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Pieces of foam from AC vents in a 2004 Lexus

I have read about this problem in cars that are 12 or yrs older; we have a 2004 Lexus 430LS and a 2004 Lexus GX470 and within a week, both cars starting spewing bits of foam. Another family member has a Lexus 2001 RX300, a much older car, and has never had that problem. we were told at the dealership that is is because the car is “old” but I don’t buy it.

The foam is from the various doors in the ventilation system to prevent them from making noise if they should slam shut. Over time this foam material begins to break down or becomes disattached from the doors and gets blown out of vents. I’ve seen this happen to many vehicles. And I tell people it’s not worth it to tear the ventilation system apart to remove the rest of the foam and install new foam.


thanks - I just think it’s odd the older car has never had this and both of the newer ones do

Perhaps they used better glue or better foam in the older car. Or maybe Toyota got a bad batch.

It depends on the type of foam and the adhesive that was used to attach it.


The HVAC vents do contain some soft foam-like material that deteriorates and dries out over time, so it is not unusual for some particles of this material to come spewing out of the HVAC vents after 7 years or so. IIRC, this happened to my 2002 car when it was about 7 years old.

Your dealership is correct about this happening because of the age of the car. As to the family member with an older car that has supposedly not exhibited the problem, the possibility exists that this person is not as observant as you are.

Since it would be quite expensive to access all of the HVAC ducts in order to replace the degraded foam-like material, I suggest that you just live with the situation. You may lose a slight amount of air flow as a result, but the difference is negligible.

In the meantime, start thinking about your next car. You will probably want to replace this car in another couple of years anyway, so I suggest that you just “live with” the situation until then.

Well, there’s another possibility. It wouldn’t be the first time a mouse has tried to make a nest out of that material. I thought one of my vehicles was impervious because it had a cabin filter at the fresh air inlet. Wrong. Anyway, just pointing out another possibility…