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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, i have a 2010 charger sxt awd. Lately, whenever I drive the car and get out I smell a strange smell. It's almost like a burning vegetable oil smell. Not a burning rubber smell however. It is coming from the rear driver's side wheel. It's not coming from the wheel itself, but the caliper and rotor area. Any ideas? The smell goes away after the car has been off for a little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
no but my brakes have always squeaked, even before this started.
 

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Maybe you have a caliper that is not releasing. Touch the caliper and see if it's hot when the smell is noticeable. Be careful not to burn your finger if that's the case..

Big John
 

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If I was you I'd pull the wheel and caliper and inspect the pads.

Stock Charger brakes are crap. Not ONE factory pad I ever bought for this car fit properly... always dremeling them to make them slide properly on the clips, having to do this every so often to polish off the corrosion that would form on the exposed ears, too many angles to do it properly with just a dremel. A real pain.

Judging by the number of warped rotor complaints I'd read here over the years, I wouldn't be surprised if the calipers were badly machined.

Worse, as the pads wore, they got wedged into some really ugly angles. This year, both front and rear I ended up with one pad a piece that was at such an angle that the backing plate was contacting the rotors BEFORE the wear indicators could get to squeal!

Over the past 12 months, I've replaced the front and rear with aftermarket pads and now I finally have pads that truly float and retract properly all year round. Every tire change (2x a year), I check and lube the brakes and the aftermarket pads continue to float beautifully even before I lube anything.

Oh, one more thing: even with proper lubing, I still had one guide pin per rear caliper that suddenly out of nowhere decided to up and seize in place. Badly. This probably did not help with even wear either, and I did in fact hear some occasional squeal just before these guide pins seized in place. So maybe get that checked out, just in case.
(it's all part of proper brake maintenance anyway!).
 

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The smell you describe might be burnt brake fluid. DOT 3 brake fluid is polyethylene glycol based and will smell like burned vegetable oil when cooked.

Check your reservoir and see if you are losing any fluid. If you ruptured a caliper piston seal, the fluid would seep onto the pads and be burned during braking. You should also inspect the pads and caliper and see if they are wet with fluid.
 

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If I was you I'd pull the wheel and caliper and inspect the pads.

Stock Charger brakes are crap. Not ONE factory pad I ever bought for this car fit properly... always dremeling them to make them slide properly on the clips, having to do this every so often to polish off the corrosion that would form on the exposed ears, too many angles to do it properly with just a dremel. A real pain.

Judging by the number of warped rotor complaints I'd read here over the years, I wouldn't be surprised if the calipers were badly machined.

Worse, as the pads wore, they got wedged into some really ugly angles. This year, both front and rear I ended up with one pad a piece that was at such an angle that the backing plate was contacting the rotors BEFORE the wear indicators could get to squeal!

Over the past 12 months, I've replaced the front and rear with aftermarket pads and now I finally have pads that truly float and retract properly all year round. Every tire change (2x a year), I check and lube the brakes and the aftermarket pads continue to float beautifully even before I lube anything.

Oh, one more thing: even with proper lubing, I still had one guide pin per rear caliper that suddenly out of nowhere decided to up and seize in place. Badly. This probably did not help with even wear either, and I did in fact hear some occasional squeal just before these guide pins seized in place. So maybe get that checked out, just in case.
(it's all part of proper brake maintenance anyway!).
It's funny you say this because I have nothing but good things to say about my factory brakes. I've put them through some serious hell using them at speeds above 120mph over a dozen times. One time I used them so hard to slow down from 130mph, and by the time I stopped the entire area smelled like burnt brakes. Rotors aren't warped, pads are hardly worn down, and operate silently. I did change my brake fluid since I'm sure I probably boiled it slowing down from 130, but other than that the OEM brakes have passed my test for durability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well i'm stumped- I just took it out for a quick test drive. I'm about 95% sure that the caliper or brake pad is not sticking to the rotor. Everything seemed absolutely normal heat wise, just as hot or less hot as other wheel rotors on the car. My brake fluid reservoir is fine, it is just under the max fill mark. It does not seem to be leaking on the caliper or brake pad. Im stumped. I wish I knew a little more about this stuff, but I don't know why the smell is there.
 

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I don't know where you live but are you on snow by any chance? Traction control uses the brakes, more so due to no limited slip differentials on many of our cars. Over the years it's not been uncommon for me to smell brakes after a snowy drive. It gets worse as your tires wear and TC operates more frequently, sometimes so unobtrusively that you're not even aware it's in operation (ie. the squiggly icon on the dash won't light up until TC *really* kicks in big time!)
 

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It's funny you say this because I have nothing but good things to say about my factory brakes.
Are you referring to your 2011?

I used to think all the people complaining about warped rotors were just ragging on their cars too hard. Then my babied '06 developed the same. And I ate through the first set of front pads in 25k miles... of purely easy highway miles! And badly worn at that (at a very weird angle, too). That's when I realized I had to shave the ears off replacement mopar pads,first time I'd ever seen it so bad. Did a number on my rotors, especially when they got wet. It's gotten way way way better since I started doing this, no more warping, and since I swapped out pads to aftermarket I don't need to shave anything to get a smooth proper fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I don't know where you live but are you on snow by any chance? Traction control uses the brakes, more so due to no limited slip differentials on many of our cars. Over the years it's not been uncommon for me to smell brakes after a snowy drive. It gets worse as your tires wear and TC operates more frequently, sometimes so unobtrusively that you're not even aware it's in operation (ie. the squiggly icon on the dash won't light up until TC *really* kicks in big time!)
I live in Rhode Island and yes we just had a decent amount of snow this past week and I drove on it. I also went drifting in the snow, I don't know if that would have anything to do with it or not lol. However, the streets I drive on are no longer covered in snow so i'm not sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Any other ideas guys? I'm getting it checked on monday, but I'd like to see if I can diagnose the problem beforehand.
 

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I don't know where you live but are you on snow by any chance? Traction control uses the brakes, more so due to no limited slip differentials on many of our cars. Over the years it's not been uncommon for me to smell brakes after a snowy drive. It gets worse as your tires wear and TC operates more frequently, sometimes so unobtrusively that you're not even aware it's in operation (ie. the squiggly icon on the dash won't light up until TC *really* kicks in big time!)
The fact that it seems to be the LR wheel supports that theory. The BLD generally applies the brake to that side more often to maintain traction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The fact that it seems to be the LR wheel supports that theory. The BLD generally applies the brake to that side more often to maintain traction.
im confused. So what exactly is the problem? And if the caliper piston is seizing, what kind of fix would that require price wise?
 

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im confused. So what exactly is the problem? And if the caliper piston is seizing, what kind of fix would that require price wise?
It's not an issue if it's the BLD (brake lock differential). The earlier gen cars had open differentials and the computer would apply the brake selectively to the wheel that was spinning to transfer the power to the other wheel so that it behaved like a limited slip differential.

If you were drifting, the car was applying one of the rear brakes to keep both spinning. This causes that side to heat up and possibly cook if you are doing it hard.

It's the normal design behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I took it to a mechanic and he found nothing. He took all four wheels off and checked everything. Nothing is leaking and nothing is sticking. He said everything looked great. Smell is still there though, but at least I know nothing is really wrong. Strange. It may have to do with the BLD, but there is absolutely no snow anymore so i'm not sure.
 

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Clean your wheels of brake dust.
 
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