Troubleshooting a Strange Car Air Conditioner Smell

The most common source of a car air conditioner smell is pollutants or mildew that has formed inside your AC filters. You might notice that in the summer, parked cars with the air conditioner turned on High will begin to leak water onto the cement. This same moisture from the air conditioner sometimes gets left inside the car’s system and can form mildew. The smell is a strong telling of the presence of the buildup of mildew and other pollutants in your car’s air conditioning system.

Turn Air Conditioner Setting to Low

Because the moisture buildup inside the cooling system produces such odors when turned on High, try turning the setting to Low so that your air conditioner does not produce as much moisture. If the day is hot and you need to use the air conditioner at High, remember to turn it back down to Low and run it for a while so that your system has some time to dry off before you turn the car off for good.

Change Air Filters

When you take your car in for your next oil change, ask them to change the air filters inside your car. Filters can have a buildup of dirt, water, dust mites and pollutants that can circulate in your car when you turn on the air conditioner. It’s always good to remember to change your filters at its recommended change times.

Prevent Moisture from Entering

Check on your dashboard for the knob or button that lets air in from outside or lets air circulate inside your car. Letting air in from outside on a humid day or even a rainy day can result in water getting inside your car through the windshield vent area. The same is true for car washes. If you had forgotten that you had opened the vents to let outside air in, then ran your car through the car wash or even sprayed down the car yourself outside your garage, you may have just let gallons of water seep through to your car via the open vents.

How to Eliminate Bad Odor

There are a couple of things you can try to get rid of bad smell from your car’s air conditioning system. The simplest solution is to open your vents and flush out your system on a good dry day. Keeping your filters dry and preventing moisture from forming is the simplest method there is.

Next, you can try spraying Lysol spray into the vents outside your car. Open up your vents and turn on your air conditioner on low and take your car for a spin until the Lysol wetness has been flush through your system. There is also a specialized air purifying spray to be used on car’s air conditioners sold at your local car care stores. Spray into the outside vents and directly into the interior air conditioner vents.