Now that the weather is heating up and the days and nights are getting warmer, more and more drivers are turning their air conditioners on for the first time. After a long cold winter, you may be doing the same, firing up the AC and waiting for that first blast of cold air.
When you turn your automotive air conditioning on for the first time, you expect to be cool and comfortable. What you do not expect is a rush of malodorous air – or the overwhelming smell of mold.
The Smell of Mold
If you smell mold when you turn on the air conditioning in your car, you need to find the root cause of the problem and correct it as soon as possible. Some of the reasons your automotive AC smells like mold are relatively innocuous, while others could be quite serious.
A number of things can cause you to smell mold when you turn on the AC in your car, so it is best to work through each possibility until you find the culprit. Here are some of the reasons turning on the air conditioning in your car could trigger the smell of mold.
Contamination Under the Hood
If there is contamination under the hood of your car, the smell will likely enter the passenger cabin when you turn the AC on for the first time. As the air circulates through the vehicle, the smell will quickly permeate the entire passenger cabin, creating a decidedly unpleasant driving experience for you and your passengers.
It is time to lift the hood and look for problems, especially nests that rodents may have built over the cold winter months. If you suspect any damage, you should bring your car in for service right away, before the damage has a chance to spread.
Hidden Flood Damage
The smell of mold could be a sign of a serious problem. If your car has hidden flood damage, the mold could have grown to a point where it is easily detectable.
Flood damaged cars are not uncommon on the market today. The rash of recent hurricanes left enormous flood damage in their wake, with hundreds of thousands of cars underwater and unscrupulous dealers scooping them up in droves. If you inadvertently bought one of those flood cars, you could be looking at serious damage – and a big repair bill to set things right.
If you smell mold when you turn on your air conditioning, you need to find the source of the problem. A mold smell is not something to ignore, and the sooner you address the issue the better off you will be.