5 reasons why your car air conditioning smells

Tuesday 10th November 2020

air conditioning smells reasons

Why does my car air conditioning smell?

Does your air conditioning smell musty? Or perhaps it’s blowing out an unpleasant smell when you turn it on? As well as being inconvenient and leading you to feel uncomfortable, smelly car AC systems can sometimes indicate a more serious problem.

Below, we highlight the most common reasons why your car air conditioning might smell:

  1. Lack of use – the most common cause of smelly car air conditioning is from a lack of use. This can cause dirt and bacteria build up in the system, forming and growing in the air vents – and leading to a musty smell. This can often be solved by an anti-bacterial clean of your car’s air conditioning filters – or an air conditioning clean.
  2. Air conditioning recharge is needed – your air conditioning may smell in your vehicle if you need your air conditioning recharged. This involves removing the old refrigerant gas from the system, and replacing it with new refrigerant. Learn more about air conditioning recharge from our guide.
  3. Leak – a leak from a part of the engine or another component of your vehicle could cause unwanted fluids to seep into the car’s AC system. In this instance, not only would your air conditioning be giving out unfavourable smells – but it’s recommended that you have your car inspected at your nearest garage to prevent further damage.
  4. Antifreeze/engine coolant – is your car air conditioning smelling sweet? If so, you need to have your system checked immediately. This sweet smell is commonly the cause of toxic liquid ethylene glycol or antifreeze – which is a result of a leak in the cooling system.
  5. Dirty air filters – your car’s air conditioning system may also smell due to, simply, needing to clean the air filters. You may have been using your air conditioning regularly throughout the year – but dirt and bacteria can still build up in the air vents. You can either replace your air conditioning filter with a new one, or book in for an air conditioning clean.

How to prevent car air conditioning smells

Using air con all year round

One of the best ways to prevent air conditioning smells is ensuring you use your air conditioning regularly. This includes in winter, too. It’s easy to see why people wouldn’t want to use air conditioning in winter, but by not running it, you’re more likely to run into costs when your air conditioning is not as effective as you’d like it to be in the summer.

Find out more car air conditioning tips from our handy guide.

Book in for your air conditioning recharge now at your local Formula One Autocentres. For more information, get in touch with our team of experts today.

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