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Model 3 smell

Model 3 smell

My wife gets a headache when she sits in the car. I don’t smell anything bad but it bothers her a great deal. We have aired the car (windows down) for days, spritzed vinegar and water all over the interior (with a wipedown), placed baking soda boxes inside at night, and baked the interior with a portable electric heater to above 100 degrees for two hours. Still not resolved.

Any other ideas?

billlake2000 | February 16, 2019

I got so excited when I floored it that I peed on my steering wheel.

lilbean | February 16, 2019

Haha!

yeahyeah | February 24, 2019

Thanks for posting OP and others who've taken this seriously.

I've been having issues with sinus and lung irritation with my new Model 3 (purchased in August 2018). I'm sure it's related to outgassing. It has gotten better but not enough that it isn't an issue. I suspect it's related to the synthetic seat covers. I wonder if it is somehow due to the rapid speed at which things were being manufactured and that somehow something wasn't properly cured.

The smell that I notice is something like the combination of rubber and rubbing alcohol. Its not noticeable when the car interior is cool but as soon as it warms up it is still there (which is typical for outgassing). I'd be curious to know the specs of those vehicles that are causing their owners issues. Is white better? Is there a particular manufacture month that is worse?

Mine is an August 2018 built Model 3 Dual Motor with the dark gray interior/wood dash.

ODWms | February 25, 2019

I have an August build also, but have not noticed the severity of odors some people have cited. In fact, this car seems to have had the tamest new car smell experience of any new car I’ve ever been in. I say ‘had’ because at this point (4500 mi), there seems to be zero smell left.

yeahyeah | February 25, 2019

Thanks @ODWms. I think part of the reason that mine still has a pretty strong "new" smell is the fact that I haven't been driving it as much as I'd like to, due to the smell. Seems like the more you use it the faster the smell fades. But maybe that's just acclimating. Are you in a warm climate? I'm in California where the interior can get quite warm even during the winter.

MrSexyTime | February 25, 2019

Its a real thing. Off gassing and glue fumes. In time, it will pass. Try coffee beans.

lilbean | February 25, 2019

The gas will pass.

billlake2000 | February 25, 2019

silent but violent

tckvenumadhav | February 26, 2019

Mine still smells very strong even after 2 months and 3000 miles. I have white interior, wonder if the white interior smells more and stays longer than black interior. Anyone with white interior, how long before the smell is gone?

ODWms | February 26, 2019

@yeahyeah, I’m in sunny Tampa Bay. As others have mentioned it’ll fade with time. The fact that it’s as hot as it is in your area will actually help. Good luck with everything!

RedPillSucks | February 26, 2019

Surely this is not limited to Tesla. Are there comercial stuff that can be used to absorb the smell, like baking soda (or is it baking powder. I always get it wrong)

spuzzz123 | February 26, 2019

Man I luv the new car smell it didn’t last long enough. Wish it could be safely replicated. I’ve tried some air fresheners with that supposed scent but they don’t even come close.

yeahyeah | February 26, 2019

I don't mind the smell but I'm clearly allergic/sensitive to some component. It's pretty bad. My wife loves it though as she's basically the one who drives it these days.

@ODWms: Yeah just wish I could speed it up somehow. I'm read a bit about ozone but sounds risky. I know it'll eventually get low enough that I can tolerate it. But man, so frustrating! I love my 3 so much, otherwise.

@RedPillSucks: Yeah, I don't think it's specific to Tesla. Though, I bet Tesla is "fresher" than most since it's direct from factory (instead of sitting on a boat/lot for months before purchase). Look at bamboo/activated charcoal and zeolite that you can find on Amazon. That is supposed to help (but hasn't been enough for me).

yeahyeah | February 26, 2019

@ODWms: Yeah, I bet having nonstop 115F+ interiors from the FL sun is helping that. I'm looking forward to summer...

ODWms | February 26, 2019

Me too!

lakeshow9 | May 28, 2019

All of the above for me. Took M3 out for first road trip including first Supercharge. Moslty chill mode accelerating and braking. Two hours in, arrival at destination Santa Barbara I got a mean headache. For drive back I popped Tylenol, didn’t solve headache. Sense of smell increased to state of nausea (have had sinus / asthma issues). Figured now it was motion sickness. Regretted not taking Dramamine for the drive. Deactivated Autopilot so I can feel in control opposed to being a passenger and feeling like being on a roller coaster. Autopilot may have contributed or caused the motion sickness. Anyway 2 hr drive home I could not stand the New car / glue gas / faux leather / heater 68 degree fumes. I hope to find solution and or clear the smell. Three weeks old, under 1000 miles, This would be a serious issue for me if the smell does not clear. Also in other car (that was shampooed and left with odor) I had used Arm n Hammer Baking Soda Carpet Fresh that helped 95%. May try it on M3, but this will only mask odor or work on carpet, not seats, vents,etc. I also thought smell may be from batteries (heard pop sounds during first Supercharge - I’ve seen this noise discussed in other threads).

