Car Air Conditioning Smells – How to Fix and Prevent

Car air conditioning smells can be annoying and even embarrassing. Most cars have air conditioning fitted as standard now but if not used correctly the system can develop into car air conditioning smells in the cabin. Not only is the smell uncomfortable but it can also a breeding ground for nasty bacteria which thrive on the damp conditions but which can make you and your passengers unwell.

What Causes Car Air Conditioning Smells?

Air conditioning systems absorb moisture from the atmosphere as hot air is blown over the evaporator coils in your air conditioning system. You might have seen a puddle of clear water under your car in the summer when you’ve been driving. That puddle is water which has been removed from the humid air in the cabin (it’s also why air conditioning can help to get rid of compensation and damp in your car).

This damp environment is a great breeding ground for bacteria especially as the cabin of your car starts to warm up once you’ve got out of it. Those bacteria secrete some nasty smells which in turn can turn your pride and joy into a smelly egg machine.

Getting Rid of Car Air Conditioning Smells

If you’ve already got the smell, there is something you can do about it. Wurth produces professional air conditioning disinfectant which is used by the motor trade as well as by the public, the spray comes with a long tube which you push down the system in various places, spraying as you go. It kills that nasty bacteria and provides a fresh smell.

Some garages will charge you £100+ for this service, so at £20 per can it’s well worth doing yourself and is very easy to do. Just make sure you follow the instructions properly.

Preventing Car Air Conditioning Smells in the Future

There are a number of ways in which you can prevent your car air conditioning from smelling in the future. The first is to ensure that you use the the A/C at least once a week and every week of the year, including during the winter.

You should also make sure that you have the re-circulation valve set for fresh air in the winter. This will allow fresh air into the cabin and expel damp air.

Finally, make sure that you have your vehicle serviced. It’s recommended that you have the pollen filter on your vehicle replaced once a year. The pollen filter will prevent particles from entering the air conditioning system and will also help protect people who are sensitive to pollen – including hay-fever sufferers – from irritants in the atmosphere.


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