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I don't generally warm up my car by letting is sit and idle, but it was about 1°F this morning and I have a very short drive to work so I let it run for about 10 minutes. When my daughter and I got in my car it wreaked horribly of burning rubber and it was pouring smoke out of the exhaust. The temp gauge read normal, but it was still idling at 1500 rpms. I blipped the throttle and the revs immediately dropped to normal warm engine speed. I am due for oil and a filter (10,000 miles), but I'm not sure that would have anything to do with it. Any insight?
 

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The smoke out of the exhaust is normal at idle when it's cold. When it's 0°C (32°F) or less, there's a lot of smoke coming out of the exhaust after 1 minute or so. The car is trying to heat up as fast as it can. The car is changing the mixture of petrol with oxygen.

When it's cold, I would suggest you start the car and wait until the RPM drop at ~1k. When you start the car and it's very cold, the RPM will stay at ~1500 to ~2000 RPM for 30-60 seconds. Once the RPM drop, you are good to go.

I would also suggest to make sure you have the engine cover on - the car will heat up way faster. If you don't, you can buy one for for about 60$ US.

About the smell, I have no input. Maybe your cabin filter is due also and it smell ? One thing to remember, when it's cold, you can't smell stuff BUT the smell is there. When the smell reach the cabin, the temperature is hot, so you can actually smell the odor. The air is coming from the outside.
 

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I don't generally warm up my car by letting is sit and idle, but it was about 1°F this morning and I have a very short drive to work so I let it run for about 10 minutes. When my daughter and I got in my car it wreaked horribly of burning rubber and it was pouring smoke out of the exhaust. The temp gauge read normal, but it was still idling at 1500 rpms. I blipped the throttle and the revs immediately dropped to normal warm engine speed. I am due for oil and a filter (10,000 miles), but I'm not sure that would have anything to do with it. Any insight?
Perhaps you could expand a little more on the situation. What did the exhaust look/smell like? Did the interior smell like burning rubber or perhaps burning oil?

I only ask because in my experience, burning rubber almost always means a belt somewhere is overloaded...whether it was a serpentine belt or a component in the HVAC system. I assume you drove to work shortly thereafter...did you notice anything different?

Have you pulled the dipstick recently to check the oil level or more importantly the state of the oil?
 

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Perhaps you could expand a little more on the situation. What did the exhaust look/smell like? Did the interior smell like burning rubber or perhaps burning oil?

I only ask because in my experience, burning rubber almost always means a belt somewhere is overloaded...whether it was a serpentine belt or a component in the HVAC system. I assume you drove to work shortly thereafter...did you notice anything different?

Have you pulled the dipstick recently to check the oil level or more importantly the state of the oil?
The smoke was thick and a white/light gray color. The smell was far more apparent inside the vehicle. I did have the blower on 4 (high). I haven't checked my oil level, but I've never had a problem with any type of loss as far as that goes. The smell quickly went away as I drove down the road. Like within a half mile.
 

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The smoke was thick and a white/light gray color. The smell was far more apparent inside the vehicle. I did have the blower on 4 (high). I haven't checked my oil level, but I've never had a problem with any type of loss as far as that goes. The smell quickly went away as I drove down the road. Like within a half mile.
My best guess would be an HVAC component got a little hot if that's the case. While i don't think it's burning oil, those small slow leaks can really sneak up on you.

If the texture and level of the oil look fine on the dipstick and you can watch the serpentine belts moving rather freely then it may not be anything to worry about.

Obviously, though, there is a bigger issue if it ends up happening again but it's likely something that will be covered by the powertrain warranty.
 

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Strange. Had same thing happen to me couple days ago. Was around 2 outside. Started car while getting ready. Ran less than 10 minutes. When I got in had a strong rubber burning smell. Noticed nothing abnormal. Smell went away after I started driving to work. I do same thing every morning and has not happened before or since. Idle was not high.
 

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I don't generally warm up my car by letting is sit and idle, but it was about 1°F this morning and I have a very short drive to work so I let it run for about 10 minutes. When my daughter and I got in my car it wreaked horribly of burning rubber and it was pouring smoke out of the exhaust. The temp gauge read normal, but it was still idling at 1500 rpms. I blipped the throttle and the revs immediately dropped to normal warm engine speed. I am due for oil and a filter (10,000 miles), but I'm not sure that would have anything to do with it. Any insight?
Strange. Had same thing happen to me couple days ago. Was around 2 outside. Started car while getting ready. Ran less than 10 minutes. When I got in had a strong rubber burning smell. Noticed nothing abnormal. Smell went away after I started driving to work. I do same thing every morning and has not happened before or since. Idle was not high.
Hi guys,

Have the smell & smoke returned since that day? Please let me know what your current mileage is, and I'll look into this.

Meagan
 

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Hi guys,

Have the smell & smoke returned since that day? Please let me know what your current mileage is, and I'll look into this.

Meagan
Yeah one day last week a couple days after my oil change. The smell was nearly as strong though. It was another super cold morning. Mileage is 45,2xx
 

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Yeah one day last week a couple days after my oil change. The smell was nearly as strong though. It was another super cold morning. Mileage is 45,2xx
Thanks for following up!

Go ahead and send me a private message with your VIN, best daytime phone number, full name, and dealer name/location. I want to dig a little deeper.

Meagan
 

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Thanks Meagan. I'll get that to you in a bit. It did happen again yesterday. The smell is definitely coming from the exhaust. I did pop the hood and there was no smell coming from under there.
 

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I have had the same thing happen a couple of times. Never really paid it no mind. Also on 2 different mornings while in the single digits when I would let the car warm up the idle did not kick down until I burped the throttle.
 

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I have had the same thing happen a couple of times. Never really paid it no mind. Also on 2 different mornings while in the single digits when I would let the car warm up the idle did not kick down until I burped the throttle.
When your engine is idling in cold condition, there's almost no heat created when it's -15°C or less. When it's that cold, you only need to wait until the RPM drop to 1k and then you are ready to drive. The engine will get warm very fast only if you drive it. This will harm way less your engine.
 

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I agree. I always wait for the idle to kick down. I just find it odd that after 12-15 minutes it still is idling at about 1250 rpm. The car is blowing heat and as soon as you touch the throttle it drops to about 750 rpm. Most mornings it stays at high idle for about 30 seconds than drops to about 1000 rpm and stays there until it is warm than drops again to the 750 rpm range.
 

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Thanks Meagan. I'll get that to you in a bit. It did happen again yesterday. The smell is definitely coming from the exhaust. I did pop the hood and there was no smell coming from under there.
I'll keep an eye out. :)

Meagan
 

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Hmm I had this happen for the first time on sunday, I could smell it in the engine bay but it went away and I couldn't find the source of anything burning. It was -18 the morning after a snowstorm.
 

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Hmm I had this happen for the first time on sunday, I could smell it in the engine bay but it went away and I couldn't find the source of anything burning. It was -18 the morning after a snowstorm.
Thanks for informing, LFrench. What is the year and current odometer reading on your Focus? Send that over, along with your preferred dealer; I'll look into this.

Nikki
Ford Service CA
 

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I just had this happen today in my 2016 focus. I could not find anything visibly wrong. Blower was on 4 and defrost running. Car idled about 10 mins. Was about 7 degrees outside. Drove normal and temp gauge remained where it always is.
 
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