Urine smell coming from air vents

I bought a 2010 Chevy Impala LS last month. There was a hint of urine smell coming from my air vents yesterday but today it is unbearable.

There was a heavy smoke smell, but I had already gotten it out for a few weeks now.

An animal has either peed in your intake vent, which is on the outside just below the windshield, or a rodent has gotten into the vent and is nesting - mice aren’t particularly fussy animals and have no problem with eliminating where they live.

It’s also possible an animal has marked its territory - once I had a cat pee on my car tires during the summer, and the smell would come in through the air vents.

Were I in your shoes I’d first inspect the cabin filter - if there’s a hole in it, or mouse droppings or a ball of wadded up material on it, you know you have rodent problems. If that didn’t turn anything up, I’d get the car detailed (tell your detailer you want the urine odor taken care of) and hope it was a one time thing on the part of the offending animal.

Had a cat pee in the intake vent. Took a bucket of hot water with a good splash of Tide mixed in and sloshed it down the length of the vent. Waited 15-20 minutes then rinsed with three more buckets of hot water. Worked for me.

@insightful & @shadowfax;

Time to put out a bowl of milk for that cat …hooked up to the stick welder!!!


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I certainly hope you’re joking

The odor is caused by using “Recirculate” continuously.

Respiratory moisture containing bacteria collects on the evaporator coil, then incubates in the heat after the vehicle is parked. The protective coating on the evaporator reacts with the bacteria and produces the ammonia odor.

The easy solution is to use fresh air when possible, the odor will go away in a few days.

There is a GM service bulletin for this issue, it involves installing an after run module for the blower motor to dry the evaporator or switching on the factory feature if equipped. The second step is to apply an evaporator cooler coating to insulate the factory coating.

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Or you could have a problem with the heater core. Though that typically has a “sweeter” smell. Just another suggestion. Good luck.

In addition to Nevada’s helpful suggestion, I will add another hint:
Go to an auto parts store, and buy an aerosol can of Frigi-Fresh. Follow the instructions on the can–using more than one treatment if necessary–and the odor should go away.

I had a dead animal smell in my 2013 Equinox. A critter had built a nest on top of my cabin air filter.

Replace the cabin air filter, it should be behind the glove compartment. The Owner’s manual will have the procedure. I sprayed a can of Lysol into the windshield cowl vent with the heater fan on full speed to get rid of the smell. That was 3 years ago.

Ed b.

I already have a can of Dakota Products Non-Smoke, which I used to get rid of the smoke smell in my car along with steam cleaning all of the seats. I just sprayed it in my air intake and it smells fine now, so I’ll just wait and see if it lasts, i.e. if it just masks the odor.