Ever get in to your car or your friends car and get smacked in the nose with the smell of old gym socks or spoiled cheese? Wonderful experience, isn’t it? Real hard to get a second date with that special someone if that’s what they think of when they think of you! The reason for this stench is mold growing in the air box where a device called an evaporator is located.
The evaporator is a radiator like item that is kept very cold by your cars’ AC system. The warm air is drawn through it, cooling the air that is then pushed in to your car so you can ride in air conditioned comfort. You know from the “cold glass on a warm day” thing that water condenses on cool surfaces, right? Well the same thing happens on your cars’ evaporator. So much water will condense on the evaporator that there has to be a drain tube from that air box. The problem is that not all the water drains out and when you turn your car of at the end of a trip and the interior of that box warms up you now have a lovely place for mold to grow.
Here’s what you do about it: Starting right now, about 5-10 minutes before you park your car, turn your AC off while leaving the fan running. This gives the fan an opportunity to dry the evaporator out and deprive that stinky mold of the water it needs to grow.
Next, to try to kill off that mold, you can spray some kind of disinfectant through the system. Roll the windows down, crank the AC on, not on MAX and don’t press the RECIRC button. Spray the disinfectant through the air vents at the bottom of the windshield behind the hood. Let the system run for 15-minutes or so. This doesn’t always work but it’s cheap and you can do it yourself.
If the home-brewed remedy doesn’t get it done you can bring the car in to the shop where we have some special products that can ordinarily kill off the offending fungus. 90% plus success with this stuff.
Lastly, in extreme cases, the evaporator has to be removed and replaced, the air box mechanically cleaned. 100% success but a bit pricey.
Here comes the pitch! Let us do the work! Your Local Mechanic, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care Tempe. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.