Musty smell coming out of vents

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Thread: Musty smell coming out of vents

  1. #1

    Musty smell coming out of vents

    Good Morning Everyone,

    Yesterday morning as I started my 2014 Crosstrek for work, the first thing I noticed was a very distinct musty smell coming from my AC and the vents. This occurred 3 more times yesterday when I started my car. I ran off to Advanced and bought a new cabin filter ($25) (I will admit the one that I had in there was disgusting). I blasted the AC all the way back home, and I notice the smell has faded. This morning, I start up my car again, and immediately that same smell comes back. What is going on? Should I just take it to Subaru (I have gold warranty).

    -Karah

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  3. #2
    I'm sure there are already threads on here where people more knowledgeable than I explain this better, but I'll give you my take and let those people chime in later...

    I believe what is happening is...
    You're running the A/C all the way up until you turn the car off. When you turn the car off, all that cold air is condensing and you end up with moisture all throughout the vent system. The moisture gets all sealed up in the car and you end up with that mildew-y smell when you turn it back on (may or may not be actual mildew... I don't know). I believe what you are "supposed to do" is turn off your A/C a couple miles/minutes before you get home and let the regular air blow through and dry out the system. I'll admit I don't do that all the time, but I try to remember when possible. Sometimes it's just too hot to do that though.

    As far as solutions go, there's probably stuff you can spray in there, but I'll leave it up to others to recommend that stuff as I have no experience with it.
    '15 XV Crosstrek Hybrid in "Plasma Green Pearl"

    Subaru Accessories: Remote Start, Splash Guards, Bumper Cover, Rear Seatback Protectors, Side & Rear Seatback Cargo Nets, Console Cargo Tray, Auto-Dimming Mirror w/ Homelink, Subaru Sunshade, Molded Front License Plate Bracket, 2x Subaru Slim License Plate Frame
    Other: Ziebart Full Vehicle Protection, WeatherTech FloorLiners, ProClip Phone Mount, OBDLink LX for Dash, Torklift Ecohitch, Kuat NV 2.0 Bike Rack

  4. #3
    Thank you for your response. However, I hardly ever use the AC past three notches. The only time I blasted the AC was last night on the way home from advanced after I put the new filter in.

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  6. #4
    Do you park in a garage or outside? Under any trees? Take a good look at the wiper area at bottom of windshield where outside air comes in. See if some type of debris like leaves is down in there.

  7. #5

  8. #6
    Perhaps the next time you come home, run the heater with the AC off and with the windows open and see if you can dry it out some. Might try spraying a little Lysol disinfectant in where the filter was and killing anything there. Also make sure there's no debris in the cowl or even where the filter was.
    Keeping your filter changed regularly will help you.
    And should none of the above help, the dealer can check if you have a plugged or slow drain that might be allowing some water to pool.

  9. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by kaycott88 View Post
    Thank you for your response. However, I hardly ever use the AC past three notches. The only time I blasted the AC was last night on the way home from advanced after I put the new filter in.
    Maybe 3 notches is enough? I dunno. I'm not knowledgeable enough to say one way or the other. I just know I've experienced this on all sorts of different cars and Googling "car ac musty smell" gives a bunch of results describing more or less what I said above.
    '15 XV Crosstrek Hybrid in "Plasma Green Pearl"

    Subaru Accessories: Remote Start, Splash Guards, Bumper Cover, Rear Seatback Protectors, Side & Rear Seatback Cargo Nets, Console Cargo Tray, Auto-Dimming Mirror w/ Homelink, Subaru Sunshade, Molded Front License Plate Bracket, 2x Subaru Slim License Plate Frame
    Other: Ziebart Full Vehicle Protection, WeatherTech FloorLiners, ProClip Phone Mount, OBDLink LX for Dash, Torklift Ecohitch, Kuat NV 2.0 Bike Rack

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaycott88 View Post
    Thank you for your response. However, I hardly ever use the AC past three notches. The only time I blasted the AC was last night on the way home from advanced after I put the new filter in.
    I think he meant running the AC all the way until you get home. The cure is turning the AC off but leaving the fan on the last couple minutes of your drive to dry out the condensation tray.

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by orndog View Post
    I think he meant running the AC all the way until you get home. The cure is turning the AC off but leaving the fan on the last couple minutes of your drive to dry out the condensation tray.
    Also as others have stated, Check the Drain hose, it MUST BE CLEAR, to allow ALL MOISTURE to drain from the Heater-A/C box otherwise, you will get mould build up on the interior of it


    Troutbum
    “Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand--and melting like a snowflake...”


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  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by DK_XV View Post
    Perhaps the next time you come home, run the heater with the AC off and with the windows open and see if you can dry it out some. Might try spraying a little Lysol disinfectant in where the filter was and killing anything there. Also make sure there's no debris in the cowl or even where the filter was.
    Keeping your filter changed regularly will help you.
    And should none of the above help, the dealer can check if you have a plugged or slow drain that might be allowing some water to pool.
    ^^^^^Good advice here.^^^^^ Spray Lysol down into the outside vents by the windshield wipers.

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