wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Check our our full guide to cleaning and removing bad car smells, and you'll be one step closer to recapturing that long-lost new car smell. Even special measures, like smoking with the windows rolled down, doesn't really help that much. Then, turn the air conditioning back on to see if it returns. Can it produce an odor? Searching throught the net I’m convinced that the condensor runoff line is clogged like others have mentioned. But when you walk in the door, youre greeted by an unpleasant odor that does not give you the refreshed, relaxing feeling you were hoping to get from your homes AC! Usually, we don’t turn off our car’s AC until we have reached the destination or when the weather has adjusted itself to our comfort. Odors can be warnings of several imminent mechanical failures or worse. To get to the bottom of this stinky problem, you have to know the culprits that cause the car air conditioner smells musty or other unpleasant odors and the ways to get rid of them. If you find an odor coming from this area, open the front cover and remove the filter. 7. Many times when the foul odor comes from the air vents, the unpleasant smell happens as a result of turning on the air conditioner. Most of the reasons a car can smell have to do with some kind of mechanical breakdown or failure, but there are a lot of outside sources as well. Say hello to dirty sock syndrome.When stagnant water collects within your AC, it can cause a mildewy scent to permeate through the vents every time your system kicks on. Last Updated: February 3, 2020 8. Food and internal sources are most noticeable when the car is parked for a time with windows up. For burning or chemically smells, take your car to a dealer immediately. After a while it seems to go away. Here are seven of the top reasons your car stinks, and what you need to do about it. You may notice this distinct odor at one of the quarter panels, and a car wash pressure washer, to thoroughly spray out the suspect area, could help. Some amount of gas smell is okay, especially if your car is carbureted, but fuel injected vehicles typically shouldn’t smell strongly of gas. To create this article, 25 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. Gasoline odors, antifreeze, burning oil, wearing clutch and brake friction plates, and belt slipping odors can actually be life savers if they head off a breakdown on an expressway in heavy traffic. Mold and mildew growth is the most common cause of bad smells in your AC system. Condensation is a byproduct of the cooling method inside the air conditioner and, drained improperly, can create the conditions necessary for foul-smelling bacteria and mold to … The Tesla service center deemed AC smell as something that is not covered under warranty, so it's up to us the car owners to figure this out. You just need to find the AC drain pipe, stick the included tube up … A sour smell coming from an air conditioner is usually a sign that it is suffering from an issue that most likely involves its condensation removal system. Rain water got in my car. The actual nature of that problem will depend on … The best way to remove your cars interior ac odor is to use a cleaner that uses enzymes. To figure out if the smell relates directly to the air conditioner, you should turn off the air conditioner to see if the smell goes away. So before you take your car into your favorite mechanic to ask why it smells like death in there, make sure to check under the seats. It could be due to excess condensation on the coils, a clogged filter, a broken condensate pan, or mold in the ductwork. Is There a Cheaper Alternative to Air Conditioning? Your driveway will also thank you. As stated, exterior sources are more likely noticed when idling or driving slowly. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. To create this article, 25 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. How to remove food from under the front seat? The fix is simple enough: get rid of the leak. There are also several reasons why your car air conditioner emits a certain smell. When does it smell: All the time, when the engine is running, or on especially hot days. Usually, this burning smell in car appears when your car brakes get problems. Use your nose to find the odor source. What to Do If Your Car AC or Heater Smells If you’ve ever fired up your car and been hit with a nasty smell coming from the vents, you’re not alone. If you notice your air conditioning has a sweetish smell, this might be due to an antifreeze leakage and will need to be checked immediately as it could affect your car's radiator, pipe or coolant. Must, Mildew, and Mold; If there is excess humidity or moisture in the HVAC system, you could end up … AC Smells Like Dirty Socks. 2. How to eliminate car air conditioner smells. Don't ignore them! % of people told us that this article helped them. Also, if there is antifreeze on the floor inside your car, that is another good clue. References. