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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just started using the A.C. this week... and I'm not sure, but while driving to work I thought it smelled like exhaust a little. It just didn't smell right... I’m not sure if it was me or what... but I can swear it had an exhaust smell to it. Anyone else come across something like this?
 

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TheGymKid said:
I just started using the A.C. this week... and I'm not sure, but while driving to work I thought it smelled like exhaust a little. It just didn't smell right... I’m not sure if it was me or what... but I can swear it had an exhaust smell to it. Anyone else come across something like this?
TGK-

When you say you "just started using the A.C." I assume you manually shut it down and do not use AUTO mode in the winter. Am I correct?

It is not exhaust fumes. The air intakes for the HVAC unit are the same regardless of whether you have the A/C turned on or not.

Prior to having cars with automatic climate systems I would get a "unique" smell from the A/C vents during the first few hours of manual operation. I always attributed this to surface rust and dust on the evaporator core. I had assumed the condensing water would move the microscopic particles into the airstream, and that is what I was smelling. Whether that is what really caused it I don't know. What I do know is that it always disappeared after a few hours.

The smell should go away after a few hours. If not your may have a partially blocked condensate drain which is causing condensed water to pool in the HVAC unit, resulting in a musty smell. Make sure water is dripping from underneath the car when the A/c is running.

-njjoe
 

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Do you get this smell when you're a/c cabin air and outside air? One or the other? Both?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for responding.


Yes, I don't use the Auto during the winter.

I started a new job an hour away, and during this drive, the A.C. puts out this smell... like exhaust ( which I'm thankful you said it isn't).

If I turn off the A.C. all together, no smell.

If I put it on circulate in the car, I don't think it is bad at all... just when it is bringing air from outside in.

I feel a little crazy and will need to drive someone around to get a 2nd opinion. But this is an issue... it gets to the point where it is really bad and I have to shut it off and crack a window for some fresh air.

It's been like this for at least a week... thinking it would go away since i haven't used it all winter. but it isn't. :(
 

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Re: Re: Exhaust smell

njjoe said:
When you say you "just started using the A.C." I assume you manually shut it down and do not use AUTO mode in the winter. Am I correct? -njjoe
Somewhat off topic but you can still use AUTO with the AC off. The system will still work as advertised just without the aid of the AC.


GymKid are you sure it doesn't smell kind of stale or a musty smell?
 

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It seems you are overlooking the most easy way to tell. Start the car outside, warm up to operating temp (maybe drive a bit and then pull over in a lot somewhere).

With AC off (but fan on) pop open the hood and take a whiff (outside the car). Turn AC on, take another whiff. If it smells different outside the car, then maybe your compressor is going south. Since you do not smell it with recirculate, its not the fan that is making the odor.

I'm with the rest of the responses above - it is most likely something like mold on your evaporator unit. Does your AC drip water onto the ground after you park the car? If it doesn't the drain is clogged and thats what is causing the moisture to build up (and encourage mold and mildew to grow in there).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Eric L. said:
It seems you are overlooking the most easy way to tell. Start the car outside, warm up to operating temp (maybe drive a bit and then pull over in a lot somewhere).

With AC off (but fan on) pop open the hood and take a whiff (outside the car). Turn AC on, take another whiff. If it smells different outside the car, then maybe your compressor is going south. Since you do not smell it with recirculate, its not the fan that is making the odor.

I'm with the rest of the responses above - it is most likely something like mold on your evaporator unit. Does your AC drip water onto the ground after you park the car? If it doesn't the drain is clogged and thats what is causing the moisture to build up (and encourage mold and mildew to grow in there).
Thanks again for the responses everyone.

I'll do some testing on my way home from work today... esp look for the water drip after I pull into the driveway. I'll gather need info and report back later on.

By the way... it could be mold, I've never smelled it before to know. I just know that it is a little sickening to smell... but not overwhelming like oh my god what's that.

thanks again...
 
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