Common Sources of That Weird Car Air Conditioner Smell

Common Sources of That Weird Car Air Conditioner Smell

27th Oct 2022

A car is supposed to be a luxury; something you can drive without worry (other than the other drivers on the road). Sometimes, you may start to notice some strange smells that make the experience unpleasant. Continue reading to learn more about the common sources of that weird car air conditioner smell.

A Sweet Smell

While a sweet smell may not be as bad as others, it means something is wrong with your car. If you smell something like maple syrup and notice a slimy film left on the windows, you could have an issue with your coolant system. The coolant is supposed to reduce the engine’s temperature, but sometimes, it can leak into the AC ducts. If you notice a sweet smell, get your car checked out. You may need to install a new heater core that stops coolant leaks from happening.

Chemical Smells

A highly unpleasant smell you should investigate immediately is a chemical odor. You’ll often smell this alongside moldy odors. Chemical smells result from the AC evaporator leaking refrigerant, the chemical that delivers the cool air from your AC system to the cabin. In addition to the foul smell, you may also notice no airflow from the vents while the blower fan from the AC system is running. Oil from the leaky refrigerant has trapped dust and dirt on the evaporator fins, restricting air from flowing out of the vents.

Musty and Mildewy Smells

Two incredibly common smells you can notice in your car are musty and mildewy odors. Debris buildup in the air intake vent typically causes these smells. It traps water and moisture on the AC evaporator and in the evaporator case, and it quickly breeds more mold, germs, and mildew that stink up your car. Thankfully, you can flush the evaporator through your car’s air intake with anti-bacterial spray and disinfectant.

In addition to the main evaporator system, debris or sludge could be clogging your drain hole. Cleaning this is important because, in addition to creating a moldy smell in your AC case, the clog can direct water to other parts of your car, like the passenger compartment. From there, it can potentially soak the carpet and encourage more mold growth.

Driving around with that weird car air conditioner smell isn’t fun, but you can get rid of it after identifying the source. You could take your car to a mechanic so they can work on it or do many of these fixes yourself. Depending on the vehicle, you may need to find some Toyota parts online, but that’s where Northwest Team Yota comes in. We have all the different Toyota parts you would ever need, so you can give your car the repair it needs!