Why My Car AC Air Stinks?

Nothing beats a perfectly working air conditioner on a hot summer day.  But a dirty air conditioner system can put off many and it can turn a present experience into a bad one. My car ac air stinks is said by many during the summer season. But if you want to understand it properly then, it is not a very complex problem to deal with.

 A stinky air conditioner can be caused due to many reasons behind it, but it is very too easy to fix. Let us learn in this article how can we deal with it.

What Causes My Car Ac Air Stinks Situation?

An air conditioning system being a closed-loop system can accumulate a large amount of dirt and grime over its working cycles and can cause it to stink. Let us read about common causes-

1. Bad Air Filter

The air filter of an air conditioner system is like its lungs. It captures any air that is fed into the air conditioning system and cleans it before it enters it. It has to go through everything that is present in the air which can be dirt or grime and all dust particles. Over time, they get collected on the air filter. If the air filter is not cleaned according to the periodic maintenance schedule for is not replaced when the time has come, then it will continue to collect dirt and grime, and eventually, it will start to stink. Since the air passes first through a filter the dirty air will eventually find its way to the AC vents.

2. Clogged Cooling Coil

A clogged cooling coil, filled with sludge can also start to stink after a certain period of time. The air filter of the air conditioner system is a very important component, sometimes they are deleted by the car owner in order to save a few bucks but in reality, it causes even more damage. The cooling coil becomes the forefront of the air inlet and it has to collect everything that is present in the air. Eventually, the stuff gets stuck in the cooling coil and it reaches a point where it starts to stink. The same air will be present in the ac vents and the owner will notice the same smell coming out through the vent.

3. Presence Of A Dead Animal

Sometimes it can happen that a rodent can find a way into the car’s air conditioning system through any opening or a damaged portion. They may start to live inside an ac system. But sometimes, they die in the system and their rotting body can cause a very strong stench to be produced. If the rotting body is still present in the air conditioner system, then the owner will get a puff off it whenever he will start the air conditioning system.

4. System leakages

Leakage in the air conditioner system can also produce a bad order. The air conditioning system has refrigerant, lubricating oil, and coloring die mixed into it and if the cooling coil has leaked, then the same will get accumulate inside the cooling box. Over time it will start to produce the smell and it will cause the air conditioning system to think. 

How To Fix Smelly AC Vents?

Fixing my car ac air stinks situation is a very simple job and it does not involve any complex diagnosing before fixing the problem. These are the ways through which you can deal with the problem-

1. Clean Air Filter

The easiest way to fix this problem is to clean the air conditioner filter. The ac system has an entry for air and it is the air filter through which it passes first. So it becomes very necessary that the air filter should be cleaned according to the maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer. The air filter should also be replaced when it has gone beyond the cleaning state. It is also very necessary that the air filter should not be deleted from the system as it is one of the critical elements in the air conditioning system.

2. Chemical Cleaning

Using the foam chemical to fix my car ac air stinks problem is very popular. It is easily available through any part store these days, and can also solve the problem. Care must be taken to note proper instructions, as given on the product, and should be followed before cleaning the air conditioning system. Sometimes it can damage the cosmetic part of the car. These chemicals can be routinely used to clean the internal of the air conditioning system and they are very cheap to produce.

3. Removing Dead Animal

In case the dead animal is present in the air conditioner system, then there is no other option than to remove the whole dashboard and take the whole cooling box out of the car and clean it. It is a very labor-intensive job and required 10 hours to complete. In order to prevent such a situation, care must be taken that an air filter is present in the air conditioning system and any entry point for the road is blocked.

4. Clean Cooling Coil

In case the cooling coil is blocked or water has accumulated into the cooling box, then it calls for a labor-intensive exercise that has to be undertaken. The dashboard has to come out and the whore cooling box has to be cleaned thoroughly along with the cooling coil. In this process, the refrigerant is recovered and recharged again with the ac recovery machine.

5. Stuck Air Mode

Sometimes the fresher mode gets stuck into the open position and it lets the outside be mixed with the internal ear. It can let any stink that is present in the atmosphere and can cause the AC system to smell bad. In this case also sometimes the linkage is broken or there is a bad accelerator motor. In this case, it is very easy to replay.

How Much Will It Cost To Fix Smell In Ac System?

If the whole ac unit has to be taken out of the car, then it is a labor-intensive job and can cost up to 500$ with almost 11 hours of labor. If general cleaning is needed, then it can cost between 50-200$.


In the end, it can be concluded that my car ac air stinks problem is mostly caused due to poor maintenance antiquates. The air filter should not be deleted and it must be cleaned or replaced regularly. Comment down below if you still have any questions.

Leave a Comment