My car has a smell in it which I dont like. I dont know if it should be described as a musky smell because some may describe as a fragrance and others as dusty.

Anyway I cant pinpoint what it is however when doing some work on steering coloumn area I noticed this brown substance which may be lubrucating the steering wheel positioning mechanism.

I wondered if this might be the cause of the smell in my car however when I touched and smelt it I didnt really smell of anythong or maybe Im wrong.

Do you know what this brown substance is and does it smell like anything Ive described/might it be the cause of a smell in the cabin?enter image description here

  • If your vehicle has cabin filters, change them.
    – Moab
    Jul 31, 2019 at 22:20
  • If you touched it and doesnt smell its probably not that. Do you live in humid or wet climate? Does your car leak? If so It could be wet carpets. Aug 1, 2019 at 8:52

1 Answer 1


That just looks like grease to me.

The most likely cause of a smell is your air conditioning. Because moisture in the air condenses on the air conditioning evaporator in the passenger compartment, bacteria can grow in there and cause a smell. You will most likely smell this most when the fans are turned on.

Partially blocked air conditioning moisture drain pipes can increase the chances of this happening, so these should be checked. It is also possible to get some antibacterial treatment for the a/c to get rid of the odour.

I guess the first thing to answer, is does your car have air conditioning?

  • yes it does have ac and I think you are right about it not being the grease. having changed the cabin filter I notice some improvement and the smells do seem to be coming through vents so it probably is the hvac. Aug 6, 2019 at 0:33

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