Funky smell in your car? The solution is easier than you think.
Is there an unpleasant smell in your car, especially when the air conditioning or heating is on? If it smells musty, say, like a sweaty sock, car care experts at Consumer Reports say there are simple ways to deflate the air in your car.
“What you’re probably smelling is condensation coming from the evaporator inside your heating and cooling system. Basically, water collects in that area and, if left long enough, creates a musty smell,” explained Mike Monticello of Consumer Reports.
Most of the water is meant to exit your car through the evaporator drain under the vehicle. You’ve probably seen a small puddle under your car. But sometimes this water builds up in the evaporator, and if it stays there for a while, bacteria and mold can form, causing this smell.
The good news is that the fix probably won’t require a trip to the mechanic. It’s an easy fix that you can do yourself.
First, turn the fan down and open the windows. Get a sanitizer like Lysol or A/C sanitizer from an auto parts store and spray it into the air conditioning system’s air intake, also known as the plenum.
“The plenum is at the base of your windshield where your windshield wipers are located. This is where the air comes into your heating and cooling system,” Monticello said.
With the engine on and the interior fan running, spray plenty of cleaner on both sides of the plenum intake vent and the fan will suck it into the system, where it will kill bacteria and help get rid of that smell musty. Keep windows open to help ventilate the car.
If you have a cabin filter, remove it before spraying the disinfectant to help it move through the system. It might be time to change it too, because a dirty filter can prevent optimal airflow, and changing it yourself can save you time and money.
Another source of odors could be the sunroof. There are small drainage holes on the sides which sometimes clog, allowing water to seep into the roof liner or even drip onto the seats.
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