6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Get Rid of That Musty Car Smell
(ABC 6 News) – If your car has a funky smell, here are some easy ways to de-funkify your car’s air!
Does the air coming out of your vents now smell a little off? Unless you left your teenager’s sports uniform in the car, Consumer Reports says you probably don’t have to sniff around to find the culprit.
“What you’re probably smelling is from the condensation that comes from the evaporator inside your heating and cooling system,” says Consumer Reports’ Mike Monticello. “Basically, water collects in that area and, if it sits long enough, creates the musty smell.”
Most of the water is meant to exit your car through the evaporator drain under the vehicle. You’ve probably seen a small puddle of water under your car.
But sometimes that water collects in the evaporator, and if it sits in there for a while, bacteria and mold can form causing THAT smell!
Here’s the good news: The solution likely won’t require a trip to the mechanic. This is an easy fix you can do yourself!!
First, turn the fan to the low setting and open up the windows. Get a disinfectant like Lysol or an AC disinfectant from the auto parts store and spray it into the climate system’s air intake, also known as the plenum.
“The plenum can be found at the base of your windshield where your wipers are located,” says Monticello. “That’s where the air comes from that goes into your heating and cooling system.”
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 pull it into the system, where it will kill the bacteria and help get rid of that musty odor. Keep the windows open to allow air out of the car.
If you have a cabin filter, remove it before spraying the disinfectant to help it move through the system. It might be a good time to change it, too, because a dirty filter can prevent optimal airflow, and changing it yourself can save you money and time!