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Kia smells like a burnt clutch

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  • Kia smells like a burnt clutch

    Hi, first time post here.

    I have a 2009 Kia Borrego with 3.8 v6. Just yesterday my air was blowing cold and all of sudden the air felt like someone turned just the vent on and no longer blew cold air. No noise and no bogging of the engine. Then a smell of burnt clutch material filled the air. I shut it off thinking the compressor locked up and finished my drive home.

    After getting home home in the drive way I turned the a/c back on to watch for the clutch to engage and it did so with no noise/no grinding no engine bog and the air blow cold again. After a few minutes it started smelling like burnt clutch again.

    Today I drove for a while with a/c on and no issues other than an occasional smell of burning clutch.

    Any suggestions as to if I should take it in for a clutch replacement or just run it till it completely fails. I drive 25+ miles to work each way and don’t want to get stranded.

    If if I could be something other than the compressor clutch let me know. I have automatic transmission.

    Sorry for for such a long post and thanks for looking.


  • #2
    Hi Gary. You said it could bog down engine which alone isn't right compressor or something on belt(s) is drawing way too much for the belt probably is the compressor and would either allow belt to burn over that or its clutch slip not so sure you know just yet. This could get you stuck if belt breaks.

    You've smelled it with A/C off just maybe it isn't totally "off" depends on what request you used this might not be A/C at all you (we) need to know it isn't diagnosed just yet. Need to watch what is slipping, inspect belt and tension including looking for any reason it could slip not necessarily the clutch itself is so it probably isn't just a clutch job for that but why is the issue. You wouldn't just do a clutch IMO if the case but let's wait and get some info.

    Be prepared to disable A/C if in fact compressor is demanding that much or risk untold problems, first issue the car isn't going far.

    Are you up to date with all scheduled maintenance both time and miles especially all belts including timing belt if applicable? Lose one can lose the whole engine so jump on this to know why it does this again not necessarily A/C anything at all yet,
    MetroWest, Boston


    • #3
      What caused me alarm was the a/c suddenly stopped blowing cold air. The air through the vents was just normal air like rolling a window down. After this occurred I shut the a/c off and then I rolled the windows down and that’s when I smelled the burning like a clutch.

      Belt appears to have no wear on it at all and never made any noise and NO engine bog like a locked compressor. For two days now it has been functioning just fine. Cold air and no smell. So I really don’t know what would have caused it to suddenly stop cooling.

      There are around 145,000 miles and I’ve bought it from new. No other issues until this one, mechanically speaking.

      Im going to disconnect the belt tomorrow and inspect all my pulleys and go from there.



      • #4
        It should show evidence with the belt check and include spinning other pulleys on that belt. For any reason it could slip it would smell only you think it's the clutch it could be the belt slipping alone and compressor stopped for that time just didn't lose the belt right away?

        Other check on belt while there is tensioner of it. It should be self adjusted or if not know how to set it for proper deflection for the vehicle at what point that's done. New belt probably in order if not self adjusted may need re-adjusting after a day or two?

        Self adjusters almost all have an index pointer for the range they can handle look for that and see where it points with belt on now it has to be ruled out.

        One more. If there's a leak of oil, antifreeze or something on the belt it can slip just from that on to fix what cause that.
        The reason you need to do this is despite odor is familiar could be fooling you is likely hot where it slips if so whatever is hottest it what you notice the odor of,
        MetroWest, Boston


        • #5
          Check the air gap of your clutch.