How do I fix the musty smell coming out of my car's a/c?

Are there any good ways to fix the musty smell in my car’s air conditioning? Every time I fire up the air conditioner, a musty smell comes out. It’s strong enough that I don’t even like driving anymore.

Eric Schad · Answered on Nov 08, 2021
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Musty smells coming from your A/C are less than ideal, but fear not! There are a few ways you can fix the musty smell in your a/c like changing the cabin filter or spraying an odor eliminator.
To change your cabin air filter:
  • **Remove the glove box by lifting it out of its slot. You may need to take out a few screws first.
  • Once you pull out the glove box, you should see the air filter.
  • Snap the air filter out of its spot and replace it with a new one—you can find which type of filter you need in the owner’s manual.
  • Replace the glove box.
If replacing the filter doesn’t solve your problem, spray an odor eliminator in your car:
  • Start by turning your air conditioner to high and running it for a minute.
  • Spray the odor eliminator in and around your vents.
  • Use your owner’s manual to locate your intake vents—they’ll usually be outside your car by the windshield wipers.
  • Spray the odor eliminator into the intake vents.
  • Open your windows and keep the air conditioner on to let it air out.
Congratulations! Your car should now smell fresh and clean! If it doesn’t, have a professional check it out. Mechanics can be pricey, but it’s better to pay than drive around in a smelly car.
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