ashpal19 | May 28, 2019

It could be because of the heat from the glass-roof. Hot air rises to the top and plus the glass roof is hot from inside at least for the first 15-20 mins when you start driving.
My head gets hot during sunny days here in Texas(and summer has still not kicked in), I need to get the roof tinted and wear a cap while driving.

lmorda2 | May 28, 2019

Theres definitely an odor to mine if it makes you feel better. Doesn't make me sick though. I know what you're talking about. I don't find it offensive. Just wipe it down everyday with some leather cleaner or something. I think it's worse when I have the climate on.

vadicum | May 29, 2019

In our case, turned out to be the hydrogen sulfide gas (aka a rotten egg smell) which is a byproduct of charging lead acid or similar chemistry batteries. This happens when the battery fails and constantly "boiling". I started noticing the smell in the garage but could link it to the car. One night, my wife woke me up panicking and telling me something is burning. All rooms in the house had a thick rotten egg smell. We traced it to the garage and pulled the car out, open all door and windows, turned on AC to air the house. It was a terrible night. Took the car to the Rocklin, CA service center. Two guys present at the time, Chris and Lorenzo, didn't take it seriously. Tried to downplay the seriousness of all this. I've been a Model S owner since early 2013 and have bought Model 3 among the first in 2017. The service has always been top notch and they took things seriously before. Not sure what happened to them.

Joeyma | June 2, 2019

Life's been busy and I'd like to give a simple update. The smell on the steering wheel had became less obvious after about 3 months. I wasn't satisfied with it still, but I didn't have time to go back to the dealership to ask them to resolve this issue, and now about 3 more months after my door seal rubber is deformed at a few places both on my driver's side and my passenger's side. After the car came back from servicing near end of January, I've used Swiffer's Sweeper Wet and soaked the steering wheel faux leather, and now it's covered up the smell pretty well.

FYI:
2018-Dec 01 car was delivered, everything was great.
2018-Dec 30 realized there's some smell and was not happy with it
2019-Jan 31 took my car in to service, they said they changed out the filter, smell was better, still there
2019-March didn't get response from the service lady about follow up, and decided to try fixing it on my own with Swiffer's Sweeper Wet, soaked up the steering wheel, and smell was covered up
2019-April 30 car door sealer became deformed, later on another section of it became deformed
2019-June 2 just went to my car again, maybe I got used to it over time, maybe my own fix worked, but I don't find it bothersome regarding the smell; I'll probably try my own fix and see about the door sealer, too.

Just felt it's important to voice out because this is a good brand and I believe we all paid a premium for it.

Hope everyone's car is well!

Dig-n-Tesla | June 9, 2019

It is the air conditioning. I smell it also. I’m sorting out the issue but sometimes resolves when air circulation is off.

Dig-n-Tesla | June 9, 2019

It is the air conditioning. I smell it also. I’m sorting out the issue but sometimes resolves when air circulation is off.

Tesla2018 | June 9, 2019

I had a really bad rotten egg smell once it started getting hot outside. I bought a cheap custom made Chinese sunshade for the front window on ebay and since it was new and had plastic suction cups on it to hold it to the window, it was stinking when it was in the sun all day. Took it and wiped it down with Fabreeze and now its mot as bad. Only smelled when I had overheat protection with no ac on since the fan was blowing the smell all over the car.

TickTock | June 10, 2019

@Tesla2018 - Same experience. My sunshade had a horrible smell, too. I ended up leaving it out in the sun for a month to try to out-gas it but was only partially successful. Solution was to buy a car cover and throw away the sun shade.

I do still smell a sweet chemical smell when the AC is on. Not as bad as the sunshade but still unpleasant. Thinking about sewing a long sock out of mosquito netting and filling it with loose activated carbon to lay across the vents.

lakeshow9 | June 19, 2019

Update from May 28 post:

All things pretty good now. Loved the car and still do. Overcame (minor issues) smell dampened down. Used carpet fresh baking soda once. Still a faint (steering wheel leather) smell. Don’t use autopilot often with head resting back. (I get motion sickness on rollercoasters ha ha).

Thrillion | June 19, 2019

Service bulletin about the A/C condensation saturating the cabin filter and the pollen in the air will cause mold/mildew on the filter.
Just had mobile service tech perform a cleaning and replace the filter. I'll report after a few days if the smell comes back. I had nowhere near the kind of smells described here. It was a faint used sock or vinegar smell.
During the test drive with the tech I smelled nothing and my turn signal stalk works like it should now!!!!
I'm a happy man.

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