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 Post subject: mildew smell from ventilation system
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 11:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:13 am
Posts: 84
In the last week, there's been a discernible mildew smell, especially upon beginning a drive, coming from the vents. Any advice?

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 Post subject: Re: mildew smell from ventilation system
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 11:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 73
Location: Fremont
Maybe change the cabin filter? See other thread re: Cabin filters not included in Toyota Service.


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 Post subject: Re: mildew smell from ventilation system
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 12:49 am 
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Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 1:53 am
Posts: 30
This has been noticed before by others. May be the design of the a/c system. If you can figure out where the air intake for the a/c is, try running the a/c on recirc and spray some Lysol into the intake and let it run for a while.


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 Post subject: Re: mildew smell from ventilation system
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 6:12 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:10 am
Posts: 43
Location: Solvang, CA
Every make has been having issues with it lately. They best thing to do is try and turn off the ac a few min before home, this should dry out the evaporator. If you want something to get rid of the smell go to your local Mercedes dealer and ask for a bottle of "contra-sept". It will take the smell away, you just have to spray it on the evap.

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 Post subject: Re: mildew smell from ventilation system
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 8:49 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:30 am
Posts: 134
Location: Gardena, CA
Official Explanation from Toyota:

http://toyota.custhelp.com/app/answers/ ... curring%3F

Also, a thread on PriusChat regarding the smell. Not unique to our vehicles, but seems to be prevalent with the HVAC system in Toyotas. I wonder if Lexus has the same problems?

http://priuschat.com/threads/musty-smel ... tem.46571/

I have tried the alcohol blowout described on PriusChat with some success (which was referenced from Toyota, but I can no longer find that). Basically, turn the fan on full blast, fresh air on, A/C off. Then with a 1:5 isopropyl alcohol to water solution in a bottle, spray directly into the air intake located at the base of the windshield, both above and beneath the hood. Spray lots of it in there and then spray some more so that the fan can suck the alcohol into the evaporator. I am unsure if there the cabin filter will block that solution so you may want to remove that prior to spraying. Your car will smell of alcohol immediately following this. You might want to ventilate at this point. a cheap way to disinfect your evaporator.


it seems to work. also, making sure that the A/C is off a few minutes prior to arriving to your destination with the fresh air enabled (no recirculation) will help dry out the evaporator and reduce the ability for mold and mildew to grow.

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 Post subject: Re: mildew smell from ventilation system
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 2:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:26 am
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Location: Austin, TX
Mine seems to be the worst when I turn off the A/C and just run the blower.

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 Post subject: Re: mildew smell from ventilation system
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:56 pm
Posts: 132
Location: Webster, NY
I had the same problem on my 2002 Camry and 2011 Sienna.

If you can turn off the AC a couple of minutes before your destination you will dry out the evaporator. I probably only remember one out of three times but that seems to be enough to keep it under control in my other Toyotas. I have not noticed it in the Rav4 yet.

Mike

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 Post subject: Re: mildew smell from ventilation system
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 5:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:13 am
Posts: 84
The problem just started about 2 weeks ago, coinciding with a nasty heat wave in SoCal. It goes away after a few minutes, but the smell is pretty bad. I've never had this in any other car I've owned. This is my first Toyota.

I got home a little while ago, left the car on in the garage, and put the vent on full with recirculation. I then sprayed in the alcohol mixture recommended above. Sure enough, the alcohol smell came through the vents. I repeated it 2 times, then let it run for another 10 minutes. I'll report back later with the results.

Thanks for all the advice.

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2016 Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell
2013 Silver Rav4 EV, # 2206
2012 Chevy Volt (sold when I got the RAV)
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2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition


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 Post subject: Re: mildew smell from ventilation system
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:48 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:36 pm
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Brand new 2014 Rav4 with 5,000 miles. Mildew odor started after a couple car washes, but no idea if that's related. Garage kept. Smell starts coming out of vents about 20 seconds after start up and tends to go away after 5 minutes, or we just get more used to it. Glad to hear that this is a common problem but as others have posted, this is the only car I've ever owned with this issue. It isn't normal, it's probably not healthy, and we shouldn't have to accept it. Took it to the dealer this morning and they blew out the cabin air filter and said to drive it with the A/C off so the vents can dry out. That's not a fix in my book.


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 Post subject: Re: mildew smell from ventilation system
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:13 pm
Posts: 1800
Location: Los Altos, CA
If you turn off the A/C 5 minutes before you get home, it won't develop the smell overnight and blow it in your face in the morning.

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