AC bad smell

I have a new 2015 infiniti QX50 with only 1000 miles. Sometimes the air that comes in from the vents when the A/C is off or on at low fan smells bad, something like feet! This happens around 20% of the time and it only lasts between 20 seconds and 5 minutes.

I used to park the car for around two weeks under trees. Leaves and little woods covered the hood. It was then cleaned by the dealer and I never parked again under the trees.

The dealer (without any inspection) is suggesting to replace the cabin air filter! But if it is the cabin air filter causing the problem, then the smell would be continuously coming out. However it comes out for a short time then goes away.

What your guess would the problem be? What do you recommend?


It is still worth while to take the cabin air filter out and inspect it and also see what is going on around there, like it is wet or no.

The cabin air filter should not be difficult to get to. Your owner’s manual should explain how if not just search on the net and someone sure has posted how to access.

VERY Common… My Fav “solution” is Bleach…sent right up the drain tube…its fun when it drips back out an into my eyes or up my arm but hey my AC smells like the Ocean now. Haha

No telling what funky foot smelling funk is festering in there… I do believe they also sell other products on the market to try and deal with this…but nothing…and I mean nothing works like bleach up the drain tube


My approach would be to replace the cabin air filter and inspect that area for the presence of leaves, twigs, acorns, etc. Then, I would use a generous dose of Frigi-Fresh, which I have found to be very effective for sanitizing the HVAC system’s ductwork. You should be able to find this product at your local Napa store.

Thanks everyone! Cabin air filter was replaced today on the warranty. It did actually have a sour funky smell. Now it’s all good!

Blackbird how do you get the bleach up he drain tube?

I have a Pump that can be switched from Pulling fluids IN…to pushing them out… Its called the “Vacula” they make many different styles of vacuum pumps. The tubes it uses are those semi rigid translucent plastic type… You can do whatever you can imagine with the thing.