Ac/heater vent ghastly odor sweet and urinelike that either spews or quietly leaks out of the vents


#1

DID NOT WANT TO NOTICE IT THE FIRST SUMMER I PURCHASED THE CAR…HOPED IT WOULD GO AWAY…NEVER DID…ONLY DETECTABLE IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER THOUGH AND… WHEN I BEGIN TO USE THE AC!
MY TIME IS LIMITED TO BE FOOLING AROUND WITH THE HYUNDAI DEALER I PURCHASED IT FROM…I WORK ALOT AND CANNOT POSSIBLY CONTINUE ON AS I FEEL THEY ARE DISINTERESTED IN MY TERRIBLE DILEMMA.

I FINALLY BROUGHT IT TO THEM…A FEW MONTHS AGO…WITH MY SUSPICIONS THAT IT BE A FAULTY CONNECTION OF SORTS WITH THE HEATER CORE AREA…AND AFTER TALKING WITH A FEW PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE FAMILIAR THAN I AM WITH CARS…I PUMP GAS…FILL MY WINDSHIELD WIPER FLUID…AND IF I HAD TO…I COULD CHECK MY OIL…

THEY TOLD ME THEY SMELLED ‘NOTHING’…AND THAT IT MIGHT BE AN ANIMAL IN THERE…CHANGED MY AIR FILTER…SHOWED ME MY OLD FILTER…WHICH I THEN ASKED TO HOLD AND SMELL…JUST TO SEE IF I COULD SMELL ANY REMNANTS OF MY ONGOING PROBLEM…NADA…NOT ONE SNIFF OF ANYTHING! THE MECHANIC THEN WENT ON TO POINT OUT THAT IT LOOKED LIKE A DROP OF ANIMAL URINE ON MY FILTER…TO BE HONEST…I SAW NO DROP OF URINE…MAYBE HE NEEDS GLASSES…AND A NEW NOSE WHILE WE’RE AT IT…I PAID THE 70 DOLLARS FOR THE NEW FILTER…NO PROBLEM…IF THAT WOULD HAVE FIXED THE PROBLEM…I WOULD HAVE BEEN THRILLED…
NOPE…NO SUCH LUCK…AS SOON AS I GOT IN MY CAR…THE ODOR WAS STILL THERE…THE DEALER SHOP WAS CLOSING UP…AND I WAS AGGRAVATED…HAVING TO DRIVE AWAY…WITH THE SAME ODOR…

I CALLED THE SERVICE MANAGER AGAIN…THE FOLLOWING WEEK AS I WANTED TO BE ‘CERTAIN’ THAT THE ODOR WAS STILL THERE…
HE TOLD ME THAT I WOULD HAVE TO LEAVE THE CAR AGAIN OVERNIGHT SO THEY COULD LOOK FURTHER BUT STRONGLY SUGGESTED THAT INSTEAD…
I CALL MY INSURANCE TO SEE WHAT THEY WOULD COVER IF I TOOK IT TO A SPECIALIST THAT WOULD UNRAVEL AND CLEAN OUT WHAT THEY THOUGHT WAS AN ANIMAL NEST OF SORTS…
THE MECHANIC FURTHER WENT ON TO SAY THAT HE SAW SOMETHING OF THE LIKE IN ANOTHER VEHICLE AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER…SO NOW? I’M CONTEMPLATING…MAYBE??? IT IS AN ANIMAL INSIDE? I HAVE TO BE OPEN TO ANY AND ALL OFFERINGS AS I AM SEEKING A SOLUTION…
SO I TOLD A FEW THAT I HAD ORIGINALLY TOLD OF MY CAR DILEMMA…
THEY TOLD ME THAT THE DEALER WAS YANKING MY CHAIN…TO TAKE IT BACK THERE…DEMAND THEY FIX IT…AND…GIVE ME A RENTAL CAR AS WELL.
SO NOW…I CALL THE DEALER BACK…THEY ARE MILDLY ANNOYED WITH ME…AS THEY REMEMBER THAT I HAD ORIGINALLY DROPPED OFF MY CAR…WITH PRINTOUTS FROM THE INTERNET ON FAULTY CONNECTIONS LEADING TO THE ANTIFREEZE AKA HEATER CORE AREA…THEY TOLD ME THAT I COULD DROP THE CAR OFF OVERNIGHT AGAIN…WITH NO RENTAL GIVEN AS THEY DO NOT PROVIDE THAT…
HONESTLY…I WOULD PAY FOR MY OWN RENTAL …IF I THOUGHT I COULD “TRUST” THEM…TO DO THE RIGHT THING WITH FINDING AND FIXING THE PROBLEM…

