First of all let me say I apparently have no exhaust leak.

For a long time I've been asking myself how was it possible that the exhaust of my car smells so bad. It does it when in the morning, I start my car, drive out of my garage, and go to close it - and in the evening when I come back home, I drive my car into the garage and then get out of it.

Of course those are just the 2 moments when I actually get to smell the stuff, but I am positive that it is always so smelly (otherwise it wouldn't be the same when I start the car as well as when I come back home after a drive).

I cannot describe the smell. It is stronger than I thought the exhaust of a car would be and I guess it would be similar to burnt diesel, but I don't really know.

I do live in Germany, where a percentage of bio-diesel is mandatory in all the diesels and in every gas station.

What could be the cause of the smell?

Am I too sensitive to the diesel, or am I right to say that the exhaust shouldn't have a strong smell?

If it is helpful I have a VW Golf VI (2009) 2.0 with more or less 150.000km life.

  • Does it happen to smell like rotten eggs? Mar 2, 2016 at 8:37
  • No, a lot like burnt oil/diesel, but rotten eggs never. I would have noticed it, since I know that smell very well Mar 2, 2016 at 9:41
  • Well, I don't find it surprising that burnt diesel smells like burnt diesel. Diesel engine exhausts have a different smell than petrol's, it's certainly less pleasant. It's difficult to tell how strong the smell is without smelling it. Does your car emit a lot of black smoke when driving, especially more aggressively? Mar 2, 2016 at 9:52
  • Well tbh I never compared the smell of diesels, but I am positive to have not smelled this stuff before. No, my car doesn't emit black smoke at all. Mar 2, 2016 at 11:51
  • 1
    You should have a friend follow you and see if they can see any puffs of smoke for your car. A cracked DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) can cause a bad smell as well as bursts of smoke.
    – JPhi1618
    Mar 2, 2016 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


I suspect you've already answered your question. I assume that the garage is largely un-ventilated and that you promptly close the doors upon leaving for work.

I'd be very tempted to, next time the weather is slightly windy, leave the doors open for a few hours to let the garage air out.

Out of interest, do you reverse into the garage so the cars exhaust pipe faces the back wall?

  • No, I enter my garage frontally, the exhaust if faced towards the door. When I go out of the car I smell it even if I'm standing outside... Apr 7, 2016 at 7:56

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