Bad AC Smell?

Discussion of Infiniti's amazing (and underrated) sport-luxury crossovers, the EX35 and EX37. For 2014, the EX series will be renamed QX50, in line with Ininfiit's new naming conventions.
JBLMadtown
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Bad AC Smell?

Postby JBLMadtown » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:50 am

I just bought a brand new 2011 Infiniti Ex and there is a consistently bad smell coming from the ac. The smell is almost like a combination of mildew and urine. I took it in for service and they said they "cleaned out the AC" but the smell persists. How should I proceed? Has anyone else had this issue?


sashki2
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby sashki2 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:13 pm

I've heard this could be caused by a moldy cabin filter. I'm surprised however you have it on a new car.

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jmann
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby jmann » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:07 pm

I haven't had any problems in the past year on my EX, however my '08 coupe has had smell issues from the A/C. They make spray disinfectants you can use through the ac intake that help, although they leave behind a chemical smell for a while which may or may not be better than the ac funk. Once that smell goes away the problem is pretty much solved.

JBLMadtown
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby JBLMadtown » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:52 pm

I have thought about using a freshner spray, but why would I have to on a new car? It seems that there is something wrong in the design of the AC that is causing water to collect somewhere and get moldy, or there is another part of the engine that is causing the smell and it comes in through the ac. I'm very disappointed and will be taking it back to the dealer to fix or will consider getting a Lemon Law Attorney. The AC should not smell on a brand new car!

Tasman
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby Tasman » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:55 pm

You should not have to use any freshener spray nor is there a design flaw in the AC system for the EX. You should get clear about what they mean about "cleaning out the AC". Did they replace the in-cabin filter and check the system for leaks? On a side note, when you are running the AC, are you getting any message about the Ion Control system? Are you getting the smell with just normal ventilation and no AC (to rule out duct issues)? Is the odor sensing unit functioning correctly and not pulling in some funky odors from outside of the cabin?

JBLMadtown
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby JBLMadtown » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:58 pm

Thanks Tasman I will look into those areas. The smell seems to happen even when running the fans and not the ac.

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XIS
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby XIS » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:59 pm

Do you live in a humid area? Either way, I would get the dealer to correct it, not just address it.

:)

sashki2
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby sashki2 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:57 am

This I found this article informative http://autorepair.about.com/cs/heatinga ... 71601a.htm.

Apparently, Ford and GM even offer devices to install on their cars. The devices will make the air blowing throe the ventilation system after the engine is off so that everything inside drys. I used to turn of a/c as I was approaching the house to do just that but the era of automatic climate controls kind of killed that habit and I keep forgetting doing it anymore.
Just like you guys say, there're sprays made specifically for AC to kill bacteria in the ducts. A video popped-up in my search shows how to apply it http://youtu.be/VrVc_FXrbHY.
My car smells too when AC is in use in the summer :(.
So you, guys, think the smell removal should be covered under warranty? Seems like a gray area too me. They would have hard time to deny warranty for a brand new car but as the car getting close to the end of warranty they could always blame it on the environment because technically nothing is broken.

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NJGuy
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby NJGuy » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:29 am

JBLMadtown wrote: The smell is almost like a combination of mildew and urine.
If you think you’re smelling traces of urine, there’s a chance that it might have come from some kind of rodent. Hopefully it was a brief visit and that he didn’t get too comfortable in your car.
JBLMadtown wrote:It seems that there is something wrong in the design of the AC that is causing water to collect somewhere and get moldy, or there is another part of the engine that is causing the smell and it comes in through the ac.
Typically there is a drain opening or tube in the ventilation system that is supposed to let any collected water leak out under the car. I hope that the dealer checked to make sure it wasn't clogged, pinched, or kinked.

Although possible, I wouldn't think that there's anything in the engine area that would be causing the smell. The engine bay is well ventilated to the atmosphere and usually doesn't collect or retain a lot of moisture. The HVAC ducts, on the other hand, are pretty confined and are much more prone to trapping moisture.

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EXcitement
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby EXcitement » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:40 am

Are you certain the smell is coming from the A/C? I have had a moisture problem with my 08 EX...water seeping into the passenger compartment thru the firewall. At first, I couldn't figure out where the moldy smell was coming from. Eventually the leak resulted in puddles on my floorboard. The smell...just like you describe it. Check behind the carpet...see if you detect any moisture (especially after a hard rain).

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NJGuy
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby NJGuy » Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:42 am

sashki2 wrote: I used to turn of a/c as I was approaching the house to do just that but the era of automatic climate controls kind of killed that habit and I keep forgetting doing it anymore.
Although it isn’t always convenient, I think this is a good idea. I’ve done this in all my cars, whether or not they had automatic climate control. A few minutes before I reaching my destination, I would keep the fan running, turn the A/C to ‘off’, and switch the mode from “re-circulated” to “fresh” air. I’d even increase the fan speed depending on humidity.

I never had the mold/mildew smell come back since I started doing this. However, I think JBLMadtown still needs to get his ventilation system properly inspected, cleaned and disinfected first, as this procedure is more of a preventative type of action.
sashki2 wrote:So you, guys, think the smell removal should be covered under warranty? Seems like a gray area too me. They would have hard time to deny warranty for a brand new car but as the car getting close to the end of warranty they could always blame it on the environment because technically nothing is broken.
Tough call here, but you might be right. I guess it depends on how nice your dealership is about taking care of these kinds of issues.