I AM ‘NOT’ SURE AS WHAT TO DO NEXT : (
I WILL BE PAYING ON THIS CAR FOR YEARS TO COME…

COULD IT BE AN ANIMAL? IF SO? HOW COULD THE ANIMAL OR ANIMALS NOT HAVE DIED…I ‘KNOW’ WHAT A DEAD ANIMAL SMELLS LIKE…AND THE ODOR IS ‘NOT’ I REPEAT…NOT…LIKE THAT AT ALL! IT IS ON THE SWEET AND URINE IDEA…PS…I HAVE NEVER SMELLED ANTIFREEZE…HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE…BESIDES INFORMATION I HAVE GOOGLED ONLINE?

IF IT IS THE HEATER CORE A/O FAULTY CONNECTORS…WHY HASN’T THE DEALER EVEN MENTIONED THAT AS A POSSIBILITY…

I AM DESPERATE FOR ANY AND ALL OPINIONS…ADVICE…SUGGESTIONS…AS I HAVE GOT TO GET THIS RESOLVED…
PLEASE HELP…AND…THANK YOU VERY MUCH!


#2

sorry, i started to read your post, but the all cap thing gives me a headache…


#3

Agree with @wesw here. Why would you write with the caps lock on?


#4

You say you don’t know what antifreeze smells like. Just open your radiator cap or coolant recovery tank and take a whif. Couldn’t be easier. Be sure the engine is cooled off when you do this.


#5

well I struggled thru your post, now I have a headache, so please try to type regularly if you reply.

I believe your car is still under warranty, though I did not see the make, model, or year listed.
I believe you can go to another dealership if that is the case.

one other note, you said you can check the oil, if you have to.
I would suggest you check it weekly as a rule along with your coolant level, which I would check daily until you are sure this problem is not heater core related.

running too low on oil and coolant can ruin your car in short order.


#6

Make, Model, Year, miles? Under factory warranty or not? I had a leaking heater core once, the windshield fogged up, coolant dripped out of the heater outlets and of course the coolant smell.

Recently I had a dead animal smell start coming out the vents of my 2013 Equinox. I pulled the filter out and found the remains of a nest and some scat. I did not find any animal remains. This thread describes the ordeal.

http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/2299275/mice-nest-in-ductwork/p1

Since the Lysol treatment I have not noticed any smell. By the way, coolant and dead animal smell nothing alike.

Wesw has good suggestions. Try another dealer or an independent mechanic. Note, breathing coolant vapors is not good for your health.

Ed B.


#7

I call the smell “stale curry”, and it is almost always a leaking heater core. Years ago I took my Caprice into a Chvrolet dealer nearby after having the same symptoms. They said they would take the afternoon to locate the problem, and get back to me.

I called my regular mechanic from their office and he confirmed the heater core and quoted $250 or so to fix the problem. I gave the diagnosis to the Chevy guys and the estimate. They charged more of course.


#8

I suggest that the OP do the following:

  1. Have an independent mechanic check for evidence of a leaking heater core.
  2. Check your oil on a regular basis.
  3. Stop typing in ALL CAPS, as it is equivalent to shouting.

#9

A mechanic could insert a small camera into the vents and snake it down to see if there is a nest or some sort.

I assume you are smelling something moldy or musty.

  1. spray a liberal amount of Lysol into the vents and let it sit about 10 minutes.
  2. remove cabin air filter if the vehicle is equipped.
  3. with blower on high with A/C on spray entire content of can into the air inlet where the cabin filter goes.

that should help.


#10

I saw the OP’s screen name and decided I did not care. Then saw long post and really did not care.


