Our car smells like Band-Aids

Our 2002 Acura RSX has 130K miles on it, and just recently the HVAC system seems to smell like bandaids. Help!

Keep an eye on your coolant level as I think you may be loosing some. Common areas are radiator cap, heater core, or loose hoses. If you are not mechanically inclined have a mechanic check it out. An oil leak may cause the same smell conclusion. You have something leaking somewhere, now to find it. If you are really lucky a new cabin filter or blowing out the AC drain may help, so many options.

First, check your cabin air filter. It’s probably caked with a thick layer of dust and stink.

Look under the car and see if a plastic grocery bag has melted onto any part of the exhaust system.

Check that the evaporator drain is open and draining water when the A/C has been runing for a while. You might have the beginning of mold growing on the evaporator core. Search ‘friggie fresh’ and you should come up with a some suggestions for curing mold in the HVAC system.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for the help on this. Well I changed my airfilter and looked for plastic under the car. It still smells! I will look at the AC drain/evaporator drain next. Are they the same thing?

Coolant looks a little low so I’m worried it could be the heater core, but the windshield isn’t fogging or anything. btw, if it is, it’s unhealthy to breathe in those fumes?

It definitely is unhealthy to breathe aerosolized coolant.
Many years ago, I was unwittingly driving for several weeks with a leaking heater core, and the result was some very nasty lung problems.

You need to refill the coolant and carefully monitor the level daily in order to see if the level drops. If it does, I suggest that you get the car to a trusted mechanic a.s.a.p.

If it needs a new heater core, be prepared to pay…perhaps as much as $700-800 for replacement. The part is relatively cheap, but the labor involved can be incredible. On many cars, it is necessary to remove the entire dashboard in order to access the heater core, and I would be very surprised if dashboard removal was not necessary on your vehicle.