Why does my car smell weird?

By Product Expert | Posted in Community, Tips and Tricks on Friday, February 8th, 2019 at 5:08 pm
A man and woman plug their nose due to a bad smell in a vehicle interior.

Bad Car Smells That Mean Trouble

If you smell something unpleasant in your car, don’t ignore it; it usually means there’s a larger issue at hand. Hanging up one of those little trees from the mirror might help you avoid the truth for a while, but eventually you’re going to need to face it. Plus, it could even be a health or safety hazard. Read on to find out our recommended course of action for various unwelcome odors.

Why does my car smell musty?

A musty smell probably means mold or mildew has formed in the depths of your air-conditioner. To cure this, run your fan on high without AC for a mile or so to dry out the system. However, if the odor recurs, it may be a clog in the drain tube or a leak into the interior.

Why does my car smell like rotten eggs when I accelerate?

If your car smells like sulfur, or rotten eggs, it’s likely that you’re going to need professional service. The smell of sulfur usually means there’s a problem with your catalytic converter. After the engine cools, the converter will have to be cut on both ends, and then replaced with a new one.

Other causes of this smell include a hot engine or broken fuel pressure regulators. If your fuel pressure regulator is broken, you’re going to need to replace your fuel filter.

Why do I smell exhaust inside my car?

If you smell exhaust, it might be time to freak out, because the carbon monoxide that exhaust consists of is very toxic for human beings. Get the car checked by a professional immediately. It’s possible there’s a hole in your muffler, tailpipe, or other part of your vehicle. It could also be leaking into the car through a worn part of the interior. Once again, this situation is extremely dangerous and you should get things checked out immediately.

Colorful car cleaning supplies on a white background.How do I get rid of a bad smell in my car?

If you’ve determined the smell is not related to a mechanical malfunction but instead the vehicle just smells bad, you probably want to make it smell better.

First, make sure you get rid of any spilled or neglected foodstuffs, especially fruits. This could particularly be an issue if you’ve been cooking food in your car. If there’s stubborn residue or stains on your carpet, sprinkle baking soda on it. Leave that on for a few hours, and then vacuum it up.

If you’ve removed everything that smells bad, try putting something that has a strong positive odor, such as vanilla or a container of ground coffee, in the vehicle. A chunk of grilling charcoal left in the car for a couple days can also absorb a lot of the ambient smell. We don’t recommend driving around with a lit candle on the dash, though.

If it still smells bad, it’s good to start shampooing your interior regularly. Remove your floor mats, mix detergent and water, and scrub them. If this still doesn’t work, you can pick up car upholstery shampoos from an auto shop or take the vehicle in to be cleaned.

How do I get rid of the smell of cigarettes?

If your car won’t stop smelling like cigarette smoke, open your hood and spray air deodorizer into the intake valve. Cigarette smoke enters the car’s duct system, so you have to flush it out of there if you want the odor permanently eliminated.

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