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I smell exhaust fumes all the time

I have been smelling exhaust fumes where none exist for about 2 weeks now. I can be in the shower or laying in bed and the smell won't go away, it smells like i'm in an enclosed garage with a gas powered vehicle running. Is this common?, I have never had any allergies.
219 Responses
214105 tn?1265938759
Hopefully this will go away soon but if not you should see an ENT doctor (otolaryngologist).
Avatar universal
That's odd. I've heard of people smelling burning toast or marshmallows when they have a brain tumour but not this so I doubt it is what's wrong with you but I don't know for sure just haven't heard of this. Is it always in your home you smell it as you only described laying in bed or being in the shower I assume you mean in your home if that's the case it may not be medical issues you have it could just be an odour within the home get the gas company to send a guy out they have a device that detects gas in the air. If this sounds wrong then you probably should see a doctor also try cleaning your nostrils with a flannel it sounds silly but who knows you could have an oily substance on the hairs that you only smell sometimes when there is no other odours over powering it.
1337210 tn?1275784082
Jerry, I am astounded to find your recent query because I am just about to post the SAME DAMNED THING!
Have been totally perplexed by the smell of exhaust -- like walking past an idling bus, or being in a car that's burning oil that's got its heater/ blower turned on. Day, night, lying down, sitting up, with other people around, by myself, in the car, outdoors.
My situation has been going on constantly for the past week or so, but I think it is not the first time. But now, there seems to be a bit of a throat scratch with it, so I wonder if it is a sinus infection. I have heard it may be serious to experience olfactory hallucinations, but don't want to anticipate anything worse than this is.
Would like to keep in touch, and know how you've progressed since May. Thanks, Alice1952
Avatar universal
The condition is called phantosmia.  It is not "normal", but it is a named medical condition.

It is usually caused by  some sort of trauma or a sinus infection or other upper respiratory illness.  Tumors are another possible cause, but not always.  Exhaust is not a typical odor to experience, but burning wood is very normal. Exhaust is a close smell.  

As the first poster said, you should see an ENT to rule out any serious problems.  Few drs are familiar with this disease, so you might want to do some research and print out a few articles before you head to a dr's office.

I hope that helps you all some.  Here's to better smelling.
Avatar universal
For the past few weeks, I have been smelling exhaust fumes, at home, at night while working on my hobby.  Now, today the odor has hit me while at work.  I don't have any sinus pain.  At home I thought it was a car outside, since the windows were open.  Another thought, some one was burning wood in a fire pit (in the neighborhood).  Now at work, 3 floors up?
Avatar universal
I have been smelling something ever once in a while just while I'm in my house though.  I can't really describe the smell except to me it smells like charcoal.  It seems like I notice it more when I'm around my computer, but then I can also smell it in the living room and when I go to bed sometimes.  This has been going on for over a year, but I only notice it when I'm at home.  I just wander if there is some chemical in my house.  It has to be hidden somewhere, because I have used all toxic-free cleaning products and laundry products for over 15 years.  I even have an air purifier in my house.
Avatar universal
teddilvr and alice1952 are experiencing the exact smell I do, i'll bet when they breath in fast they do not get the "exhaust smell", and while breathing in slowly it's the strongest before I've filled my lungs.. it's not burning rubber, or wood or pennies or marshmallows  (like some have reported) its definitely the smell of gasoline engine (not diesel either) exhaust, if you've ever started a car in a garage then you know exactly what we are smelling, also this happens in places other than my home. what's funny is to read forums from people that think this is nonsense or think it's just superhuman smell like a dog has, I've read about a dozen cases from all over different sites where people smell the EXACT SAME SMELL. Like I said, I've never had allergies or migraines and I doubt it's a brain tumor either this has been going on for months now...My doctor has never heard of this or had another patient with this anomaly.  Thanks for the forum to discuss this with others in the same boat I'm in.  Jerry
Avatar universal
I just started this afternoon, having the exhaust smell, and scratchy throat. It seems that I can even taste it. I went outside to see if there was a running car sitting in front of my house.  I've never had this before and I'm not having any other issues.
Orange County, California
Avatar universal
I thought I was crazy....lol.......I have been smelling exhaust fumes in my room for the last 2 hours and I've had a headache with a sore throat coming on and I'm very tired. I do smoke, but, have been over-sensitive to smells since my car accident Nov 2005 which caused a bad flare up of my CFS/ME. I'm afraid to sleep cuz I think there is a carbon monoxide in the house I live in. The guy who owns the house has old appliances & hasn't changed the furnace filter for 3 or 4 years, plus, the furnace he was told Oct 2006 needed to be replaced but he refused to do so. So, I don't know if my smelling exhaust fumes is sinus, tumor or actually a carbon monoxide leak. Anyone have any theories?
Avatar universal
I smell exhaust fumes too and I'm on oxygen.  I've been wondering if an exhaust smell could be coming from it, but it's electric and makes the oxygen I breathe.  I've been smelling it for months.  Tonight I told my husband I smelled exhaust, he said he did not, I asked him to put on my oxygen to see if he could smell it, he did not smell it at all.  I don't have a sinus infection but this smell does give me a headache as if I were literally smelling automobile exhaust.  I'm glad to know it has a name, now I need to know what it is and what causes it.  I want to get rid of it, it's very "exhausting"  literally.  Couldn't resist.  We have to find a bit of humor or go nuts trying to figure out what, where etc.  Thanks for listening/reading.
Avatar universal
These are indeed, in all likelihood, smog or car fumes from traffic outside your home at peak hours seeping in your roof, walls and through windows. You aren't imagining it. Usually sweet smells from benzene are being trapped in carpet and leather in your home. Welcome to our still oil based society.
Avatar universal
Problem solved, The smell of exhuast fumes are from a sinus infection. I know it happened to me. The smell came up in August, then went away. Now its back and my sinuses are really acting up, enough to make an appt. with an ENT specialist.
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