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Faint Exhaust Smell in Clothing (09 Nissan Rogue)

I have a 2009 nissan rogue that when driven for 30 minutes or more with the ac on leaves my clothing smelling like exhaust (faint smell). I have had the dealership look at the car and they cannot find anything. We have replaced the interior cabin air filter and I still find the smell. this is not something that I notice while driving until I have been in the car for 30 or so minutes. My wife also notices the smell in her clothes after driving and now won’t drive the Nissan. We are running the car with maximum AC turned on with the air recirculation button on as well. SO, theoretically, no outside air should be getting in but it still seems like our clothes smell like we have been in a traffic jam with the windows down after 30 minutes of driving. Does anyone have an idea of what is happening and how to address this?

If you think that you are smelling exhaust fumes in the car’s cabin, the one thing that you absolutely DO NOT want to do is to run the HVAC system on the “recirculate” setting. The smell of exhaust coming from other cars might be annoying, but if it is coming from your own car, this situation is potentially deadly, and by recirculating the cabin air, you are actually increasing the CO concentration in that air.

I suggest that you do the following:
Place a battery-powered CO detector in the car.
Hopefully you have one in your house that you can simply detach from the ceiling temporarily.
If you don’t have one at home, this is your opportunity to buy one, use it first in the car, and then install it in your house. All homes should have a CO detector!

After placing the CO detector in the car, take a “typical” drive for 20-25 minutes or so, and see if it alarms. If it does not alarm, then you probably do not have a problem with your car’s exhaust system. No matter what else you do, you first need to eliminate this possibility.

thanks, the dealership claims that there is not co getting into the cab but I like your suggestion. and, the ac only runs on maximum if the recirculate setting is on so I will have to try it on another setting to see if anything changes. thanks for your input!

The only thing that “MAX A/C” does is recirculate the interior air.
Regular A/C is the same but brings in outside air. That is why it doesn’t feel as cold on really hot days.
Your A/C system runs the same both ways.

Excellent post VCD. If I could use the agree button, I would (it doesn’t work in my version of FireFox). I will only add that the CO detector should be put on the floor of the vehicle for this test, CO is heavier than air. When you install it in your house, it should be low, not up at the ceiling for the same reason.

Also, to the OP, if CO is getting in your car, it would most likely come in from the rear, not the front and it will settle on the floor of the vehicle. If you are using interior air, then you are sucking air from the floor, through your vents. Try outside air for awhile.

Did you buy the car used? If so it is possible the previous owner was a smoker and you are getting second hand effects. If so recirculate would be the wrong setting.

thanks everyone!