Ford Taurus with foggy windows

I drive a 2004 Ford Taurus with 45,000 miles on it. I live in Minnesota and we’ve had some cold weather recently. When I turned on the heater, warm moist air came out of the vents and condensed on the inside of the cold windows. I had to open the windows to clear the windshield so that I could see where I was going. This has never happened before. What could be causing this problem?

Does that moist air smell sweet? If so it is new heater core time. Check the coolant level before you drive again.

If it is not sweet smelling then check the re circulate setting. You want fresh air not re-circulate.

Now if it is sort of moldy smelling, then the condensation drain is likely blocked. It normally comes out as a small rubber hose under the car in front of where the passenger puts their feet. Some string trimmer line carefully pushed up there will usually result in a rush of stinky moldy water and it will be fixed.

Good Luck

Agree; it has to be one of the two, or both.

Your recirculate/fresh air door might be stuck in recirculate. You may be able to see the door near the firewall and the where a tall passenger’s right foot might rest. I am not sure about the Taurus. If it is there, you should be able to see it operate when changing between the max and normal AC positions. You may be able to hear it operate in a normally-functioning Taurus. Often a change in the sound of the blower motor can be noted as well if it is operating at high speed.

Thanks for the advice. I think that the air smells moldy but I can’t find the condensation drain hose. I don’t have access to a lift and I can’t see it when I look underneath while lying on my garage floor.

I can’t find the recirculate/fresh air door. It’s not where you assumed it might be. I also ran the air conditioning on high and cycled back and forth between A/C and Max/AC but I didn’t hear any door opening/closing. I’ll continue to search for that recirculation door. Thank!

It also could be your A/C system. Alot of people don’t relize that when you use defrost that it also should turn on your A/C compressor to remove the humidity in the air. Start your car turn it to defrost and then look at your A/C compressor to see if the center is rotating. If it does not at any time then I suspect your A/C system may be at fault.

Typically the sound of the AC blower gets louder when in the recirculate mode because the opening in the car is pretty close to the blower. When the door is in the fresh air position the sound level goes down because the blower is then in communication with the outdoors rather than the cabin. You might be able to find the recirculate air intake and see if the air flow changes in response to the switch position. Hold a tissue in front of the air intake if you can find it.

I just took my car to a mechanic who verified that the the heater core is good and that thge condensation drain is not clogged. But the foggy window problem persists. Any more ideas?

I just took my car to a mechanic who verified that the fresh air door is not stuck. But the foggy window problem persists. Any more ideas?

The center of the A/C compressor is rotating.

I agree with Skypilot, that the A/C, so there is a possibilty that the unit has lost the charge and cant’t dry the air properly. Next stop, an A/C check-out.

You didn’t track a bunch of snow in the car with your boots? That will always challenge the defroster. Also maybe a clogged cabin air filter is restricting air flow. It Would be time to change it anyways if it has never been replaced.

Good guess!! But the cabin air filter was replaced last month. And the problem occurs even when there is no snow in the car. Thanks anyway. More ideas please!!!

I want to thank everybody who has taken the time to respond. My most recent hope was that my A/C charge was the problem. I just got back from the mechanic’s shop and he verified that the A/C is working fine. This problem is absolutely driving me crazy!!! I’m ready to unload this piece of junk Taurus and buy another car. Thanks again to everybody for all your help.

Just a quick question -

After they fog, do the windows clear quickly?

Most every car I’ve had will fog briefly when I turn on the defrost if the car has been sitting closed up outside after a run for awhile. Just a little moisture trapped in the car that the defroster isn’t strong enough to remove the second it is turned on if the heater core isn’t warmed up yet. If I run the car for a minute or two then turn on the defroster, no problem.

Works this way on both my Camry and my Taurus (97). Its a little worse on the Taurus, but it still literally takes oonly about 2-3 seconds to clear the entire windshield after it sort of flash fogs… Doesn’t happen all the time, but I’ve never lost any coolant, the A/C is absolutely frigid and the heater can still blister my knuckles.

Just seems like there’s a big difference between a quick fog and immediate clearing and a fog that happens and doesn’t go away… want to check what you really are seeing happen.

Is the inside of the windshield clean? A dirty windshield will fog very easily. NOte that in cold weather the AC will not operate. The high pressure switch will prevent it. Even though that is true, the heated air coming into the car should be very low relative humidity. For that reason, this is a difficult problem to understand.

The fog doesn’t go away until I open the back windows for awhile. Then I freeze for a few minutes, close the windows, and drive until I can’t see outside anymore. Then I repeat the cycle.

Make sure there is no snow clogging or blocking the air intake. In cold cold weather you sometimes get the fogging if you don’t start the blower when the heater is still cold. I used to live in that kind of weather.