My Drill Smells like Burning – (Know the reasons)

My Drill Smells like Burning – (Know the reasons)

Everyone loves DIY projects as they allow us to do great jobs on our own. When it comes to tricky deals, a drill is a must-have power tool for DIY enthusiasts. Why is this so?

A drill is a portable tool that gives the flexibility to do work anywhere around the place. You can expect them to hold you back in both small and bigger projects.

But just like many other electronic devices, you might have to face serious issues with the drills. Most people claim that my Drill smells like burning. Well, this is a common issue with almost all intensive users.

Do you know why Drill smells like burning? Unfortunately, there is no single major reason. Rather you might encounter many different issues with every long-term usage. The most obvious problems might be associated with the battery and motor of your Drill. But this is not the end of the world.

Many newbies ask why my drill smells like it’s burning but actually, the smell of burning can be a difficult problem to find the cause, but it is often easy to solve. Some causes are as simple as leaving your drill on for too long or accidentally touching metal with bare hands.

However, there are other causes that might not be so obvious at first glance. The most common reason for this issue is due to overheating and overloading the motor while using it. This can happen when drilling through hard surfaces like metal or stone without slowing down during use.

In this guide, we tried to highlight the reasons why Drill smells like burning, possible preventive measures, and handy solutions to deal with the problem. Let’s discuss this further!

Why Drill Smells Like Burning?

There is no single reason for the bad smells emitted by the drill. But we tried to figure out the major possible reasons. Let’s discuss why your Drill produces a smell during operation.


There’s a distinctive odor emitted when the Drill heats up high to start burning.

Warning signs of Drill Overheating

Knowing the warning signs that your Drill is overheating can save you from seriously damaging the machine motor. If you continue to run the Drill in this state, you will end up with serious cracking that can be a very expensive trip to be machinic.

Luckily, there is a number of warning signs that your drill is overheating. If you respond quickly, you’ll have the best chances of minimizing serious damages.

Hot Smell

When your Drill heats up to an upper limit, the very first obvious sign is the emission of an unusual odor which is also known as “Hot Smell.” You should never ignore this bad sign.

Hot Hood

When the Drill is working, you can expect the drill’s outer body surface to emit heat and feel warm to the touch. This is completely normal, but if it feels extremely hot that you feel your hands burning on touching it, then it could be the cause of concern.

Steam Emission

Steam blowing out from underneath the drill hood is a sure sign that your Drill is overheated. When it escapes, you will see it coming from the front and sides of the ventilation area of the Drill.

Why your Drill gets Overheated?

Most people ask for the reasons for Drill overheating. Here you’ll find them all.

Excessive Usage: As the motor generates heat, so the Drill becomes very hot when it is overworked.

▶ Dull Drill Bit: Sometimes, the drill bits get dull, and you need to put extra pressure to do the trick. So, the Drill reaches an overheated level.

▶ Faulty Brushes: On the brushed motor, the brushes can wear down on continuous usage and cause lots of friction when coming in contact with the motor. This overheating issue caused by brushes can be overcome by using a brushless motor power drill.

▶ Blocked Air Vents: This major reason for Drill overheating is that something is blocking the air vents from properly dissipating the excessive heat.

▶ Age of Drill: The older the Drill, the more likely it is to lose its functionality, which results in direct overheating of the motor.

▶ Drill’s Brand: Some brands efficiently design the Drill to speedily dissipate heat, whilst others can make your Drill overheated on longer usage.

How do you Fix an Overheated Drill?

When your Drill becomes overheated, and it starts producing smells like burning, then it’s time to prevent your Drill from overheating. Let’s discuss what efforts you can make to save your Drill.

▶ The very first thing you need to do is to apply consistent pressure, which saves the Drill from getting overheated.

▶ Never attempt to apply too low pressure as it can dull the drill bits.

▶ Keep the Drill on the slower speed as the fast speed can cause overheating if used for an extended period of time.

▶ The most recommended way to ensure that the Drill won’t overheat is the use of cutting oil. It acts as a lubricant to reduce the heat buildups and friction for the Drill. The good thing about this method is that it also increases the lifespan of your drill bit.

Following cutting, oils have proved excellent in this regard.

  1. Gels or pasters
  2. Aerosols
  3. Compressed Air
  4. Carbon Dioxide Coolants
  5. Synthetic or semi-synthetic liquids
  6. Minerals
  7. Drill Battery Shorting

Is it normal for a Drill to Smoke?

NO! If your Drill is both smoky and smelly, be very careful. The battery on your cordless Drill has overheated or shorted out, which can cause serious hazards to you. Mostly, the cordless drills use Lithium-ion batteries, and only a few models come with nickel-cadmium batteries. Keep in mind that drill battery shorting can result in rupturing, swelling, explosion, and even fire. But why drill battery short circuits?

