Mold/Vinegar Smell from A/C

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Does your car have the smell?


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    189

Mesprit87

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:D:D
You can say that again. I had to put the front seat all the way back, recline the seat back, lie on my back with my lower half on the seat, and slip my head into the passenger footwell in order to get at it
In the Lotus world, we have a running gag, we call it assume the Lotus position !
 

Technical48

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Mobile service cleaned the AC evaporator with Kool-it and replaced the filters on my Model 3 last week and it seems to have cured the problem. The filters were $36 which I paid and the labor was waived since they also replaced the charge port pin deadfronts during the service call. I didn't mind paying for new filters. Generally I find Tesla's parts cost to be quite reasonable. Then again I've owned Audis for the last 16 years where at the stealership a tiny vacuum check valve sells for $50 so that's my reference.
 

Madmolecule

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I think I am going to try the Kool-It route as this is the response I received from Tesla today:

"At this time we are completely out of cabin filters and they are currently on back order with no ETA when they will be available. The price for a tire rotation will be $114.00."
 

evannole

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I think I am going to try the Kool-It route as this is the response I received from Tesla today:

"At this time we are completely out of cabin filters and they are currently on back order with no ETA when they will be available. The price for a tire rotation will be $114.00."
My local service center told me that I could get them from mobile service, which did have them even though the physical service center did not. They had me submit a service request in the app. Mobile contacted me and told me the price of the service, and I told them that I would prefer to just buy the filters and do the work myself. They left them with the Marietta service center and my wife paid for and picked them up today.
 

Madmolecule

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I was hoping to get mobile service. I put in my address for the mobile service and then I chose August 9th for my on-site service visit, hoping by then a mobile guy would be available. For A tire rotation and cabin filter I could wait weeks for the mobile guy, to avoid waiting on it, or getting a loaner. Is there a way to select mobile service only? The message I received was a text from Tesla Alpharetta.
 

Jason F

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Two weeks ago I decided to try something I saw in a service report someone posted. I ran the heater on high at max fan speed with A/C off for about 20-25 minutes. I didn't expect it to actually work, but there's been no hint of a mildew smell at any point in the last two weeks. As everyone knows, it's usually the most detectable when the HVAC system first starts up. I've gotten in the car every day without preconditioning, including many times after being parked in the afternoon sun. There's nothing but freshness. I used to also smell it when I cranked the fan to 10 to dry out the coils. That's gone too.

I would recommend doing this while parked on someone else's electricity. I lost 2% while plugged into a 3.3kW circuit. I still plan on doing the evaporator cleaning and filter change at the end of summer (October), but since my air has been clean for two weeks so far this seems to be a good temporary solution. Hopefully I didn't bake any crud on the coils. I'm also still using the same prevention methods I mentioned in an earlier post, so maybe it'll last.
Guys try this. I did it today and smell is gone.
 

AJA

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Two weeks ago I decided to try something I saw in a service report someone posted. I ran the heater on high at max fan speed with A/C off for about 20-25 minutes. I didn't expect it to actually work, but there's been no hint of a mildew smell at any point in the last two weeks. As everyone knows, it's usually the most detectable when the HVAC system first starts up. I've gotten in the car every day without preconditioning, including many times after being parked in the afternoon sun. There's nothing but freshness. I used to also smell it when I cranked the fan to 10 to dry out the coils. That's gone too.

I would recommend doing this while parked on someone else's electricity. I lost 2% while plugged into a 3.3kW circuit. I still plan on doing the evaporator cleaning and filter change at the end of summer (October), but since my air has been clean for two weeks so far this seems to be a good temporary solution. Hopefully I didn't bake any crud on the coils. I'm also still using the same prevention methods I mentioned in an earlier post, so maybe it'll last.
I tried this two days ago and it worked extremely well. The odor is 90% less. I will try it again today burn off the last of the odor .
 

