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: i smell gas under the gas tank in my car

Hi, and thanks for contacting YourMechanic. You may want to inspect the lines around your gas tank. They may be leaking or corroded causing the gas smell in your car. We do not recommend that you drive your vehicle if...

Q: Hello, i had my head gasket repaired and after 8 months it has started making white smoke come from exhaust again and I can smell

Hello, thank you for writing in. With white smoke coming from the exhaust, the smell of coolant, and the (very likely although unmentioned) lowering of the coolant level, it is quite apparent that the coolant is making its way passed...

Q: My car is overheating and my heater is blowing cold air on and off

The heater not working in some cases may be related to the overheating problem you are also having. This may be due to a faulty heater blower motor or potentially a bad heater core. As you may know, the heater...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
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.