Teetotaler's car smells like pot

Good afternoon,

This is my first post so I thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I’m coming to the experts because I’m at a loss as to what to do.

My wife’s car smells like marijuana. Neither of us partake, we have very young children so it’s not them, and our assistant has never even tried the stuff.

Since this is my first post, you may question my integrity and think, “This guy must be smoking something if he thinks I’m buying that he’s not actually smoking something,” but I’m not, nor is my wife.

We’ve searched every nook and cranny of the car but haven’t found anything that might be producing this smell.

The car in question is a 2013 BMW 3 series with approximately 29,000 miles on it.

I’m anxious for a number of reasons:

  1. If my wife is pulled over for a simple traffic violation, the police might ask some difficult questions.
  2. It’s just disgusting
  3. The lease on the car is up next month and we have to return it.

The only time the car has been out of our hands is when our assistant took it to the car wash. The guys drive it through the brushes and then dry it. It’s was only out of her site for a few minutes.

Have you ever heard of something like this? I know it sounds crazy but it’s true and I just don’t know what to do about it.

Again, thanks in advance for your help.

Important question: did you buy the car new or used? when?
When did you first notice the smell?

Smells can permeate fabrics and rugs and are sometimes almost impossible to remove.

If you bought the car new, I would suspect your “assistant”. It didn’t come from nowhere…

You lease, you takes your chances. You don’t know where it’s been.
Yet another reason to buy rather than lease.

Good questions there Bill. How’bout it there OP? Rocketman

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“I know it sounds crazy but it’s true and I just don’t know what to do about it.”

I would try the regular solutions to ridding a car of odors. Why not start with Ozium spray, a couple little spritzes, and see how that goes. It’s some powerful stuff.

When I worked at an airport, decades ago, we sold the stuff to pilots. An otherwise uninhabitable airplane (don’t ask why) could be made quite livable within seconds.

Then if that’s not sufficient, do the bowl of vinegar, ground coffee, in a closed car, etcetera…


And, how do you know what pot smells like ? eh ?
If it is the cheap ‘‘skunk’’ smelling pot aroma . . it may have actually been a real skunk.
Especially if this smell is new to the vehicle.

I spent thirty years playing weekends in the smokey bars.
I stopped in 01 and put the bass guitar away for a while till the doctors at my wife’s work asked me to play some jazz with them.
After 10 years off, the guitar case still smelled of the old bars it spent so much time in when I opened it up. . .for at least the next year !

Yes of course I’ve heard of this… Ive even been asked to install clandestine storage compartments…but I digress.

Mary Wanna…does not leave a lingering scent unless the stuff was stored without packaging actually in the vehicle or on the seats etc…

If you smell marijuana actively…then there is some onboard. Up under the dash…under the center console…WITHIN the Seat cushions… In the compartments of the trunk on the sides. Under the back seat. Behind the glove box…under the dash cover…behind the speedometer. Inside the A/C box where the squirrel cage blower lives. In the cowl area at the bottom of the windshield…Under the windshield wipers. Please dont ask me how or why I know these locations…

Methinks you have a stow away on board your vehicle… You need to seriously search the vehicle…


I leased the car new in 2013 and this smell only presented itself three weeks ago.

Ken Green, so you think it might be a skunk?

I wonder if you have dead leaves in the HVAC system of your car. You might try changing the HVAC filter. This,is,only a guess, but I sort of remember the smell of pot smelling like burning leaves. If leaves got sucked into the air intake, the heater core might be cooking them.

Any chance this could be a catalytic converter odor? Just something for consideration as a converter odor can range from slightly acrid to the smell of a dozen rotten eggs.

If you’re absolutely certain beyond all doubt that this smell is weed then the finger kind of points to this assistant you speak of.
Walgreens sells a marijuana test kit for 7 bucks. That may weed (pardon the lame pun) the problem out.

“If leaves got sucked into the air intake, the heater core might be cooking them.”
A blower resistor gets hot enough to ignite them. Key word = resistor. Think electrical resistance, think toaster element.

Triedaq, I’m 100% positive it’s not the assistant so I can look at the HVAC filter. ok4450, I wouldn’t begin to know how to investigate the catalytic converter. Unfortunately, I’m not a car guy. I am, however, a boat guy.

Hmmm…if the smell suddenly appeared… I’d be looking at that car wash or figuring out where the vehicle was when you were not inside of it.

Weed has a distinct odor and can sometimes momentarily be confused with something else that could be burning…but if its weed its weed… Sure nobody rode the car thru the car wash…just for the ride thru?


The Cabin Air Filter (HVAC filter) Certainly Can Cause A Situation Whereby An Impromtu-Micro-Biology Lab Gives Off Odors That Have Been Described By Some As Ranging From “A Dirty Sock Smell,” To Whatever (Use Your Imagination)…

Look in the Owner’s Manual to see about changing it.


Common sense answer, thank you. This is very helpful. I’m going to follow your advice.

A couple weeks ago the patrol pulled a car over and found the speaker box in the trunk filled. The guy made the mistake of mis-matched screws and sloppy assembly. Too bad you can’t get a scan with one of the drug sniffing dogs but if the dog found anything then what? My nephew bought a car that supposedly was on the road a lot on a regular banking route. It was only a few years old. When he took a trip into Canada though he got stopped at the boarder when they found some hidden pot residue. I suspect his was a delivery vehicle.

Bing, I suppose I could stop by the precinct and ask them to have the dog sniff out the car. I can’t imagine they would arrest me for coming to them with the issue – as long as I didn’t expect to take it home if something was found.

First, I’d find someone who is familiar with the pot smell to check it for you.

Just wondering, is the smell “raw or cooked”? I mean are you smelling weed like in a baggie before it’s consumed or are you smelling the smoke that comes with lighting a joint or a pipe?