Flushing/Cleaning the Cabin Air Intake

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by paggage, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. paggage

    paggage New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2021
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    Location:
    Atlanta
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius
    Model:
    Four Touring
    I have a Prius 2018 4 Touring that was parking for about a month in the winter. It seems like a rodent might have made the air-intake its (temporary) home. There is a really bad stench of urine (or ammonia) that comes when we switch on the AC/Fan. To figure out where this is coming from, I did a bit of A/B testing.

    1. Kept the AC/Fan ON while taking in air from the outside,
    2. and then kept the AC/FAN on while enabling re-circulation. (I am assuming the air from the outside is not taken in while re-circulation is on)
    3. I also cleaned the cabin air-filter to see if there was any change - unfortunately there was no change.

    What I found is that the stench seems to be in the cabin when the AC/Fan takes outside air, and is super-mild when the AC/Fan is set to re-circulation model.
    From these experiments I am hypothesizing that the rodent seems to have done its deed somewhere in the air-intake, and hence we can smell it when the outside air is taken in and not while re-circulation is on.

    We even took it to the local Toyota dealer and they sent us away saying that this is the job of a car-detailing expert and nobody at Toyota could would be able to help us. I was hoping that they might be able to spray some liquid, foam etc that would give the air intake a bit of wash.

    I have looked up for auto-detailing services who might be able to clean the ducts, but I have not found any as yet. The only solution I can think of is liberally spray the air-intake with Lysol and then spray water into the air-intake. And do this a few things till the stench reduces when taking in outside air.

    Any suggestions? Advice? I would be extremely thankful!

    PG
     
  2. robsnyder20

    robsnyder20 Active Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    SW Florida USA
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    I would do an evaporator flush and spray the air vents with some kind of neutralizing deodorizer spray. Toyota makes it and does it as well. You can also get a kit on amazon for around $20 to DIY. There should be some instructions on how to do it on this site.
     
  3. paggage

    paggage New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Atlanta
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius
    Model:
    Four Touring
    @robsnyder20 thank you! Does this mean that the smell could be coming from areas after the air-intake?
     
  4. robsnyder20

    robsnyder20 Active Member

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    Location:
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    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Since no one else chimed in to help you with this, on the passenger side of the car there is a intake grate and you can dump a half bottle or whatever amount you deem necessary of Lysol deodorizing spray or stronger stuff into the intake while running max speed fan with fresh air intake engaged. The kit toyota sells or most other dealers have (GM, KIA, ECT) are all about the same. The aerosol stuff is on the left, but feel free to substitute Lysol, or whatever your local auto parts store has as well.

    If you want to do the complete cleaning...The stuff on the right with the tube gets jammed into the drainage port. Locate this while parked after running the air conditioning for a while. Its basically a hard tube that comes out at the bottom of the car around the passenger wheel and will be dripping like crazy if youre in a hot humid area. Turn off the car and remember that location. After a while, you can put the evaporator core cleaner up and use roughly half the bottle to clean the evaporator out. Feel free to substitute another brand your auto parts store or amazon carries as well.

    I also noticed it helps to keep the car smelling fresh by sticking an air freshener in the glove box. When switching to recirculate, that scent will get pushed thru the vents when switching it over FYI. Good luck.
     

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  5. paggage

    paggage New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2021
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    Location:
    Atlanta
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius
    Model:
    Four Touring
    Thank you! This is super detailed. I will try this out and update you! I hope to get rid of the smell! a sincere thanks, again!
     
    robsnyder20 likes this.
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