I have a 2006 Saab 9-3, V6 that has white smoke with a burning rubber smell, after car runs at 30-40 mph for a few miles.

There are no leaks from under the car or visible signs of leakage from the coolant system.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! May 17, 2022 at 0:38
  • 1
    Do you mean from the exhaust tail pipe, or literally from the rear of the engine?
    – HandyHowie
    May 17, 2022 at 6:22
  • From rear of engine compartment. No smoke coming from the tailpipe
    – Steve Dunn
    May 18, 2022 at 3:38

1 Answer 1


Given your description it could be a few things.

It could be oil leaking onto the exhaust manifold. You can check around the rear valve cover gasket (next to the firewall) and visually inspect for oil leaks. This could smell like burnt rubber and could also be a source of the white smoke.

Also check the hoses/wires in the rear of the engine to see if they are touching or too close to the engine and are melting. This would smell like burnt rubber and if fluid is leaking could also be a source for the white smoke.

A blown head gasket or crack in the cylinder head would cause white smoke but would be a sweet smell. You may have two separate issues.

Telltale signs of a bad head gasket or cracked cylinder head are:

  • White smoke coming from the area around the head gasket or tailpipe
  • Loss of coolant with no leaks
  • Overheating
  • Coolant in the oil making it look like a chocolate milkshake
  • Bubbling in the radiator and coolant reservoir

You should check your coolant level (when the engine is cool) to see if you are losing coolant. You should also check your oil to see if it is a light brown color.

  • It sounds like the OP is describing smoke, with a burning rubber smell, coming from the rear of the engine not from the tailpipe. I've also never had burned coolant smell that way. I'm not sure this is really an answer to the question.
    – jwh20
    May 17, 2022 at 14:32
  • Fair point @jwh20. I have modified my answer. Thank you for pointing that out.
    – MJH
    May 17, 2022 at 17:00
  • The smoke is coming from the back of the engine compartment, thanks for the replies.
    – Steve Dunn
    May 18, 2022 at 2:50

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