A/C disinfection - am I getting taken?

I went to my local car dealer for my 30K mile check on Saturday. (Let’s just say it has the name of a planet.) And I normally have my service done there since they cost about what it costs to get it serviced elsewhere, and I felt for a long time like they were honest. Now I’m not so sure.

They recommended that in addition to my regularly scheduled service that the A/C be disinfected. I thought that was strange because they recommended the same thing for our other car a few weeks ago when I brought that one in for its reguarly scheduled maintenance. When I mentioned it seemed strange that both cars needed this same thing 3 weeks apart they told me they do it by mileage, and when pressed, they said they recommend it every 20-30K miles. When I told him it still seemed strange since the other car has 40K miles and this one 30K, he told me they suggest it if they see it hasn’t been done recently. I have never heard of it before. Is this a real thing or do they just see me coming?

Unless you have some odors coming from your AC or heating system, I don’t see this as a service needed at a specific mileage. I would refuse. Smells like extra profit to me.

One of three things.
  • They know the car(s) are subject to A/C condensation drain problems, possibly compounded by local conditions.

  • They smelled the beginning of problems.

  • The owner of that Mars Auto has a payment due on his boat.

For vehicles that don’t have an in-cabin air conditioner filter, it might be a good idea. I know my car’s A/C system (which doesn’t use a filter), was pretty disgusting the last time I had it repaired. Imagine what would happen to your home air conditioner if you didn’t have an installed filter. If I was going to do this kind of thing, I would do it every 30,000 miles and I would do it myself to save money.

Ask to read the label on the spray can for possible hazards and ask to see the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the product. Chances are, they won’t show this information to you for fear you will go out, buy a can of the product, and do the job yourself for a fraction of the price.

No stink, no problem. That said, I notice a stink in lots of peoples’ cars that they are not aware of. I am very sensitive to molds. I am a mold biosensor.

What is the charge for this “service”?? They probably just take a spray bottle full of Hydrogen Peroxide and spray it into the air intake. Hundreds of millions of motorists have survived without it…

Sometimes it is needed, but it is easy to do yourself. Replace the cabin filter if equipped and spray Lysol into the cabin filter opening and into the outlet ducts.

If they are spraying hydrogen peroxide into an auto HVAC system and calling it disinfection, they are either applying an effective and safe disinfectant or they are breaking the law.

Disinfectants are registered, tested and regulated by the EPA for specific purposes. You may be free to do it yourself, but the commercial use of pesticides must be done in approved ways.

There are EPA-approved pesticides for HVAC use and it follows that they are safe and effective according to the testing procedures. There are also approved antimicrobial coatings that can be applied to HVAC evaporators either in situ or by removing them.

Disinfection of a dirty system will have little long-term benefit. There can be a temporary reduction of volatile and aerosolizable microbial material, but they will return soon since the system is inoculated with new microbes immediately.

For about $12 you can buy an A/C deodorizing kit which is a fungicide you spray into the air intake with engine running. I use it once a year on both of my cars. It’s called Wynn’s FRESH AIR, and it’s an Air Conditioning and Heating System Odour Treatment.

Very easy to use and very inexpesnive!