Strong Acetone smell in my Car

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by Adrienne A., Apr 1, 2021.

  1. Adrienne A.

    Adrienne A. Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2020
    7
    0
    0
    Location:
    California
    Vehicle:
    2020 Prius
    Model:
    LE
    Can anyone tell me if it’s dangerous to inhale this scent?
    I turn in the A/C in a 2020 Prius and the acetone smell is so strong it’s as if I poured an entire bottle in my car, and it’s difficult to get of the scent even after turning off the A/C rolling windows down etc.
    Toyota told me that “Due to Insurance policies they can not tell me if it is dangerous or not”
    I don’t want to harm
    Myself or others it’s just starting to get hot outside. I was sweating today even with my windows down.
    Can I still run the A/C with this strong odor? The air still blows cold, but the scent is intolerable without the windows down and even then it’s crazy strong.
     
  2. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    6,537
    7,133
    0
    Location:
    near Brisbane, Australia
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Not Hand Sanitiser?
     
  3. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

    Joined:
    May 22, 2011
    777
    379
    0
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Vehicle:
    2021 Prius
    Model:
    Limited
    I would approach this as a warranty concern. Maybe try another Toyota dealer? Call their corporate hotline? There is an odd odor in my new car, not really acetone but acetone-like. Difficult to describe but chemical in nature. Sometimes my nose tells me it is a formaldehyde kind of odor, which certainly isn't good. Other days, now that the weather is turning hot, I can't smell anything. Which is strange. You would expect out-gassing as things heat up. Wonder if, in your case, there might be a small leak in the heater core. I'm not aware of any odor associated with the pink Toyota SLLC (super long life coolant) but there might be. Have a dealer service tech take an endoscopic look at the heater core maybe. Keep after it though. Toyota wants you to be completely satisfied with your vehicle.
     
    MPGboss and jerrymildred like this.
  4. FuelMiser

    FuelMiser Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    940
    656
    0
    Location:
    Monument, CO
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Not necessarily. We actually need more information about this situation. We have to know if this scent/smell was a result of a deep interior cleaning process to rid of smoke smell or other foul odor prior to sale to the OP. Acetone is used as nail polish remover. Maybe someone spilled this on the interior. I'd also recommend inspecting the cabin filter to make sure it is not fouled with pet hair or other debris. Perhaps a "detail" shop could identify the smell and suggest a way of ridding.
     
  5. privilege

    privilege Junior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2021
    75
    29
    0
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    yes, acetone is unhealthy.

    in the past when an entire GALLON of milk was spilled in my pickup and left all weekend (rank!!!) to spoil in the Florida sun...

    I cleaned the carpet with heavy soaking of water and extraction, then car cleaners, then water extraction. afterwards I put a squirrel cage fan blowing across from drivers to passengers side with the doors open.

    the odor was gone after the fan ran for a day.

    if chemicals like acetone were spilled, it will evaporate with extra wind across the surfaces
     
  6. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    6,542
    5,480
    0
    Location:
    Redneck Riviera (Gulf South)
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    +1 on more details.
    New?
    Used? Miles?

    Since we already KNOW how Toyota will treat this problem I would suggest A/C on and windows open enough to ventilate while driving.
    Leave the windows partially open while parked if your personal situation permits (crime, weather, etc...)
    If the car was bought used and "deep cleaned" some chemical smell may remain.
    As mentioned....it should dissipate fairly rapidly.

    It may not be dangerous from a health standpoint, but if it bothers you enough to post about it, I would treat it as if there were a potential, albeit minor problem.
     
  7. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    4,911
    2,005
    0
    Location:
    USA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius c
    Model:
    Four
    This is pathetic.
    Assuming that your car is still under warranty, INSIST that they FIX the problem regardless of what it is.
    And contact Toyota directly if necessary.
    And/or contact a lawyer.
    Then there is the EPA, NTSB or NHTSA.

    Oh......is there any chance that you spilled a bottle of nail polish remover inside the car ??
     
  8. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    6,537
    7,133
    0
    Location:
    near Brisbane, Australia
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    I googled "what can cause an acetone smell?" - and worryingly the first 3 suggested DIABETES? But it wouldn't just be in the car.

