Stinky car

Stinky car

Started getting a smell similar to stinky feet a couple months ago out of the HVAC system. It has become more frequent and stronger now bordering on smelly feet dipped in doggy doo. Besides being unpleasant it's also embarrassing and certainly doesn't impress non-Tesla owners/potential buyers. I've tried turning off the circulation, tried turning off the AC 5 minutes prior to stopping, tried setting the temps low, high, blower high, low etc etc. with the only solution being to not run the AC and just roll down the windows. Have an appointment set to change filters and spray some solution into the system but am being told it may return. Has anyone experienced this and if so, found a solution?

Stankinaz | 2019年4月24日

Did you recently fornicate in your car? If so, just leave the windows down over night. Do this while parking in your private garage of course. If that doesn't help, buy febreeze unstoppable for car, the black one. Also, chew gum or have a mint while driving.

zp | 2019年4月25日

Probably antifreeze. Mine smells like paint. Gonna take it in.

luisfluisis | 2019年4月25日

Check your A/C drain
Is like your house A/C if it does not drain it will leak into your car

gmr6415 | 2019年4月25日

Drive it without using recirculation for a good month or so. There are also products on the market that you set off in your car with the AC running on high so it circulates through all of your duct work that may help.

I had a new headliner put in my previous car and not only did the car have a strong smell of the contact cement they used it also smelt like bad body oder. The deodorizer removed all of the smell permanently.

EM34ME | 2019年4月25日

The recent OTA update added smell to the Emissions Testing easter egg. Use with caution.

waxfondler | 2019年4月25日


Fuzzball | 2019年4月25日

Same issue with AC (no prob if not using AC/defroster). Mobile said need new cabin filter and will also order evaporant. Waiting follow-up

Atoms | 2019年4月25日

Ours just started smelling. It is likely related to the lack of the Collings coil from drying out. Hopefully Tesla will release a firmware update to dry out the AC system after usage. The nice thing is that Tesla can do this in firmware. It would do this after you park. The coils would be heated with exhaust to outside rather than recirculate. The moisture would be blown outside the car after you park. Probably would take 5-10minutes to dry out the system. May be more difficult with climate control on, but I’m sure they will figure it out soon.

markr7 | 2019年4月25日

My car smells like a hint of Musk...

TekG | 2019年4月25日

I had the same problem with my A/C. 1st happened during a very hot day last summer when the A/C cut out and expelled a pretty foul odor. I took it into the service center and they replaced my air filter. It was a temporary solution that lasted a few months and the smell returned. When the A/C starts to smell, I usually turn the A/C and circulation off, crank up the fan, and set it to heat for about 10 minutes. It seems to be a temporary fix but the smell always comes back. I'll be taking the car in for other issues and will have them check the A/C system again. I'm wondering if it's mold or mildew growing on the internal A/C components or air filter.

dmastro | 2019年4月25日

Mayhaps you have a smelly cat living in your stinky car.

spuzzz123 | 2019年4月25日

Rodent died inside your havoc maybe? It happens

spuzzz123 | 2019年4月25日


rxlawdude | 2019年4月25日

This is definitely mold/mildew growing in the condensate. Plugged drain is one definite cause, but even with the drain patent it can occur.

We've just started warmer days and so more A/C in SoCal, and that smell is pretty nasty intermittently.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: "Oooh that smell, can't you smell that smell..."

Jmeiley | 2019年4月25日

Mine smelled too from Day 1 and took to service and they cleaned out the HVAC system and problem solved!

garibaldi | 2019年4月25日

@EM34ME recent update added Elon's musk.

mlspropertiesllc | 2019年4月25日

Thanks for all the advice, hopefully my filter change will at least hold me over until that firmware update. Fingers crossed, nose plugged.

mdjmd | 2019年7月18日

Mine has started getting stinky too. Only when A/C first kicks on. Smells like stinky feet. Lasts for 10 sec or so and clears up. Annoying. Will call for fix.

jimglas | 2019年7月18日

this is not a tesla problem, you have mild in your A/C system.

pmagid | 2019年7月18日

I live in LA.... I have this issue too... Gonna try the deodorizers...

Techy James | 2019年7月18日

If you have Mold in AC system, then likely the water drain is either defective or blocked which could actually be a tesla problem if the Draining system wasn't sufficient for the system.

greg | 2019年7月18日

Have same smell. Intermittent. Guess I'll break down and set up service call. Lots of possibilities. Hope they're up on them all. Only want ONE visit.

Mike83 | 2019年7月18日

We have never had an odor issue in 3 Teslas for
5 years. But there could be medical issues.

rxlawdude | 2019年7月18日

I wonder if @TTap has info as to where the A/C drain is located on the M3. This seems to be a common problem, but I NEVER had it in our 2015 MS.

So it may be a unique issue in the M3.

Magic 8 Ball | 2019年7月18日

Smells like fish, tastes like chicken.

Mike83 | 2019年7月18日

Our M3 is 16 months old and smells new

rxlawdude | 2019年7月18日

@Mike, so did mine till about that same number of months of ownership, and then in April, BAM.

lilbean | 2019年7月18日

Mine still has the new car smell.

rxlawdude | 2019年7月18日

I wonder if this has to do with manufacturing date?