Dogwhistle

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I tried this method, which I saw posted as recommended by a Service Center. Temp and Fan to high, defrost vents on too, and AC on. Ran it for 30 min, which sucked down all the juice my 48A EVSE could provide! The car was crazy loud and water poured out of the drain all that time. So far, no smell!


f6df2619-f894-4012-b31b-23a7ab1effa2-jpeg.28085
70e99053-d4e7-491a-bc95-38fe52f1751a-jpeg.28086
 

MelindaV

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I tried this method, which I saw posted as recommended by a Service Center. Temp and Fan to high, defrost vents on too, and AC on. Ran it for 30 min, which sucked down all the juice my 48A EVSE could provide! The car was crazy loud and water poured out of the drain all that time. So far, no smell!


View attachment 28085 View attachment 28086
my AC just has the faintest vinegar smell for the first minute or so when the AC turns over to recirc, so not as bad as some others, but just did your recommendation, mostly before it gets any worse.
Normally after I drive and park there is very little (if any) dripping from the AC drain. BUT, letting this run for about 30-35 minutes, ended up with enough water to run out, it was enough to pool along the garage door seal and out into the driveway! and the humidity is currently only at 36%, so hardly a humid condition for the AC to be pulling water out of the air!
used 12 miles of range. so significantly less cost than replacing the filters, and/or buying the AC cleaner, or a Tesla service visit.
 

Dogwhistle

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my AC just has the faintest vinegar smell for the first minute or so when the AC turns over to recirc, so not as bad as some others, but just did your recommendation, mostly before it gets any worse.
Normally after I drive and park there is very little (if any) dripping from the AC drain. BUT, letting this run for about 30-35 minutes, ended up with enough water to run out, it was enough to pool along the garage door seal and out into the driveway! and the humidity is currently only at 36%, so hardly a humid condition for the AC to be pulling water out of the air!
used 12 miles of range. so significantly less cost than replacing the filters, and/or buying the AC cleaner, or a Tesla service visit.
Welp, apparently it didn’t work too well. My wife still says my car is blowing stinky air! Her sense of smell is much better than mine.

I did a service center visit a couple of days ago, but they were out of filters so didn’t do anything. Supposedly they’re going to send out a mobile service once they’re in stock. They did check my filters and said they needed replacing.
 

MelindaV

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I don't think the heater actually would get hot enough (82F) to kill off whatever fungus/bacteria/mold causes the smell. The car gets hotter on a typical sunny day than the heater maxes out at - I can see it drying the system out if it is wet, which I can see would eliminate the smell until it gets wet again.
 

Dave EV

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I don't think the heater actually would get hot enough (82F) to kill off whatever fungus/bacteria/mold causes the smell. The car gets hotter on a typical sunny day than the heater maxes out at - I can see it drying the system out if it is wet, which I can see would eliminate the smell until it gets wet again.
The air coming out of the vents is far hotter than 82 at the HI setting. Just ran the procedure for 10 minutes and without AC or Defrost on. I also had fresh air on.
We'll see if that's enough, otherwise I'll go for the whole 30 min, but my car is getting pretty stinky.
 

BigBri

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Mine has come and gone. I've found the heat method does fix it for a week but it's not killing all the bacteria as it's coming back. So I've resorted to using a can of Kilma cleaner right onto the evaporator. Hoping this is the end of it. Filters were pretty dirty so I've banged them out and vaccumed the folds.
 

Dave EV

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Just ran the procedure for 10 minutes and without AC or Defrost on. I also had fresh air on.
We'll see if that's enough, otherwise I'll go for the whole 30 min, but my car is getting pretty stinky.
10-min wasn't enough with temp HI, fan 10, AC-off and all interior vents activated, all windows open, drivers side door open.

Also tried ~25-30 min with temp HI, fan 10, front-defrost on, but that wasn't enough, either.

Both tries worked for a couple trips, but after sitting in the parking lot all day, the smell was back at the end of the day and as strong as ever the next day.

For those who the high-temp blast worked, what were the exact settings you used?