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The Solution To Smelly Air Conditioning In Cars Is Finally Here

Have you recently said to yourself, "My air conditioner smells moldy." If so, you will be glad to hear that one manufacturer is taking steps to eliminate the issue.

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Smelly air conditioning vents is a problem that owners of every brand of vehicle struggle with. The smell from the AC vents is mold. It grows on the part of the HVAC system in your car, truck, or crossover that stay wet after you stop using the vehicle. In warm, humid climate in particular, like Florida, Georgia, and much of the United States in summer, the condensed water on the evaporator can sit and mold can then have a habitat. Once mold in a car's AC system takes hold, it can be tricky to get rid of it.

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

Every car owner knows that in the summer if a car that has been using the air conditioner is parks, a small puddle of water forms under the rear of the engine compartment. That is condensed water dripping off the evaporator. It's normal, and every AC system, be it in your home or a vehicle will generate such condemnation. It does no harm on the ground. However, it can cause trouble on the evaporator itself and in your vents.

Hyundai is addressing this issue. Designers at Hyundai have created what they term, ‘After-Blow.’ In a nutshell, the system dries the condensate on the evaporator to suppress mold growth in the air-conditioning system. After the engine is turned off and the condensed moisture on the evaporator drains naturally for about 30 minutes, ‘After-Blow’ will turn on and dry the evaporator as well as condensate leftover in the air vents. The system automatically allows influx of outside air during this time to prevent humidity from building up.Hyundai has created both a timer and a battery monitor to ensure the system does not drain your battery. Clever!

Moldy smells in cars is a popular topic in forums where car owners seek help with problems. For example, just yesterday in the Car Talk Community a user posted, "On start up sometimes smell a vinegar odor." Ironically, the user's vehicle is a Hyundai! The answers to the problems by mechanics in the group is that this is mold from the evaporator.

Hyundai has even more improvements to vehicle HVAC systems in store. To learn more check out our deeper dive on the upcoming changes.

John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he designed a vehicle HVAC system for an electric vehicle as part of his mechanical engineering program. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on the Torque News Facebook Page, and view his credentials at Linkedin
Images Courtesy of Hyundai Media Support

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Craig Verret (not verified)    May 3, 2021 - 6:58PM

My 2019 Hyundai Elantra has gotten crushed concrete dust in the AC system and I need help getting it out. The system from the front of the car to the vents inside needs to be cleaned or purged to get the dust out. Any ideas or where I can get this done would be greatly appreciated.