What’s That Smell?
Growth of bacteria and other microorganisms are usually the cause of an automotive air conditioning smell. There could be any number of causes of the smell that you could correct or improve by adjusting how you use your air-conditioning system. Here are some potential causes:
- Low air flow due to restricted cabin air filter
- Water drain for the air conditioning is restricted
- Running the system on re-circulation too long causing moisture to build up
- Running fan speed too low
5 Easy and Inexpensive Ways to Control Auto Air Conditioning Smell
- Have the cabin air filter checked and replaced as needed. Be aware that driving conditions will affect when it needs replacement. If you drive in dirty condition like dirt roads the manufacturer recommended intervals might not be frequent enough.
- When you park your car after running the air conditioning there will be water dripping on the ground. The amount will depend on humidity and the temperature of the air. There is no way to describe how much water is dripping out so the only thing you can do is verify that some is coming out. Restriction or plugging of the drain can cause water to run onto or under your vehicles carpet. The best way to check for this is to lift the floor mats on both sides and check for moisture. If you notice wet carpets or suspect a problem you will need to have our A/C mechanic check your systems drain.
- The recirculation button for your cars air conditioning system is designed to give extra cooling under extreme conditions for short periods of time. Running on recirculation too long will increase moisture development and could produce a smell.
- Keeping your air conditioning fan speed in a mid-range works best to keep air moving through the system. This additional air will reduce the chance of smell. If you get too cold add some heat to control the temperature, rather than reducing fan speed.
- Get in the habit of turning the air conditioning off, by pushing the A/C button, a few blocks before getting to work or home. Keep the fan speed in the mid to high range to allow the air to dry out the air conditioning evaporator before you park.
Advanced Auto Repair Shop Methods to Control Smell
If you follow the above methods and still have air conditioning smells, here are some additional steps you can have your repair shop take to control smells:
- They can add perfumes or short-term acting disinfectants into the air intake with the fan blowing.
- They can add stronger chemical reactants or antimicrobial agents to your system, which will require more labor to access and install the products deeper into your vehicles air conditioning system.
- Ask your shop to investigate if your vehicles manufacturer, like Ford and General Motors, have add-on electrical modules that keep the air conditioning fan running under certain conditions and for a short period of time after your car is shut off. This feature dries out the air conditioning system, which reduces the possibility of bacteria growth.
So if that rotten sock air conditioning smell is driving you crazy, and you have done everything you can to stop it, give us a call at Tune Tech Downtown 336-5315 or contact us online for an appointment to have one of the above mentioned advance procedures done.