Q: I've noticed that my Mazda produces a burning smell when I stop in traffic. When driving along it seems fine, but every time I stop at a junction, or get held up in traffic, I notice a strange oily smell. And idea what it could be? Clare Long
A: It sounds as if your clutch is either in need of adjustment or replacement. The fact that the smell only appears when the car is stationary suggests the problem occurs when you have your foot on the clutch. The best advice is to take your car to a garage as soon as possible, to get it examined. If the clutch is in poor shape it could fail and leave you stranded.
Signs that a clutch may be towards the end of its life include a rapid change in the position of the biting point, the pedal becoming very stiff, weak or difficult to operate smoothly; a loss of driving performance as well as a strange burning smell.