Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Capital Region, People's Republic of NY
Thanked 68 Times in 51 Posts
As a highly trained polymers (plastics) guy from a school in your town, I can offer some suggestions.
If the smell is like hot wax, it's polyethylene or polypropylene. Could be a bag or something you picked up, or a piece of underhood shielding (much of the black splash shield type stuff) got broken off or moved and wound up too close to something hot. That would be my guess.
If it smells like burning hair, it's nylon. Probably a fastener or connector.
If it has a really sharp, acrid smell, it's either a polyurethane and a piece of a car's body, or b) phenolic and could be your brake pads. Phenolic will smell like overheated brake pads or a really, really overheated piece of electronics. Phenolic, to me, is less pungent that polyurethane.
A classic burning rubber smell (like tires when you lay a patch) is likely classic rubber and probably a hose somewhere. In that case, I'd be on the lookout for drips under the car.
"Communication isn't what you say. It's what they hear." - Red Auerbach
2007 SE I4 5AT, Cool Blue, 67k
2004 EX I4 5MT, Desert Mist, 160k
Also in the family:
2009 TSX, navy, auto
2011 TSX, black, M6 Tech
2012 Crosstour V6, black
2013 Civic EX, gray
2014 Honda HRX217 (2)
2001 Accord EX I4 5MT, Satin Silver, oil slick at 86K
1999 EX-LV, Heather Mist, sold at 146,567
1994 Accord LX I4 5 MT ABS, Malachite Green, traded at 285k