Lately I have noticed, just after switching on the A/c, I smell some sort of a vinegar/mayonnaise mixed smell for about 5 mins, post which it disappears automatically.What could be the possible cause, is it something to do with the cabin air filters? Few friends suggested to check the A/c water drain system, is it got to do with water not coming out during A/c operation?

Any suggestion would be of great help. Thanks

  • 1
    What year is the car? I've noticed this as well in my 2010 VW at times. – JPhi1618 Apr 13 '16 at 14:08
  • Its a 2011 1.6 lts AT 4 door Sedan – Youbaraj Sharma Apr 13 '16 at 14:13

You have mold in the A/C system.

To fix it, do the following;

  1. Remove the cabin air filters. Buy new ones - they're pretty cheap. Even if you don't want to buy new ones, however, still remove them.

  2. Open all the car windows. Turn the engine on, and put your A/C on at full speed, with fresh air selected (not recirculation)

  3. Get a can of Lysol or Ozium. Spray it into the passenger air intake (the grill part at the rear of the hood, before the windscreen). Spray both sides, and use the entire can.

  4. Leave the engine running for about 20 minutes, with the windows down. Consider leaving the windows down overnight, if the car is in a garage.

  5. Put your cabin filters back in (preferably new).

That should sort it, but if you're in a humid area, you may need to do this every other month or so, as those bacteria just keep coming back.

  • Thanks @pete for the wonderful suggestion. I tried out the pointers mentioned by you in last two days. The odor has definitely reduced but not gone completely. I will take it to service center tomorrow for their advise as well. But the car definitely smell better as compared to last week, oh! it was horrible. – Youbaraj Sharma Apr 17 '16 at 9:25
  • Sorry for being late in accepting this, however the service center also followed almost the same process, except they told me the main mold formation was on evaporator hence they had to open and clean it. – Youbaraj Sharma Oct 18 '16 at 6:14

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