Chevy truck 2019 2500 has acid smell

Ok so a couple weeks ago… seems like all of a sudden. When I first enter the car after it’s been off( doesn’t really matter how long). Upon getting it there is an acid smell that literally burns my eyes, nose, and throat. Have 3 co worker say the exact same thing. Haven’t done any type of cleaner or spray inside. Once I roll down the windows and start driving it clears up and driving is fine. But WOW when you first get in it BURNS. What the heck is this!? Please help asap!

What might be happening is the interior of the vehicle is starting to out/off gas.

This can cause chemicals that were used in the manufacturing of various materials for the interior of the vehicle to start to release.

This term refers to the release of chemicals that become trapped in a car during the manufacturing process. That new car smell people talk about comes from various plastic and vinyl interior components that eventually break down and get trapped within the car.


Is this truck “new to you”? Or is this a recent problem, not previously occurring?

1 Like

Definitely an unusual symptom. Cleaning chemicals seems the most likely explanation but OP says none have been used. Tester’s idea above is possible, but I’d have guessed that would be more of a problem when car was new, not beginning at 4 years old. hmmmm … OP might want to take a look to see if any of the interior materials are just now starting to degrade. If so, that could be an explanation. Suggest to also check the underside of the carpeting in the area of the cat, maybe that is beginning to melt from the cat’s heat, and the fumes of the melting carpet material accumulate in the car when it is parked. That would be my best guess. The only other thing I can think of is exhaust gas is getting into the car. Exhaust gas is acidic b/c it contains a lot of carbon dioxide. But if that’s the problem, no idea how it accumulates in the car with the engine off. Seems unlikely to be that.

Offgas from vinyl or plastic

offgas haze on windshield

Vinyl and other plastics, when heated can vaporize and eventually settle on the surface of your windshield, causing a smoky film from the inside. I’ve experienced this in my truck, and is a phenomenon I was honestly not aware of until recently.

This is usually more of a problem for new cars, but some say it may be a problem for up to 150k miles.


Some GMs do this by default but not sure about yours. Try setting the A/C mode to RECIRC before shutting off the truck for the night. Does it still smell inside in the morning? You may be able to isolate from fumes in the engine compartment or outside the truck entering through the cowl vent…

Outgassing of plastics is a function of the plastic and temperature. The plasticizers that make the plastic softer are short chain polymers and are more mobile. This mobility translates to diffusion to a low concentration area, typically the surface as the plasticizers evaporate from the surface. It continues forever, but is more prevalent at the beginning of life becasue there is more present.

The easiest way to control it is to use a windscreen sunshade. The window will get hot but the dashboard beneath won’t. While the dash will get to the same temperature as the rest of the cabin that isn’t as hot as if it were exposed to sunlight. There are side window sunscreens too.

Make sure the battery is not the problem.