Why Do My Car Vents Stink?

If you’ve ever caught a foul odor coming from your vehicle’s air vents, you know that it can be difficult to ignore. With stinky vents and temperatures rising, you’re going to need to freshen up your car’s air conditioning system. In order to combat the bad smell, you’ll need to know how it is formed and how to avoid it. 


The two most common explanations for bad car A/C odors are a dirty air filter and moisture or mildew buildup in the air conditioning system. Odors can simply develop from a clogged air filter. However, the most common culprit is when drivers neglect their A/C system so poorly that mold builds up.

Negative Effects of Mildew

  • Foul Odors - Not only can it be annoying to smell, but it can make your passengers suffer too. The longer you let the smell stick around, the smell will worsen.
  • Rapid Growth - If mold exists in your car air conditioning system, it will grow and spread. Soon enough, it can get into your car carpets and upholstery and may cause the following health concerns. You may experience congestion, inflamed throat, wheezing, and eye irritation. If you suffer from asthma or sensitivities to allergens, please have it fixed immediately.

Where Does the Mold Come From

Your vehicle’s A/C system is intended to excess moisture from the air. When something goes wrong with the water drainage part of the system, it can leave excess moisture sitting inside your car. When this happens, mold is susceptible to develop. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t notice until they catch the stench.

How To Get Rid of Smelly Air Conditioning

If the problem is with the air filter, changing it would be the simplest fix. Otherwise, the other thing you should do is try to remove the extra moisture. Try to air out your car by leaving the doors and windows open. Next, you can go in with an anti-bacterial cleaner to eliminate mold growth. You will need to reach the evaporator.


If you are experiencing unusual smells inside your vehicle, we recommend that you bring your car to our auto service shop to have your air conditioning system inspected and serviced. Our experienced technicians can address the problem and find the exact source. If you are looking for exceptional car A/C service and repairs, look no further than Willy’s Transmission & Air Conditioning.

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