2007 Subaru Forester smokey odor

I have a '07 Forester purchased new. It now has 22K miles. It has almost always occasionally emitted an odor that smells like cigarette smoke in the cabin. It seems better if the recirc button is pushed but it seeps in anyway.

Generally the car is running for awhile. It doesn’t seem to matter if the weather is cold or warm, with or without the AC or heat. I’ve taken it to 2 dealerships and no one knows what it is. They changed the cabin filter a few months ago but it still smells, although less. Lately it isn’t as strong but it’s still there. I wonder if it’s something to do with the catalytic converter, which was recently recalled to remove a valve. But it doesn’t sound from the description that that’s the problem.

Has anyone had something similar with this or another car? Any suggestions?


I would have them check on your exhaust system for any oil deposite on it. Could be any thing from power steering fluid, engine oil or transmission fluid. It might just be a very minor leak that is dripping on your exhaust system. Are you having to add fluid to any of the above?

Thanks so much for your quick reply and suggestions. I don’t think I’m losing any of the fluids you mentioned but I’ll certainly double check. Someone suggested that awhile back and I checked and didn’t find anything, but I’ll check it again and post the answer.

Again, thanks so much! Happy New Year