Gettin' the Stink Out

What’s the best way to get the stink out, when you’re driving past something a little… malodorous?

That was the question this week on Car Talk from Eileen, in Truckee, California. (You can hear her call with Tom and Ray, right here.) Should she roll down the windows as quickly as possible, as her hubby suggests? Or roll them up as fast as she can, as she thinks is right.

Or, could the answer depend upon where you are, in relation to the roadside putrid odor? That was Tom and Ray’s position: keep the windows up if the stink is still to come, and windows down if you’re past the danger zone.

What’s your suggestion, for getting the stink out as quickly as possible? Share your findings, right here.

99% of the time the best thing to do is close the windows. But that’s only the beginning step. Next you change the HVAC settings to recirculate/air conditioning on/high fan. If it’s cold outside, turn the temperature control to warm or hot.
When you’ve cleared the stink zone, return settings to normal- unless it was a skunk, in which case you might have to take special measures when you get home.

Agree with charlie shugart- to keep the smell out you need to set the HVAC to recirculate. Same goes for keeping out dust, smoke, etc. Surprised Tom or Ray didn’t mention it!

Just do what I do… never shower, never use deodorant, never brush your teeth, and always wear the same pair of underwear (until they disintegrate). My philosophy is if you smell worse than anything you may ever encounter you will never have to worry about it.

It doesn’t really matter if you aren’t driving a new vehicle.
My mother has a 2001 Oldsmobile Silhouette, and driving 50 down the two-lane, there isn’t much time to do all those things. So what she does is suffer through the immediate nastiness, then roll down the front windows and open the rear wing windows. The cross-ventilation clears the stench in no time.

I, however, drive a 91 Ford Explorer, so I don’t have that option. I just roll the windows down.

Tom & Ray finally got one right. Works every time.

What smell? With my hay fever it is not an issue.