Car Air Conditioner Smells Musty: Causes and Solutions

Car Air Conditioner Smells Musty: Causes and Solutions

Air conditioning is the saving solution when there is roaring heat outside-not only at home or in the office but also in the car. The air conditioning system of a vehicle ensures that the interior is cooled by the supplied fresh air.  In this process, the air is also cleaned directly, so car air conditioner smells musty from the outside does not get into the vehicle interior – provided the filter system is clean. If it suddenly starts to stink in the car after switching on the air conditioner. This is not a good sign and indicates bacteria and germs. Moreover, It is all the more unpleasant if it suddenly fills the room with a hideous smell. But what are the causes of a smelly air conditioning and what can you do about it?

Why Car Air Conditioner Smells Musty?

1- It may happen that when the A/C is switched on, it suddenly stinks after long periods of non-use and unpleasant smell spreads in the interior of the car. The comfortable passenger compartment stinks. That’s no reason to panic. The cause is usually blind “passengers”, which are in the Form of bacteria, germs, and microorganisms on the heat exchanger of the air conditioning. If the car air conditioner stinks musty, the Problem is unpleasant but can be removed quickly and easily with the cleaning of the heat exchanger.

2- When the air conditioning of the car is switched off at the end of the journey, residual moisture can accumulate on the heat exchanger. While the air conditioning system ensures that the interior of the vehicle is and remains cool and dry, it itself becomes quite hot during the process. In combination with the accumulated moisture, this gives the perfect habitat for mushrooms. Not that they are only responsible for the bad smell. By means of ventilation, bacteria and germs can spread throughout the vehicle. Not only does it stink, but it also causes massive damage to health. The more important is the maintenance of the air conditioning.

Car Air Conditioner Smells Musty

If germs and fungal spores from the ambient air reach the heat exchanger, together with the residual moisture, a breeding ground is formed on which the microscopic “guests” can multiply unhindered. In the worst case, a kind of carpet is formed. In consequence, the whole car stinks. This process is facilitated by a rare or irregular use of Automotive A/C. In such cases, the problem that the air conditioner stinks can only be rectified with a professional AC cleaning. If such a case occurs, drivers should not wait too long and they should search for reliable solutions.

Solutions for Musty smell from Vehicle Air Conditioner

In order to avoid the problem mentioned above, the maintenance intervals prescribed by the manufacturer should be observed. The main components of the air conditioning system are checked during the investigation: from the compressor to the condenser, the evaporator and expansion valve. It is recommended to have maintenance carried out in the spring – before the summertime, in which it is used frequently.

Read More About: Why is My Car Air Conditioner Not Blowing Cold Air

Cleaning the car air conditioner should take about 30 minutes to a maximum of one hour, depending on the vehicle. The cost of air-conditioning cleaning starts at about 25 Euro. A detailed consultation with the workshop is important because cleaning and rinsing of the smelly air-conditioning are often only one component of a larger maintenance package.

Air conditioning stinks: What else can you do about it?

Motorists can treat the air conditioning of their automobile either way. The fact is, however, that it is quite possible to avoid that an air conditioner stinks and is possibly harmful.

First of all, it is important to observe the maintenance and inspection intervals specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Within the scope of these appointments, all components of the air conditioning system (compressor, condenser, evaporator, expansion valve) are checked professionally. And cleaned if necessary and the pollen filter is also renewed. This ensures the function of the system as well as the operation without disturbing scents.

Read More About: How a Car AC works

Helpful in the fight against bad smell is to switch off the car air conditioner just before the end of t

Car Air Conditioner Smells Musty

he journey. Thus, the remaining moisture on the evaporator can still be removed from the ventilation of the car. Thus, the air conditioning is completely dry when the vehicle is parked. Then the causes of unpleasant scents cannot settle at all.


The most important thing: the professional cleaning of the smelly air conditioning should always be carried out by experts in a workshop who know exactly what they are doing. The background is that for the air-conditioning cleaning extensive assembly work in the interior of the car may be necessary. In addition, special Equipment is required – depending on the method. Therefore, if the car air conditioner smells musty, it is advisable to visit a workshop for cleaning.

In the case of professional air-conditioning cleaning, a special cleaning liquid is sprayed onto the evaporator via the ventilation ducts.  As a result, germs, bacteria, and fungi are dissolved, destroyed and rinsed. The air conditioning is so disinfected. At the same time, the evaporator receives a kind of protective film, which hinders the resettlement of pests. It is recommended to replace the pollen filter as part of an air-conditioning cleaning. After Switching on the air conditioning, the air in the car is pleasantly fresh and clean.

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