5 Common Causes of an Odor in Car Vents

the front of a white car

If there is an odor in a car vent, it can be caused by many things. Over time the odor could cause headaches and nausea. There are ways you can get rid of odor in car vents once you can identify what is causing the odor. The information contained in this article will help you to identify the common causes of an odor in car vents.

1. Tobacco Smoke

If you or anyone else smokes in the car you know how much it lingers inside the leather and upholstery of the vehicle. Even when you stop smoking the car will retain the smell. You can cover it up all you want and have your professionally cleaned but that will not keep the smell at bay. This is because the tobacco smoke has embedded itself inside the vents of the car. Whenever you run cool or hot air it recycles the air in the car through the vents. Once you run the heat again it warms the plastic in the vents and the odor will be back. You can take a dryer sheet and secure it inside the vent. It will act as a filter for the tobacco smell as it allows the car smell fresh.

2. Animals

Small animals such as mice and squirrels will often seek refuge from storms in the body of your car. There are small areas under the car where they can easily hide. If one of these small animals dies in these crevices or leaves fur or scat behind it can cause an odor in car vents. Mix 2 cups of water with 1/2 cup of vinegar and wipe down the inside of the vents and then spray the solution inside as well. You should also take the car to a car wash that can clean the undercarriage.

3. Dirt

As you drive your vehicle around you'll attract dust inside the vents. Over time this accumulation of dust will lead to an odor in car vents that's easily remedied. Dust isn't only regular dirt from outside but also includes pet dander, flakes of skin and other biological waste. The easy solution is to reverse suction on a vacuum cleaner and blow the dust out of the vents. Clean the vent interior with water and vinegar.

4. Skunk

Driving through the stench of a skunk can embed the scent into the vents. This is even more possible if you happen to be the one to have hit the skunk. The musk they excrete can embed itself in the plastic. Once heat (either by car heat or the sun heating the car) is introduced the smell will appear again. To a bucket of warm water you will want to add a cup of dry mustard and mix it until it is dissolved. Use a rag to wipe down the tires of the car, the undercarriage and the vents.

5. Mold

If the vents are used little and moisture is allowed to accumulate mold can easily form. To clean this use the same technique used to remove animal smells.