Mold/Vinegar Smell from A/C

Does your car have the smell?


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    165

Madmolecule

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Not the best solution but I turned off cabin overheat protection and stopped having problems.
I will try this. I tried the let it bake plan and it did not work. The smell came back a couple days later. I was also worried about damaging my car. I was not sure how hot to let it get but at 136F I gave up.
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M3OC Rules

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I will try this. I tried the let it bake plan and it did not work. The smell came back a couple days later. I was also worried about damaging my car. I was not sure how hot to let it get but at 136F I gave up.
It can get to 150-160 degF for sure but this is the same for all cars. They specify the components to handle that heat so it shouldn't hurt the car. Your SSD or Flash drive may not be able to handle the heat(or the cold if you went north) though unless you find one that does meet automotive spec which will be really expensive if you do.
 
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I can not get rid of the smell/STANK! I tried the heater on full blast multiple times. Have even left it on for over an hour. Yes it goes away for a few days and then it returns once again. Therefore i Ordered New cabin air filters and a can of Klima Cleaner and will clean the Coils once my filters arrive. Tesla called me back and wanted $179 bucks for 2 filters and a "Coil Cleaning Treatment". Boogus as i have never had any of my other vehicles in the past stink from the AC. (Not even my 94 Supra stinks). By the way i took delivery of my car in April (5 months ago). I Still love my Model 3 though.
 

zosoisnotaword

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I see that 8 people voted that the smell has returned after cleaning the system and replacing the filters. What timeframe did this occur? Did you do the cleaning or did service? What type of cleaner did you use? Did you clean and replace the filters at the same time? How long did it take for the smell to return? Please advise.
 

rxlawdude

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The elephant in the room is that MANY people have been charged from $115 - $233 (yours truly) for the clean out and replacement filters. Costa Mesa service center was absolutely unyielding that this was a warranty issue.

Seeing all the people who had this done for free is really frustrating. I may just visit the SvC today and try to negotiate my money back.
 

Dr. J

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FWIW, I am finding that I can keep the smell under control by switching Recirc OFF a few minutes before arrival at each destination. I haven't taken any cleaning measures, so I'm sure the odor-causing bacteria are still alive and well. I also use pre-cooling when I remember to, so I may just be blissfully unaware.
 
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The elephant in the room is that MANY people have been charged from $115 - $233 (yours truly) for the clean out and replacement filters. Costa Mesa service center was absolutely unyielding that this was a warranty issue.

Seeing all the people who had this done for free is really frustrating. I may just visit the SvC today and try to negotiate my money back.
Hi,

Dropped off my car this morning and I was quoted about $240 by Tesla in Brooklyn, NY for this service. Kind of ridiculous when you consider that this is a widespread isssue.

I was advised that it’s happening because we live in a humid place. When I questioned why my other vehicles (BMW/Infiniti/Benz) never had this issue, they just said every car is different.

Kinda ridiculous if you ask me, being that the issue is SO widespread.

Mike
 
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@ateslik , any update on this? Given the temporary nature of most of the proposed solutions, I've been waiting until the promising/permanent one becomes available. Did Tesla fix you up yet? Curious what's in that kit.
Forgot to mention I inquired about this small kit and was informed that there was a FW update coming that would address this issue.

They didn’t know anything about a kit to fix the problem.

Mike
 

Enginerd

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was informed that there was a FW update coming that would address this issue.
I'm also confused about the "FW update" claim. Several months ago, we got the FW update that runs the fans for a while after you've parked to dry out the system before fully powering down. Is there another FW update to address the issue? And if so, does anyone know what it is? Or what FW it's in?

I personally believe that the service centers just babbling about the FW update that we already have (which helped, but hasn't completely solved the problem). I think the "FW update" is just something they say to make the folks with complaints go away... while hoping that someday, Mother Tesla will come up with a real solution.
 
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I'm also confused about the "FW update" claim. Several months ago, we got the FW update that runs the fans for a while after you've parked to dry out the system before fully powering down. Is there another FW update to address the issue? And if so, does anyone know what it is? Or what FW it's in?

I personally believe that the service centers just babbling about the FW update that we already have (which helped, but hasn't completely solved the problem). I think the "FW update" is just something they say to make the folks with complaints go away... while hoping that someday, Mother Tesla will come up with a real solution.
I agree with everything you said. I’m concerned with mold growth in the AC duct and filter so I opted for the service. However, when I posed the following question to the Tesla employee “how do I know this won’t happen again?!”, she opted to tell me there is no guarantee. Additionally, she stated that it would be a good idea to heat the car after ac use.

I dunno. It all seems kinda crazy to me. Still do love my 3, but there has to be some kind of fix.
 

BigBri

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Protip: I've found there are direct from China orders on filters on eBay.

Mine has MOSTLY stayed away. I find on cool and damp days I get a really weird smell from the system. It's got a sour milk kind've smell. It's near time to use the heat in the car so I'm just going to swap my filters some the spring.
 

littlD

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I'm wondering if anyone else like me has been running their HVAC in auto the whole time they've had their car and let the car control the recirc (except a few times I was behind a stinky diesel!).

That's me and Middie, and no smells ever after 38,000+ miles.
 

garsh

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This very issue has plagued many cars/pickups before. The Fusion has a bad problem with it too. It's not just Tesla.
I had this problem on an 84 Accord and a 94 Intrepid. It's a generic problem caused by condensation due to AC use. After owning those two cars, I got in the habit of turning off the AC when I was a minute away from the house, and just run the fan for a while to help clear any moisture away. Because once this starts happening, it seems almost impossible to get rid of it. That fungus just hides in all the cracks and goes dormant when it dries out, and then comes right back again when the environment is moist again.
 
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Some observations the day after getting the service performed. Air is definitely cleaner and the ac seems to be working more efficiently. Feels like it’s not under any restrictions. The rep showed me my filters when I picked up the car and they were indeed filthy.

Also, reiterated to her that some people had spoken about a small kit to fix the problem. She had no clue. Again brought up the FW update that I believe we have all received already.

We shall see how long the fresh air lasts.

Mike
 

TrevP

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My Tesla technician source tells me there's a new function in software 2019.32.2.1 that helps mitigate the problem by running the fan in the HVAC system for a while when you get out to help dry out the filter.

BTW, the cabin filter is only $17 US if you want to buy a new one. Part number is 1107681-00-A

Email from technician:
View attachment 29046
 
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