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. It's normal for some smells from outside to get in the car, even with the doors and windows closed. If you have done these things and are still suffering from moldy, noxious smells when your air conditioner kicks on, then it might be time to call your local HVAC contractor. If you have not succeeded in finding the odor source, it could be road-kill under the chassis. A burnt clutch smells very similar to brake pads that got too hot, and it can be caused by riding the clutch. If unable to find the odor, pay a professional to give the interior a complete cleaning, including Scotch guarding the upholstery and carpet. Like the distinctive sound of a rattling timing chain, or clicking of a bad CV joint, bad car smells often indicate that there's something wrong somewhere in your car. Remember to make sure you change your antifreeze every 2 years! Of course, that sour and acidic smell coming from your A/C isn’t actual vinegar, like the type you buy at … Your brakes can also emit a car burning smell. Odor problems in your cars ac system are easy to remove with ac car interior cleaners. Leaky door or window seals can allow water in, so if you find wet seats or carpeting, then that’s probably the issue. Know when to turn off the AC. When you turn on your car’s air conditioner, you should receive a flow of cold air that cools the cabin. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. One other possible source of that mildew smell is the air conditioning system. Gas leak At times, the sour smell could be as a result of a gas leak. If you smell a strong gas odor coming from your car, chances are pretty good that something has gone very, very wrong. When does it smell: Usually when the vehicle is moving, and sometimes specifically when the brakes or clutch are applied. Most of the time when I first turn on the A/C in our 2008 Toyota Sienna, the air that blows out has a very distinct chemical - nasty smell. They grow and multiply in your car’s evaporator. This results in the “dirty sock” like odor you smell when you first start your car and turn on your air conditioner. A moldy or mildewy smell indicates that water is getting in your car and then pooling there. Why Components Fail and How to Identify Them, What to Do When the Gauges in Your Car Aren't Working, How to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Your Car, Using a Space Heater as an Electric Car Heater, Why Your Car Won't Start Even Though the Lights Work, How to Fix a Car Radio That Won't Turn Off, guide to removing cigarette and smoke smells from car, full guide to cleaning and removing bad car smells. Deep inside your air-conditioning system it’s dark and damp, and it’s exactly what bacteria likes to live and breed in. If you can't afford to fix it, bypass the leaky core and check out some car heater alternatives. This article has been viewed 157,445 times. Should I remove my cabin filter before I use a can of odor eliminator in my vehicle? wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Go a little while without using the air conditioning if you can, and see if the smell goes away. Associated smell: Sweet, candy, maple syrup. You will especially get smells from outside in your car if you are running heating or air conditioning in outside mode (the default mode - you can press the recirculate button to use air from inside the car instead of air from outside). Check the trunk often for misplaced clothes, especially sneakers and wet swimsuits, also fruit or other food items which can fall out of a grocery bag unnoticed. This is to help prevent animals and children from drinking what smells like a delicious treat. It shouldn’t have any discernible smell. When does it smell: After you get home from the grocery store and notice they shorted you a couple bananas. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Most of the time, these smells are a result of some damage in your car air conditioner. Just picture it: Its a hot North Carolina day, and all you want to do is come to the cool relief of your air-conditioned home. As air pumps past the evaporator and into the car, it picks up mold spores, which feed on the moisture. Some moisture in your air conditioner is common, but excessive moisture is a problem. However, the A/C evaporator is a very common cause of this particular odor. If you smell something cloyingly sweet in your car, and you’re pretty sure that you didn’t accidentally dump maple syrup down your heating vents, then you’re probably smelling antifreeze. The droplets of water gather on the evaporator before … This article has been viewed 157,445 times. Riding your brakes or leaving the parking brake on are both great ways to make your car smell like this. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 157,445 times. ”You don’t have to take your car to the mechanic in order to remove ac smells in your car. It can also mean that your clutch is slipping, either because it’s worn or because it needs to be adjusted. Cleaning the AC condenser is technically pretty easy. My car has the same problem but it smells like musty water or sour milk. THE CULPRIT: It's good, old-fashioned mildew growing in … Mold and Bacteria. The problem: You turn your AC on, and your home begins to smell more like a locker room than that new candle you just bought. The air conditioning can also be turned off and the fun run for a few minutes to evaporate the water resting on the coils of the unit. When does it smell: All the time, or after a rain. Leaky fuel lines, stuck injectors, bad fuel pressure regulators, and a host of other issues can all lead to fuel leaks or dump enough gas into the engine to cause a smell. Solution: In cases where car smells like burning oil appears in the vehicle above, we need to direct the car to the warranty center or repair so that experts can give the best advice. 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