KingZee
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby KingZee » Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:24 pm

I just turn the heater on at full blast when it happens and when I switch back to AC the smell is usually gone.

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EXceptional
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby EXceptional » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:49 pm

After other cleaning options have been exhausted, use an ozone generator to do an ozone shock treatment to the vehicle. This will actually kill bacteria and mildew and denature odorous organic compounds.

There is some good reading in this Link...

http://liquidintelligence115.com.au/pro ... deodorizer

http://www.abro.com/products/?product=7450

sashki2
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby sashki2 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:49 am

KingZee wrote:I just turn the heater on at full blast when it happens and when I switch back to AC the smell is usually gone.
...or you got used to it ad don't smell it anymore? :)

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SteveTheTech
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby SteveTheTech » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:27 pm

JBLMadtown wrote:I just bought a brand new 2011 Infiniti Ex and there is a consistently bad smell coming from the ac. The smell is almost like a combination of mildew and urine. I took it in for service and they said they "cleaned out the AC" but the smell persists. How should I proceed? Has anyone else had this issue?
Well that stinks :tisk:

This is one of my least favorite problems. There are many things that can cause this and the various examples are all quite valid but they may not be cause. The biggest problem is determining what the foul source is. If it is coming from some moisture in the air condition housing a proper cleaning and replacement of the air filter will be required. It may look clean and maybe smell clean when moving large volumes of air through it however minor odor may be amplified. A foaming disinfectant might be needed.

If you picked up a leftover '11 model it has probably sat on someones lot for a few months. This is typically no big deal and awesome as far as savings go but almost all cars now default to a fresh air mode in when the system powers off. When you park the car no matter what the position a few minutes after the car is shut off the mode door moves and the system goes to sleep.

You should not have to do anything about this. It might take another phone call to the service department to get this resolved though.

Do you have the Advanced Climate option?
If so it will say Auto under the recirculation button.

KingZee
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby KingZee » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:19 am

sashki2 wrote:
KingZee wrote:I just turn the heater on at full blast when it happens and when I switch back to AC the smell is usually gone.
...or you got used to it ad don't smell it anymore? :)
Lol, no it comes back from time to time, when the ACs been running for a while and I turn the car off while it's still running. But a couple of minutes of the heater running usually takes care of it, I'm guessing it dries out the left over water in the pipes that's causing the smell.

TomT
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby TomT » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:58 pm

I had similar problems with an old Ford truck. I just quit using the air in recirculate mode and it went away.

angrymom
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby angrymom » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:57 am

JBLMadtown : Did you figure out the problem with your a/c?

I got the G25 2011, one year ago I never had this problems with any of my cars. I cant drive in the car its crazy.

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EX-KAT-35
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby EX-KAT-35 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:45 am

My filter went bad after less than 2 years.

Followed some advice and started turning the fan up a bit higher and increasing the temp a bit when max-cool is not needed.
The main cause is trying to have a cool car temp and the fan speed on LOW and not turned up enough to evaporate any moisture.

No problem for me last 2yrs now. :gotme
FIX:
1) Do not use max-cool or coolest AC settings with a low fan speed.
2) Also there are sprays and treatments for the AC ducts that kill the mold - or claim to any way.

Can happen on any car.
Noticed it on personally on BMW, Audi, Volvo, Acura... Infiniti.. :dblthumb:

angrymom
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby angrymom » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:59 am

Honestly, I think its ridiculous that you have to do anything people are recommending when it is a new car. I traded in my old car for an expensive quality car and now I have to suffer? No one will ride in my car, I cant use it to drive my clients, whats the point of having this expensive thing in my driveway? lol

Between me and my husband we had 10 used cars past these years (Mitsubishi, Honda, Nissan...) Not one had an issue, not one...

Not in a million years would I ever think that such a luxury brand would have this horrible issue to which no one seems to have an answer to.

Please tell me some one had a good outcome from such an issue?

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XIS
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby XIS » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:31 pm

I hardly think this is due to the MFG... it is an enviromental condition and can happen on ANY car, depending on your A/C habbits. It definately happened to my wifes Lexus before.
You can remedy it by following EX-Kat's suggestions.

Hasn't happened to me yet, but I shut off my a/c compressor when I am a block or two away from home and just let the fan blow.

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jmann
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby jmann » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:16 pm

Well another 6 months of use had caused this issue to arise in my EX, so I had the cabin filter changed. It wasn't cheap at the dealership (what ever is?) But the smell is gone. OP should have requested a new cabin filter free of charge. The smell was only apparent when first starting the vehicle.

Jewles63$
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Re: Bad AC Smell?

Postby Jewles63$ » Sun May 05, 2019 2:49 pm

My 2017 ROGUE had the cat pee smell also, I bought the car new and noticed it at about 15000 miles especially after sitting in the parking lot all day. My husband ( my hero) was finally able to find out what caused this awful smell . He changed the cabin filter 1st , still smelled... He realized that the ac wasn’t draining causing it to back up and smell. He rerouted the line and made sure the hose was clear and now it’s fine !!!


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