Reasons of Drill Battery Short-Circuiting

There are plenty of reasons for drill battery shorting. You can only take precautionary measures when you know what’s going on. There’re the following possible reasons for battery shorting.

Improper Placing

The most common reason for drill battery shorting is that you might haven’t placed it properly at the right location. Sometimes, moisture also makes it begin to smoke and smell.

Battery End Issues

Another big reason for short circuits is that the positive and negative terminals tend to come in direct contact. It also occurs when exposed terminals come in contact with any metal object. Or poor wiring can also result in a smelly shortened battery. 

Accidental Short Circuits

Sometimes, the battery shortening takes place due to an accidental-reasons such as Drill dropping at some wrong place.

Possible Protective Measures

On the clear ground, the short circuit conditions can cause problems when there’s insufficient protection within the battery. To save yourself from any hassle, you should take the following protective measures.

  • The very first thing you need to do is to move the Drill and battery away from flammable things.
  • In case of accidental short circuits, don’t panic. The short glancing blow of the drill battery can be damaging for the battery, but it might not cause any deadly harm to the surrounding.
  • The average lifespan of a cordless drill battery is 3-5 years or even more. So, if you have a battery older than 7-10 years, then properly dispose of or recycle the battery and move on to something new.
  • Always test the drill battery with a multimeter before taking it to work. In actuality, a multimeter measures the battery’s functioning and shows you the numerical value associated with the functions of the battery.

How to Use Multimeter to Test your Drill Battery?

You need to follow the following steps to properly test the drill battery with a multimeter.

  1. First of all, make sure that the multimeter is working properly.
  2. Charge the battery according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  3. Then apply the probes to the negative and positive terminals of the battery.
  4. Now you will get a specific voltage reading on the multimeter. Let’s suppose you have 18 volts battery on your frill. There must be 19 volts on the multimeter to ensure the proper functioning of the battery.
  5. If your battery shows a reading below the listed battery voltage, then you consider replacing the battery.
  6. Faulty Drill Parts

Another reason the Drill smells like burning might be the problems associated with the drill parts. Let’s look at what parts can produce a burning smell.

Melted Plastic Housing

On the clear ground, the melted plastic housing of the Drill produces a bad smell which you should never ignore. We recommend you to stop applying pressure when you experience any kind of even a mild smell as otherwise, you might end up with a melted drill body.

Smoky Rubberized Parts

If you continue to ignore the smell produced by the Drill, then the rubberized the Drill will start burning. This will not only produce smoke but also imparts deadly damage to the Drill and the person who is using it.

Dull Drill Bits

This is also an obvious reason why Drill smells like burning. If the drill bit on your Drill is dull or broken, it will demand you to apply more pressure to produce a hole. And when more pressure is applied to produce a hole, your Drill will start producing bad smells.

Possible Solutions

You can take the following protective measures to do the right trick for your work.

  • When Drill starts producing smell, immediately stop it and try to find the possible faults.
  • If you have been using the Drill for hours, stop the Drill and let it rest for few minutes before you use it again.
  • Cheaper models are more prone to equip you with faulty parts upon continuous usage. So, if you want to use the Drill very often, try to spend on some high-end models.

Is it Normal for a Dewalt Drill to Spark?

Most users claim that the Dewalt Drill smells like burning. But is it normal for the Dewalt drill to spark? The short answer to this question is “YES.”

The drills that use brushes to energize windings can readily produce sparks. As the Dewalt drill also uses brushes, so you can experience sparks very often. But why is this so? As the armature rotates, the commutator receives electricity via brushes, and the sparks fly off the brushes.

The number of sparks directly indicates the condition of the brushes. Alright, then how to overcome sparking on Dewalt Drill? Well, If your Drill is sparking significantly, then replace the brushes and clean the armature before it gets too late.

Wrapping it Up

A drill is the need of every DIY project geek. As it allows us to quickly get the job done, so users are finding it handy for their small- and large-scale projects.

To answer all your questions and to properly guide you on how to keep safe your Drill even on excessive usage, we summarized the points from our experience that will surely help you to do the right trick. Keep your Drill accurate to perform better. 

Bahram Shahab
Bahram here! A certified Electrical Engineer who knows his way around using power tools like a professional. My journey of using these robust tools started back when I graduated. Since then, I have finished almost a dozen DIY woodworking jobs. Apart from that, I have developed this habit of jotting down my personal experience about using a specific tool. So, I write on them to help the community in the best possible way.