Here is How to Keep Your Car A/C Vents from Smelling Bad

Article by Christian A., on March 20, 2017

It’s a hot day outside and you’re ready to go the beach with your family. You get in the car, only to realize that the air from your A/C system has a disgusting odor.

It only really releases this foul odor after you’ve had your car for quite some time. Very unpleasant, isn’t it? Your car’s air conditioning system shouldn’t have an awful smell once you turn it on.

What you’re supposed to experience once you turn on this system is an immediate flow of cold air that increasingly cools the whole vehicle. Ultimately, if you start to notice unpleasant odors then there is definitely a problem there. Don’t let anyone else tell you differently. The most common cause is mildew in the vents and the solution is to install a new air filter.

Mildew: The number one culprit

You’re probably familiar with how smelly dirty socks are, right? If that’s exactly how the air inside your car is starting to smell, then what you have to get rid of is mildew. Mildew is generally caused by setting your air-conditioning unit on recirculate mode and not putting it on fan for a minute or two before you kill the engine.

Mildew is usually found in the evaporator and the condenser. This is because these places are one of the moistest areas for bacteria to thrive in. But fret not, for this doesn’t pose any serious threats to our health.

Additionally, you would want to have your cabin filter checked. The cabin filter has the same job as the car’s air filter, but the difference is that it is responsible for filtering the air and making sure none of the polluted and smelly air goes into the cabin. Naturally, the filter becomes clogged and filled with dirt, dust, and pollen which leads to mold and mildew.


Before your car starts to smell, remember some of these prevention tips:

1. Make it a habit to switch between fresh air and recirculated air. This helps dry out the interior of your car’s heating, ventilation, and air condition or the HVAC system.

2. Before you turn the engine off, make sure to turn on the fan without the air conditioning for at least two minutes (for the same reason as above).

3. Ask a professional to spray disinfectant in your air conditioning system.

If you need assistance inspecting or repairing your air conditioning system, contact a certified technician.

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Topics: technology



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