle. I don't want to, but my health is too important.

By the way, it is definitely not a new car smell like some have stated. It started on my vehicle after about a year of ownership. Before that, it was not there. Now my vehicle has 35K miles on it and the smell is prevalent. I don't think any car with 35K miles on it would be considered "new" by anyone. Lastly, in those two years, I've never eaten anything (not even a crumb) in my Escape, so it's definitely not a food smell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
287 Posts
What happens if you turn the temperature down so the air still flows without being heated? Does it still smell burning? Again, try to determine if your car has the electric PTC heater option, since that may smell like a space heater when first turned on.

If it's exhaust, the main concern is carbon monoxide poisoning. Ford has had trouble with that on the Explorers police use but it's opposite (CO is sucked in the rear vents when recirculate is on rather than off). I haven't' heard of that happening on an Escape however (you would probably hear an exhaust leak if that was the case).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
779 Posts
you guys sure this is not the PCV problem "bad hoses"
coolant leaking on exhaust
bad valve cover leaking oil on exhaust
transmission leaking oil on exhaust pipe
oil dipstick or oil fill cap not fully pushed in or screwed on tightly and oil leaking
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
187 Posts
I don't know if it's the PVC hoses. But I will say that you guys are offering better ideas than my dealership technicians who basically say "We don't smell anything."

Regarding the heat or no heat, like I said, I don't notice it in the summer time when I use the A/C. I don't know if I have a PTC heater. I doubt it. Because my heat takes a while to kick in. Plus, I smell "the smell" even after 3 hours of driving and I doubt the PTC would be on for that long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
JoeyO - did you ever determine the problem to the exhaust odor? My '14 Escape is doing the exact same thing, and before I take it in to be repaired, I'd like to have an idea of what the problem may be. It's as if the exhaust pipe and gas tank are connected straight into my vents. No car has ever remotely come close to a odor like this. This all sounds dramatic, but it is exactly as I say. I did finally find that the recirculate option helps, but before then, the odor was so strong that at traffic lights, I'd have to roll down the windows and stick my head out (no kidding). It gave me horrible headaches, nauseous, and made me sleepy. I was legitimately concerned that it would kill me if I left the windows rolled up and the recirculate option off. Anyway, if you read this, I'd appreciate your response. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Has anyone found a solution yet?
I just purchased a used 2017 escape SE 1.5L with about 120,000km on it. I've noticed that when I get in the vehicle and turn the heat on after about 5 minutes. The smell goes away when the air system is off or I turn recirculate on. The smell is sickening, burning plastic/electrical component smell. It decreased slightly after I changed the cabin air filter, but is still very noticeable and makes me feel sick. I had my head under the glove box when I was changing the air filter and noticed the same smell and am wondering if this is where it originates. I have looked for an air duct schematic online with no luck. I figure there has to be an issue mid stream in the ducting because it only smells when the heat is on. I have read about the PTC heater being a potential culprit, but would love to know if any of you fine people have come up with something before I tear into my new-to-me vehicle.
Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Has anyone found a solution yet?
I just purchased a used 2017 escape SE 1.5L with about 120,000km on it. I've noticed that when I get in the vehicle and turn the heat on after about 5 minutes. The smell goes away when the air system is off or I turn recirculate on. The smell is sickening, burning plastic/electrical component smell. It decreased slightly after I changed the cabin air filter, but is still very noticeable and makes me feel sick. I had my head under the glove box when I was changing the air filter and noticed the same smell and am wondering if this is where it originates. I have looked for an air duct schematic online with no luck. I figure there has to be an issue mid stream in the ducting because it only smells when the heat is on. I have read about the PTC heater being a potential culprit, but would love to know if any of you fine people have come up with something before I tear into my new-to-me vehicle.
Thanks!
Update
I did some further investigation. It was the cheap Chinese floor mats the previous owner put in the vehicle. This is why I could only smell it when the vents were on the floor. Threw out the mats, detailed the carpet, no more smell.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top