What does it smell like? If mildew, you might have it in the system
somewhere. It's not uncommon; happens from being wet and warm! I've heard
you can fix it by turning on the AC full, then spraying some bleach into the
intake. I've never done it myself.
The Freon should not be getting into the passenger compartment. If it is,
you have a serious leak and need to get it repaired.
You could have kept mildew to a minimum by using the outside air selection
instead of the recycled air selection. If you are in a humid climate then
outside air does not work as well. In that case it's best to run it on
recycled air till the car cools down then switch to outside air. You can
buy an can of aerosol which will kill the mildew.
Mildew is caused by the AC drain being plugged and the condensation backing
up in the evaporator/heater housing. You first need to clear the drain so
the water will drain. Then check with an auto parts store as they have
chemicals for neutralizing the mildew.
Do you have any recommendations? This complaint turns up all the time on all
sorts of vehicles, so I'd expect somebody is marketing a solution that
helps... I just don't know about it.
In the alt.autos.volvo group one of the regulars described a mixture he
sprayed into the recirculate intake with the A/C on recirc, full cold, full
fan. I don't recall anything except a major ingredient was vodka, and the
rest was non-toxic stuff like that. Kind of ingenious, condensing the
alcohol on the evaporator to kill the mildew and then letting it drain the
usual way to do more of the same. I imagine rubbing alcohol would do the
After you follow the other posters' suggestions, get in the habit of putting
your CC in fresh mode when parked to avoid sealing in the residual moisture
in the AC. The stickler would disengage the AC for the last minutes of the
drive in fresh mode to promote some drying.
It's Mildew. Here's the fix: (from the Dodge Trucks newsgroup)
Fresh smelling A/C: results guaranteed
1 pint of common ordinary rubbing alcohol
3-ft piece of 3/8" copper tubing with a short "J" at 1 end
1 small funnel
connect the "J" end of the copper tubing to the air conditioner condensate
drain hose under the vehicle (where the water drips out when the A/C is
running normally. Stick the long end of the tubing up through
the engine compartment so you can reach it from above. The copper tubing
must be long enough to extend above the center of the dash. Now pour the
rubbing alcohol into the upper end of the tubing using the funnel.
Continue adding more alcohol until it starts to spill over onto the
floorboard of the car or truck. Don't worry, the alcohol will evaporate
and won't harm the carpet. This will backflush the system and kill the
mold & mildew spores. Now disconnect the copper tubing. If desired you can
collect the alcohol in a cake or pie tin as it drains back out and reuse
A/C now all nice and fresh again, guaranteed.
Now, to keep it nice and fresh, switch your A/C over to max heat about 1/2
block before stopping (every trip). This will dry out the system and
prevent the mold and mildew from ever forming.
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