Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: AC is not blowing cold and a plastic-like smell when AC is on.

asked by on

Drove truck on Wednesday and AC was blowing cold. Thursday morning there was an odor it wasn't a mildew odor it was more like a plastic smell. Can still smell it when turn AC on.
My car has an automatic transmission.

There are different possibilities that could contribute to the plastic smell. The smell could be caused by a coolant leak, an electrical issue, the A/C compressor overheating, or simply an outside smell.

Sometimes, plastic bags tend to get stuck to the exhaust system and melt. If you had the vent on for outside air, you probably smelt a bag burning, or some ambient smell. If you had the recirculate button on when you experience this smell, then it is time to change your cabin filter. The dust on the cabin filter will make a burning smell as air is passed through it. Plus, if the filter is dirty, then the evaporator will not function correctly and also causes the a/c to not blow as cold as usual. If the filter is good and clean, then it is possible that the a/c system has sprung a leak and you are smelling the refrigerant.

If you need further assistance, then seek out a professional, such as one from YourMechanic, to help you diagnose the cause of the warm a/c and plastic smell from the vents and replace the air filter, if needed.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: no fuel

I would start by checking power to the fuel pump relay first as this is often times the easiest and least expensive way to determine the cause. If there is power to the relay, then this may suggest that the...

Q: Motor swap

Hi there. The best resource for you is a service and repair manual for the 2001 Ford F-250. Even though there are multiple electrical sensors and connectors, these service manuals are still a great resource to give casual mechanics the...

Q: Power steering studding

If you drained all the power steering fluid and then refilled it you should turn the wheel all the way left and right without letting the steering go to left or right steering lock or more air will be put...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.