What Could Be Causing a Musty Smell From Your Car’s AC?

Have you noticed a musty smell coming from your car's air conditioning system lately? If so, you're not alone. Many drivers experience a strange musty odour emanating from the vents, which can be both unpleasant and concerning. Fortunately, a few possible causes could explain why this is happening, and you'll want to know what they are so that you can take action. After all, while the smell may be unpleasant, it could hide a much larger problem.

Mould and Mildew Growth 

The most common cause of a musty smell coming from an automobile air conditioning system is mould or mildew growth. This can happen if the AC system is left running for too long without proper maintenance or if any moisture has been able to penetrate the system. When mould begins to grow in the AC system, it produces that unmistakable musty odour. Fortunately, this issue can usually be resolved by having your vehicle's AC system professionally cleaned and serviced.

Dirty Cabin Air Filter

Another potential culprit could be a dirty cabin air filter. This filter helps keep dust and other debris out of your vehicle's interior, but when it becomes dirty or clogged, it can start to give off an unpleasant odour that may resemble mildew or mould. Replacing the cabin air filter should resolve the problem quickly and easily.

Leaking Refrigerant

Some people think that a smell like this is linked to leaking refrigerant. However, this is most likely to give off a sweet scent rather than something noxious, due to the ethylene glycol contained within the refrigerant mix. Still, leaking refrigerant is a major problem by itself, as it could cause the AC system to fail completely.

What to Do Next

In most cases, you are best advised to take the vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible and schedule a complete AC overhaul. They'll be able to identify the smell and tell you whether it is linked to mould and mildew growth, dirty filters or poor maintenance. They'll also check the refrigerant mix just to be safe and recharge that to bring everything back to normal condition. Whatever you do, don't leave this to chance or simply deal with that smell any longer. It's an indication that things are not right, and should the system fail for a relatively small reason, it could generate knock-on effects that could damage the evaporator, condenser or other parts. 

For more info about car air con servicing, contact a local company.