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Does Your Toyota Camry's AC Smell Moldy? Here's What may be Causing the Smell

A new lawsuit sheds some light on why some Toyota Camry cars have smelly AC.


A lawsuit against Toyota by owners of Camry cars claims that Toyota improperly designed the air conditioning system causing bad smells. The crux of the matter is a design which allows bead bugs, leaves and other organic matter to collect and stay moist, causing mold to grow and thus results in smells.

The lawsuit against Toyota was detailed by the publication CarComplaints. The publication has a section where owners go to report issues they have with their cars. In 2010, an owner with the username redeitze wrote in. The post explains the problem, saying, "The smell is terrible and the windows are fogged up on the inside every time I get into the car. The Toyota dealer wants $8,000 to demold the interior of the car and for me to authorize seven hours of labor just for them to find the problem! I cannot afford to spend this much money on a car that is almost five years old. I have read about others having a similar problem. Toyota should step up to the plate and provide me with another vehicle as I cannot afford to purchase another brand-new car." Clearly the mold issue is not just a minor issue.

The lawsuit is filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. A judge found that Toyota knew of the problem and even created technical service bulletins detailing the issue. Claimants even showed a manual which mentioned the potential problem. This evidence and more convinced the judge to allow the lawsuit to move forward.

Those owners interested in this class action suit should contact Captsone Law APC of Los Angeles, California.


Mark Day (not verified)    October 10, 2017 - 2:06PM

"...Toyota knew of the problem and even created technical service bulletins detailing the issue."

Usually, a TSB solves the problem. Not in this case?

Barbara LeBlanc (not verified)    March 19, 2019 - 3:35PM

My 2018 Toyota RAV4 is only 6 months old with 11,000K and the AC smells like vinegar. But the dealership doesn't seem to think there is a problem. I also have a smell of syrup which to me is a leak with the transmission coolant system. But they said there is no leak. I'm reading all the complaints about the AC odor of mold and I didn't pay all this money to have problems with my car smelling bad and a leak that may be serious but the dealership doesn't think there is an issue.

Jeffery Hughes (not verified)    August 14, 2020 - 12:24AM

2010 Corolla had the a/c discharge hose clog all the time and needed blown out. The dealership said it happens all the time. Our 2012 Camry now has a horrible smell and I had to blow out the discharge hose. Still has a bad smell and can’t get rid of the smell. Have sprinkled baking soda everywhere with no help.

Jeff (not verified)    September 29, 2020 - 1:13AM

In reply to by Jeffery Hughes (not verified)

Sold our 2010 Corolla because the A/C discharge kept clogging. Now our 2012 Camry has a nasty smell. Had the Sun roof adjusted, because the driver side corner was lower than the roof. Also has the sunroof drains blown out after checking to make sure the A/C discharge was clear. Had the inside detailed and left an open container of Tea Tree gel in the front up holder to eliminate the smell. It’s getting better.

Zach Schriver (not verified)    September 28, 2020 - 11:15PM

2017 Sienna just bought in may 2020. AC has a musty smell and my girlfriend is highly sensitive to mold. We recently moved out of our house because of a improperly ventilated attic. Now the vehicle may have mold in it. I need to check the internal air filter and I don’t really know what to do after. Helppp! Should I contact Toyota. This just sucks.

Frank (not verified)    November 16, 2020 - 9:57AM

I smelled this in mine too after the car was parked for two days and it rained heavily.. I am in humid florida so the a/c is necessary.
The solution I found online for me was to turn it off and blow just outside air" in for a while. Not the a/c smell is gone. Someone said the a/c evaporator line keeps moisture and stenches up unless you let n fresh air **outside** for a couple of minutes at strongest.
Is this the best they can do?

Debra Nichols (not verified)    May 4, 2021 - 2:41PM

I had to sell my 2020 Camry because of the mold smell . I would have asthma attacks every time I drove my Car .

Debra Nichols (not verified)    May 4, 2021 - 4:35PM

Had to sell my 2020 Camry because of bad mold smell . My asthma attacks occurred when I turned the AC on. Could not drive my car for several weeks.
So upset … this was my dream car .

Walter Cox (not verified)    June 17, 2021 - 1:23AM

My 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid has this nasty smell when I turn the ac off and have the blower working. It’s terrible and is the same as my old 2015 Toyota Corolla …. Toyota won’t do anything about it

Daniel Fried (not verified)    September 13, 2021 - 12:48AM

In 2016 I purchased a Certified Camry LE from the dealer (biggest Toyota dealer in Cleveland OH). I started to get sick just after 1 week of owning the car. The mold and vinegar smell was giving me bad asthma like symptoms. The Dealer sprayed a fungicide into my car, but the sickening smell came back in 5 days. Looked up the problem, and found there were various lawsuits against Toyota for the exact problem I had. I could not feel comfortable selling such a vehicle to anyone else, so I sold the car back to the dealer after owning the car for just 3 months. I figured the dealer will have to deal with that problem--not me. I Meanwhile, I took a $3000 loss in the process of selling the car back. Toyota ignored my complaints of the sickening smell. Because of that, I decided to buy a Kia Optima (2016), which is now 5 years old. There is no smell in my Optima. Toyota should be ashamed of themselves for not fixing the problems. I used to be a loyal Toyota customer, but because of that experience, I shopped other brands.

Maurene April Hanner (not verified)    June 8, 2022 - 9:12PM

I have a 2021 Toyota Camry. Every Time I turn on my Camry I have a mold smell coming thru my AC unit. I have a important on Saturday to see what is making the smell.

Copeland Cole (not verified)    August 26, 2022 - 5:29PM

I bought a 2021 Toyota Avalon that has a moldy stale smell upon starting if it sits for more than an hour or so. I AM sick from it today! First time I took it in they checked the cabin filter and it was fine. The interior windows of the Avalon are coated with a dirty substance, which can only come from the AC. Taking it in Monday and they can keep the damn car until they fix it.

JB (not verified)    September 17, 2022 - 2:16PM

Thank you so much for this video!!! My car REEKED. It was awful and my kids were embarrassed for me to drive their friends. This fixed it so quickly!!