A/C startup vinegar aroma?

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by pineprius, May 23, 2017.

  1. pineprius

    pineprius 15th Hole #4

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    There is a slight and only for a minute smell of acidic acid (vinegar) upon starting the A/C. Has anyone else experienced this? Changed the cabin air filter and pushed the pulse fresh air button, but still happens.
     
  2. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    Common issue with the Prius. Entire section about this somewhere in the forums here at Priuschat. I suggest putting in the search bar "odor with AC on" or something like that. Basically it is nothing to worry about and some found some work arounds to getting rid of it.
     
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    try turning the a/c off as far from your destination as possible, with the fan on high as a regular routine. this helps reduce moisture collection in the vent system.
     
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  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Nothing much to add, except my editorial obsession: it's "acetic" acid.
     
  5. Pluggo

    Pluggo Senior Member

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    Keep a flow-through box of baking soda under the passenger seat.
     

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  6. markabele

    markabele owner of PiP, then Leaf, then Model 3

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    I second this comment. Even turning the ac off and fan a notch or two higher for a minute or so before you stop each time does the trick. Kind of annoying, yes, slightly. But worth it.
     
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  7. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Mine came that way (used) but it was more of a musty smell. A couple good long sprays of Febreze into the intake with the A/C full blast on fresh air rather than recirc and also vent with fresh air finally seems to have fixed it. I sprayed a long time but it came back in about a week. Did it again and it's been OK now for well over a month. It helps to run A/C and/or vent on fresh air periodically to dry it out. I like to start out that way in the summer anyway because it's faster to cool the 95° incoming air than the 140° air inside the car. Once it cools down inside, I switch to recirc.
     
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  8. gallde

    gallde Active Member

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    It's ALIVE! The odor is from decaying mildew. Dry out the evaporator (A/C off, fan on) as others have suggested before shutting down the system. Can also use a mildewcide sprayed into the A/C intake plenum after taking out the cabin air filter, but be sure to wear a particulate respirator when using it.
     
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  9. QuantumFireball

    QuantumFireball Active Member

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    I sometimes have this problem too, especially in damp weather or if it hasn't been used in a while, though I'd describe it more like a "wet dog" smell. It's no worse than the A/C in my previous car though (it's better if anything). I should try turning it off and leaving the fans running before stopping more often.
     
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  10. pineprius

    pineprius 15th Hole #4

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    Appreciate the responses. Previously had told my wife (her car) to turn on the fan to high with fresh air. Did not do it, but now will. Seems drying out the evaporator is the solution. Thanks all.
     
  11. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    I think it's still a good idea to pray something in there to kill the mildew AND run it on fresh air to dry it. Just drying it is not going to do nearly as much good.
     
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