What's That Smell? 3 Bad Habits That Will Make Your Car's AC Stink

8 September 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Mold and bacteria are everywhere, even in your car's air conditioner. Unfortunately, it often makes its presence known by emitting a foul odor, which can smell like mildew or one of many offensive smells commonly associated with auto air conditioners and heaters. Typically, mold and bacteria grow and live in the evaporator core of your AC unit because it is an enclosed, damp space. While some car models are more susceptible to developing this problem than others, it is a common problem that can affect any make or model of car. 

Although mold and bacteria growth is common, there are a few things that may contribute to its growth. Following are just a few bad habits that you might have that are making your car's AC stink. 

Running Your AC Full Blast

Have you ever noticed how water comes out of your AC unit and puddles on the ground on a particularly hot day? While this is perfectly normal, excess water may become trapped or drip into your unit, promoting the growth of bacteria and mold. This is especially true if you like to run your AC unit on the highest setting all the time. Granted, there are times when only the highest setting will cool you off. However, you should always strive to use the lowest setting possible that still keeps you comfortable. 

Running Your AC Until the Last Possible Second

When it's hot out, many people do not turn off their AC at all. If you leave your unit on all the time, it never gets a chance to dry out. If you routinely run your air conditioning until you park and shut off your car, you're ensuring that water remains in your unit. To dry out your unit before you park, turn off your air for the last couple of minutes of your commute. 

Never Changing Your Air Filter

A dirty air filter restricts air flow, which can result in a musty odor and the growth of mold and bacteria. Always change your air filter according to your car manufacturer's instructions, which can range anywhere from every 15,000 miles to every 45,000 miles

There are several bad habits that can contribute to a foul odor that emanates from your car's AC unit. If you have an odor issue already, have your car looked at by your mechanic or auto air conditioning specialist, like those at Redlands Auto Electric, so they can resolve the problem. Then, do all you can to break the bad habits that could be making the problem worse.