Q: Bad smell in AC vent

asked by on

I have a bad smell coming from the AC vent every time I turn on the AC. I have already changed the cabin filter and tried the Lysol method. Is there anything else I can do to get rid of this smell?

My car has 72000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. This is a concern I have had a lot of experience with. Has the AC drain grommet been updated or removed? The original grommet was designed with a small slit style opening and was found to not be sufficient in draining moisture from the evaporator. There would be a build up of mildew that prevented proper drainage thus resulting in Lexus authorizing the removal/replacement of those grommets under a limited bulletin.

If the grommet is not the issue, then moisture buildup inside the evaporator case is the issue. Toyota Motor Company released a tech tip to the dealerships that describes how to reduce the smell and I’ll give you the short version here: during the last 5 to 10 minutes of your drive set the climate control to max fan, fresh air, max cold, no AC, and leave the fresh air setting on when shutting off the vehicle.

This setting allows mass amounts of fresh air to dry the evaporator and case to the point where mold and mildew cannot thrive and leaving the fresh air setting on will allow the evaporator case to breathe and dry out. You may have to do this several times to help with the smell or an AC refresh service available at most service centers may be necessary if the smell is pretty substantial right now. Once the smell is gone, you may only need to do the tech tip once in a while as long as you make sure the fresh air setting is on when you turn off the vehicle. Your mechanic has several technicians available to inspect the air conditioner system and move forward with repairs.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Bad smell in AC vent

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: Battery light on dashboard?

The noise and burning smell is most likely from the alternator. Have the battery checked to make sure it is okay. Once that is done, check and replace the alternator if necessary. If you need some help with these checks,...

Q: Diagnosing a heater core problem

A common tell tale sign of the heater core not working is the heater not providing warm heat when turning it on. You may also notice the floor being a bit damp in the event that the heater core might...

Q: Can the parking brake be adjusted ?

Hi there. If your Lexus has rear disk brakes, there are two different ways to adjust your brakes. One is to back up about 10 miles per hour and apply the parking brake. The other way is to remove the...

Related articles

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...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
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.