Now that I think about it, I never see pooled water under the M3 like the S. Time for a service call.

Sideswipe | 2019年7月18日

I had a Tesla repair tech out to my house yesterday to fix the same issue. He said it is caused by AC condensate. When the AC runs, condensate (moisture) builds up. When the car shuts off, its left there and begins to smell. The tech said that the newest firmware fixes this issue by keeping the AC fan running at low speed when the car shuts off. The air flow causes the condensate to dry completely eliminating the problem. Time will tell...

rpc_in_va | 2019年7月18日

Sideswipe, did he say which is the “newest firmware” version? I’m on 20.4.2, which is pretty well up to date. I’ve been getting the vinegar smell for a few months now.

Jr | 2019年7月18日

i just discovered this smell today. pretty nasty. As with others, only there for a first minute or so after AC starts up on warm day

Sideswipe | 2019年7月18日

@rpc_in_va, He said it was in the latest firmware. I'm on 20.4.4 which, as far as I know, is the latest. I had the smell when I was on 20.4.2, so I doubt the fix was in that version.

rpc_in_va | 2019年7月18日

Thanks. How long have you had 20.4.4? Sounds like you haven’t decided yet whether it resolves the issue or not. Keep us posted.

Sideswipe | 2019年7月18日

@rpc_in_va. The smell has been intermittent: it doesn't happen every time we get in the car. Since the service was just done yesterday, I'll need to wait a while before I know. If it can go a week without the smell, then we may have it licked. I'll keep you posted.

Blue Angel | 2019年7月18日

Had a tire rotation yesterday at the Decatur SC and asked what is the next service. He said bring in car at two year anniversary. He also mentioned unsolicited that if I discover a smell in the cabin in the future, bring it in and they will replace what I thought was a cabin filter. In any event, my Tesla SC Technician acknowledged the smell can be a problem. I thought this was great customer service...forewarning about a potential problem ironically mentioned in this thread.

spuzzz123 | 2019年7月18日

Are y’all in the stinky cars using cabin overheat protection? With ac option or fan only?

vmulla | 2019年7月18日

This was a common complaint in the early days of model 3. Circa Jan/Feb 2018.
Suspected cooling liquid problem. It went away after a few days, I just used a fresher on the rear vent to fix - yup where to fix the airfreshner was topic here :)

vmulla | 2019年7月18日

Read the other comments. This was definitely a common topic back then, it just went away. It was suspected to be some ac fluid, something near the battery since they share the same cooling system.

Now it's back, I suspect they changed the software for the AC to whatever it was back then - totally guessing here. But cars can't en masse loose a problem and then get it back for no reason. Has to be something to do with AC recirculation logic.

pmagid | 2019年7月18日

Maybe its just that its Summer and people get in their cars and because of the heat the HVAC is blasting... Whereas before it was not.

vmulla | 2019年7月18日

No it's not just summer. There was certainly a flurry of complaints in early 2018, then nothing for a few months, and then we have more now.
The words used to describe the smell are the same as before - vomit, stinky socks, vinegar

I'm just guessing based on following the forum for so long, this has to be caused by an update in recirculation logic.

Can someone tell if the vents under the hood close/open when the car is parked? I remember talking about a correlation.

vmulla | 2019年7月18日

I seriously wish we could search the forum. I tried on Google without luck :(

slingshot18 | 2019年7月18日

Was at Tesla SC last week. One of the items was the stink. They couldn’t replace air filters because they are back ordered for weeks. Tech said that it seems every model 3 in SoCal is coming in with requests for replacement.

pmagid | 2019年7月18日

@vmulla not saying it cant be firmware related..... Just wondering how much of the issue is due to the warmer weather.

-TheJohn- | 2019年7月18日

Are are of you able to tell me where the cabin air filter is located and how to remove/clean it? I saw something about that today/yesterday and now I can't find it. They said it fixed the problem and while said problem is mild and momentary I'd love to be able to do it myself if possible.

vmulla | 2019年7月18日

pmagid | July 18, 2019
@vmulla not saying it cant be firmware related..... Just wondering how much of the issue is due to the warmer weather.

Almost entirely actually, it has to be the conditions of the hot weather that trigger the undesirable HVAC behavior.

I'm so wrapped up in my theory I'm not able to see beyond it. I've been wrong before, someone just has to show me the obvious other side sometimes :)

syclone | 2019年7月19日

This is a pretty common problem for all cars, not just Tesla. There are aerosols that pump spray up the drain hose from the car's evaporator and kill the mildew that causes the smell.

minervo.florida | 2019年7月19日

I have had this in EVERY car we owned in Florida, about 15.

vmulla | 2019年7月19日

syclone | July 19, 2019
This is a pretty common problem for all cars, not just Tesla. There are aerosols that pump spray up the drain hose from the car's evaporator and kill the mildew that causes the smell.
It's not mildew. Your car is fresh one second, and will have a blast of this smell the next. Good thing is the smell isn't persistent.

Magic 8 Ball | 2019年7月19日

@vmulla Do you not know it is mildew, for sure? Mildew has a life cycle and different things happen at different phases. This issue is not because of a leak or anything on the car spontaneously making the smell. The mildew buildup can be in one area and get dislodged and start in a new area that spreads the smell in the cabin.

So do you know, for sure, it is not mildew?