Car smells like crayons


I bought a used 2000 saab 9-5 in the winter and now it smells like crayons, a lot of them as it’s a very very strong odor. Noticed this smell after heat runs awhile or it’s hot outside. No there is no crayons in the vents. What is this smell and how do I get rid of it?


Best guess is that you are smelling antifreeze. You have a leak somewhere. It could be under the hood or it could be the heater core. You need to find the leak and repair it, not always easy to do.


I agree with Steve. To check to see if the heater core is leaking, check the carpet on the passenegr’s side for signs of wetness and get your nose near the carpet and sniff.

Either way, you need to start looking for an antifreeze leak.


It could also be a plastic bag stuck to the exhaust system. Although it’s made of polyethylene plastic, when it burns it smells like waxy crayons.


Three more possibilities:

  1. Mold in the air conditioning vents.

  2. A freon leak in the passenger compartment. The lubricant used in air conditioners smells like crayons.

  3. A kid put crayons in the heating vents.