How do I get rid of odor in my car air conditioner?

I've been using my car's AC a lot throughout the summer, but the air blowing out has a strange smell. What causes AC to smell bad?

Matthew Macgugan · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
“Nobody wants a smelly air conditioner! This is usually caused by bacteria or mold that has grown in your car’s HVAC system. Luckily, getting rid of it is pretty easy.
Here’s what to do:
  • First, roll your windows down and turn your AC on low.
  • Then, get a can of disinfectant and spray it into the plenum, which is the air intake for your system. It’s located at the base of your windshield and looks like a grate or vents.
  • Next, the fans will pull the mist into the system and kill the bacteria that’s causing the musty odor.
  • Last, you should take out the cabin air filter. It’s usually located behind the glove compartment door. This will allow for the moist air and cleaner to circulate and dry.
Something else that can make owning a car stink is paying too much for car insurance. Use the
app to compare quotes from 50 of the nation’s top providers so you can save money on a new policy.
Stay cool!”
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Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

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