This is a different question. The other is specifically asking about the use of vinegar to clean a hvac system. This question is not about vinegar, it is about how to seal vents and if sealing is a problem for the hvac system.

I'm working on cleaning some smells out of car hvac system but a bit busy to be working on this at the moment. These smells are making me sick(I'm a sensitive person) however I need to use car in the meantime.

I can live without ac, heat etc so I though why not just seal the cabin vents with some tape as a temporary fix.

  1. If you have ac set to off, heat on 0 etc does that mean the whole system is already cut off from the cabin so there is no need to tape everything? I notice you can push the vent covers around, what is the purpose of these, are they for closing/do they fully close vents? Basically is there a way ensure air is not coming in via the hvac system besides taping all vents?

  2. If I do tape all vents and leave it like that for 2 months or so, could this introduce other problems that I may not be aware of right now?

  • 1
    You can close vent covers by pushing them to side, it will stop the air almost completely, if you want you can tape it. However if vents stay closed for long period especially winter you can get mold in them and make the smell even worse. If you don't know the reason of the bad smell, I would suggest changing your air filter for the coupe.
    – AsenM
    Aug 14, 2019 at 4:49
  • Do the job properly, this will only get worse if you leave it to progress.
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 14, 2019 at 5:06
  • Possible duplicate of Can you use white vinegar to remove ac smells?
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 14, 2019 at 5:07

1 Answer 1


One source of automotive HVAC odors is an old dirty cabin filter. These filters trap all matter of debris and other nastiness in the air. The organic matter can rot and cause odors as well as mold and mildew when combined with humidity. Merely changing a cabin air filter not only will improve the quality of the air you're breathing but also improve the effectiveness of your HVAC system by improving air flow.

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