#11

OP has never returned…year, make and model is unknown…

“AC/HEATER VENT GHASTLY ODOR SWEET AND URINELIKE THAT EITHER SPEWS OR QUIETLY LEAKS OUT OF THE VENTS”…

What, exactly, does THIS mean??? Is there LIQUID spewing and leaking from the vents or is this strictly an odor problem with no liquids involved…

Just by reading you post, I can see why the Dealership is getting shy when you call…


#12

Dead Mouse or Chippy!!!

I wasc wondering where my limburger sandwich went.

Yosemite


#13

Believe it or not, I once had a cat pee on the bottom of my windshield and it went down the vent intake. The cat left footprints and the smell is unmistakeable if you’ve ever owned a cat. I mixed up some warm water & Dawn and poured it down, followed by buckets of water. That took care of it.


#14

yeah cat urine has real staying power, it`s hard to get rid of that smell.cat urine has some pretty nasty airborne viruses in it too,so if you can smell cat urine chances are your breathing those viruses too.

The part in OP post about stuff 'spewing" out of the vents sure makes it sound like liquid is coming out of the vents and not just odors.liquid coming out of the vents is a sure bet the heater core is leaking.


#15

I stopped, when people offer me cats explaining that the wife is alergic and we are not cat fans.

Now I just tell them, “No thanks, my freezer’s full”.

Yosemite


#16

If you’ll post the year, make, and model of the car perhaps one of us can find an exploded view drawing of the ductwork that would enable you to try removing the ductwork in pieces and cleaning it all out with a disinfectant. It’ll probably be a full weekend’s project, but it is an option.


#17

hello all…and thanks for the replies…it is a 2012 hyundai accent…i have no cat…and it is a sickly sweetish urine like ‘odor’…it’s not spewing liquid…but i have ‘choked’ on the strength of the horrid smell…time and time again…and…there does seem to be a slight film on the inside windshield…there are very few times …since the beginning of spring…that the smell does not come out to play…like today for instance…around noonish…it was sunny and dry out…so…no detectable smell…coming home tonight…the smell…is back…not full force…but it is there…
i do not want to fix it myself…i need the dealer to fix it…but i need to gather as much evidence as i can…to support the ‘leaking heater core or connection’ theory…an animal …would have been dead by now, no? also…there are no sounds or signs of an animal…i do not hear scurrying or whines or scratching…wow…there is a wide variety of thoughts here…i sure wish i could connect with someone who really has had a problem with the heater core and or connections in a ‘newer’ vehicle…i have been breathing in this stuff for a long long time…should i trust the dealer again…and…rent a car …and leave mine so they can …hook it up to check for leaks or whatnot?? this is a pain in the knuckles…who to trust?
how much would it cost to have an independent person do inspection?
if it’s the heater core…hyundai should pay for it…not me!


#18

If it is a leaky heater core, the coolant level should be dropping in the radiator overflow tank. Only remove the cap when the engine is cold. Mark the cold level on the tank with a Sharpie, it make it easier to see any drop in the level. Again, coolant vapor is not good for you. A visit to another Hyundai dealer or an independent mechanic for a proper diagnosis might be in order.

Note, I never heard any noises in my Equinox before the dead animal smell started and I found a nest on top of the cabin air filter.

Ed B.


#19

In an earlier post I suggested you take off the radiator cap and smell the coolant (anti freeze) in the radiator to see if it smells the same. Have you done that yet?


#20

Air conditioning odor is a common complaint in my location. There isn’t enough humidity/condensation to rinse the contaminants drawn from the vehicle occupants from the evaporator coil.

When drivers rely too much on “Recirc” respiratory moisture is collected on the evaporator coil and when parked the bacteria will incubate in the 140F HVAC unit and emit a foul odor upon restart.

The anti-corrosive coating on the evaporator coil used by some manufactures can react with respiratory bacteria and produce an ammonia like odor. From about 1996 to 2006 I was paid one hour labor to apply a cooler coil coating to reduce this odor on vehicles still under warranty. Some owners returned the following year to complain again about a dirty A/C system but usually without the ammonia odor.

The easy solution is to turn off the recirculation or “Max A/C” feature on the A/C control. Fresh air will be much cleaner and the odor will go away in a few days. I only use recirc when stopped at a traffic light to keep the engine heat out of the A/C system. Most of my customers use recirc continuously and when I enter and start the car I find the air dirty and disgusting.