    Back to the car - have you noticed anything not working correctly - the A/C? Any electrical issues?
     
  9. Adrienne A.

    Adrienne A. Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2020
    7
    0
    0
    Location:
    California
    Vehicle:
    2020 Prius
    Model:
    LE
    It’s a 2020 Prius- Purchased new in late September 2019.

    it happens when the A/C is on cold, and circulate. I haven’t tested it with the heater on. So far, If it’s not on circulate I don’t notice any smell.

    When it happens on circulate it happens fast and is extremely strong, and difficult to get rid of- it gave me a headache (I think- I rarely get headaches and got one right after it happened when I was trying to air the car out) but it went away quickly.

    I have a lot of different odd problems with the car~ Like if the headlights are on, and I press the brake they turn off- or the opposite. Not sure how the headlights would be related to the brakes, but I am not a mechanic. This rarely happens, but it does. Thankfully it’s never caused a crash. I believe my car is supposed to have 3 headlight settings but mine has 2 options unless I’m doing something wrong.

    I’ve been locked out of the car (before I knew an actual key lived in the fob) maybe 4 times only to realize that the front doors were locked, but the back were unlocked. Not sure what that is about.
     
    #9 Adrienne A., Apr 2, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  10. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    6,537
    7,133
    0
    Location:
    near Brisbane, Australia
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Hmmm - I'd be contacting TOYOTA Helpline for advice - all those electrical gremlins etc don't sound right. Particularly the headlights - and the door locks.

    I had a brake-light switch go faulty (when new) - only faulted once, but it left a marker in the Computer. But it advised me that anything to do with the brakes was potentially faulty - so the cruise control, the safety sense, the gear selector (you have to put a foot on the brake to select), etc - about 8 or 10 warnings. I turned it off and on, and it never played up again - the dealer replaced the switch at next service under warranty.

    But the acetone smell is odd.
     
  11. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

    Joined:
    May 22, 2011
    777
    379
    0
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Vehicle:
    2021 Prius
    Model:
    Limited
    Do you mean "recirculate"? As in no outside air? I happen to have a jug of Toyota SLLC premix, which I uncapped and took a sniff. No detectable odor. It certainly is odd, this acetone odor. Can anyone else confirm the acetone odor?
     
    #11 AzWxGuy, Apr 2, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  12. priusman09

    priusman09 I used to be a TDI

    Joined:
    May 23, 2010
    61
    70
    0
    Location:
    wisconsin
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    So have you pulled out the cabin air filter? Maybe a rodent has set up housekeeping on top of the filter? I had this happen on my 09. I saw that there was stuff on top of the filter so I slid in a thin piece of cardboard under the filter so the stuff wouldn’t drop into the system. Then pulled out the filter, vac’d out and replaced the filter. Rodent pee can be quite a strong smell? Worth looking?
     
  13. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    4,911
    2,005
    0
    Location:
    USA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius c
    Model:
    Four
    Recirculate does NOT completely block off outside air. Only about 80%.....for safety reasons.

    BUT.....that might be a good clue.
    The cabin intake that is opened for recirc in most models is VERY close to the glove box.

    Has the OP opened the glove box lately ?
    Maybe something in there is the source of the odor.

    THEN.....I can't really imagine anyone with all these odd problems NOT taking it in to the dealer for warranty service.
    Some of the reported failures could be dangerous.
     
  14. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    10,999
    3,439
    1
    Location:
    Northern VA (NoVA)
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    ditto on Cabin air filter....our RAV4HV smells like needs filter after 12-months/10k miles

    Acetone we used all the time in labs so it is not too bad toxicty, but I suspect you are smelling more like acetic acid/vinegar type sour smell which is what a smelly cabin air filter smells like
     
    #14 wjtracy, Apr 2, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  15. MIkeDr

    MIkeDr Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2020
    95
    54
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Vehicle:
    2020 Prius
    Model:
    XLE AWD-e
    I’m wondering if someone tried to clean the cabin filter. Our Prius is too new, but various GM and Mercedes models we’ve owned would get mold growth on the cabin filters. It is worst when we lived in Arizona. GM even sold a spray to mitigate the smell. We just ended up replacing the cabin air filter every 6 months.
     
Loading...