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BeerSteakTxas
2012 Camry LE
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My service rep told me he sees hundreds of these cars and everyone at the dealership is frustrated because they cannot solve the problem once and for all. It seems they are all upset with Toyota.
That's is extremely unusual and strange, cuz most of dealers hear very few complains, especially about stinking AC, at least here in muggy and hot TX :).
Kool it and vent you AC a few min prior to shut down. It really works.
 

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This is what I've found from months of research and talking to Toyota techs and my own trail and error.

Airing won't work if you don't do the other three things as Toyota described. Of course this is after you have changed the filter and sprayed the intake.

Each and every time you take the car out you must:
1. for 20 min run the cabin circulation
2. 2 min before you get home turn off circulation and turn on blower full force
3. if car will be sitting, open windows a little so car is not so sealed
Skip one of these above steps and you will have the problem immediately.

And who on earth can remember all this each and every time? I usually end up sitting in the garage going thru the steps. A big pain in the rear especially for the age we live in! I don't know how these salesmen sleep at night. Pox on the car manufacturers who have allowed this to continue without warning.
 

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BeerSteakTxas
2012 Camry LE
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10,494 Posts
Each and every time you take the car out you must:
1. for 20 min run the cabin circulation
2. 2 min before you get home turn off circulation and turn on blower full force
3. if car will be sitting, open windows a little so car is not so sealed
Skip one of these above steps and you will have the problem immediately.
It's not that complicated. :) Here is my personal experience:
Last time I cleaned my condenser 2 years back and (it was my second) and just a few month ago I replaced my second interior filter (second one in 3.5 years). I run my AC on recirculation most of the times, but pretty often (as a precaution) I'm switching to "outside air" to create more condensation and wash out the condenser just a few min before turning the AC off and "venting" the condenser. My car is sitting on an open (no shade) parking lot for 8 hrs M-F and I never left my windows opened (I like my interior clean and want no dust inside) and I have no stink since I cleaned my condenser for the second time.

I had and used a few different cars before and while some of them (older Audi 100, 94 Legacy, 98 Q30, 2001 and 2000 Camry) never stank, others (1998 F-150, 1999 BMW 325, 2007 Passat, 2007 Camry) had stinky AC and I had to foam it down time to time, but I was never "washing out" the condenser before venting it out and stink was coming back again and again.
My buddy had a 2013 Accord and he had the same issue till I told him to switch to outside air for a few min. before venting his AC.
 

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X - Camry '07 SE
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6,179 Posts
I tried all that, it didn't help.

Now I will just use my car like normal and it smells......... clean. I no longer can smell the bubble tile cleaner, but the AC coming out is just air. No weird odor. I should have done it years ago, I was just lazy. :lol:
 

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I have tried cleaning the HVAC system with a special spray from the parts store. That didn't even touch the problem. I have tried running the air on full blast with OUTSIDE air instead of RECIRC right before I get home. That doesn't do it either. I have sprayed Lysol, a half can into the air input vents (right under the wipers, under the hood). I have done this twice now, leaving the air on full blast for fifteen minutes with OUTSIDE air. I still have the problem. This sucks. I absolutely LOVED this car, but now I won't even drive it. It sits in the garage, and I pay the payments and insure it. For NOTHING. I took it in to the dealer and they said they didn't smell anything and NO ONE in the history of time has EVER brought their car in for smelling bad when they started it. I think they are trained to deny the problem. This sucks. I am trying the heater thing next. I will let you know. So far, I am very disappointed. This is the most expensive car I have ever bought and it stinks---literally.
It's not that complicated. :) Here is my personal experience:
Last time I cleaned my condenser 2 years back and (it was my second) and just a few month ago I replaced my second interior filter (second one in 3.5 years). I run my AC on recirculation most of the times, but pretty often (as a precaution) I'm switching to "outside air" to create more condensation and wash out the condenser just a few min before turning the AC off and "venting" the condenser. My car is sitting on an open (no shade) parking lot for 8 hrs M-F and I never left my windows opened (I like my interior clean and want no dust inside) and I have no stink since I cleaned my condenser for the second time.
Yes indeed, I completely agree with David. I am in NY and my car had the same odor 2 years back. I switched to carbon filter. Never had any treatment done. I usually use recirc all the time just to get better cooling without straining the AC too much. On my last two minute drive I turn the AC off and just have the fan running on 2 or 3 (won't even realize the warm air since the cabin has been cooled already). By the time I park the moist air is already out of the system and I don't smell anything when I turn on the AC on the next drive. Hope this helps..:smile:
 

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I'm still having this stinky issue. Other people in my car are noticing it too. What do you mean by "washing out" the condenser????
 

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BeerSteakTxas
2012 Camry LE
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10,494 Posts
I'm still having this stinky issue. Other people in my car are noticing it too. What do you mean by "washing out" the condenser????
When you switch to outside it going to suck more moist air from the outside and all that extra moisture is going to turn into more condensation on the condenser and wash off/rinse the condenser, housing and drainage.
 

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We had to trade in our 2013 Highlander hybrid after less than a year (one of the nicest cars we've ever owned) because the mold smell could not be eradicated. We purchased another Highlander but couldn't afford the new hybrid, so sadly dropped down a couple of models. We try to make certain not to run the air conditioning on recirculate. This enfuriates me because we have driven cheaper cars for years without problems. The design of air conditioners has changed and until we revolt nothing will be improved.
 

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2012 Camry 2.5
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210 Posts
We had to trade in our 2013 Highlander hybrid after less than a year (one of the nicest cars we've ever owned) because the mold smell could not be eradicated. We purchased another Highlander but couldn't afford the new hybrid, so sadly dropped down a couple of models. We try to make certain not to run the air conditioning on recirculate. This enfuriates me because we have driven cheaper cars for years without problems. The design of air conditioners has changed and until we revolt nothing will be improved.
All you had to do is run the heat. You actually lost thousands over this?
 

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In my 2010 avalon I had a vomit like odor that turned to a "poop" smell coming from the two vents on the passenger side that I could smell if I put my nose up to them. Got on this forum and I did the lysol spray which helped a lot and also did the kool it twice which seemed to take care about 90% of it. Could still smell something in the passenger vents. Just tonight I rolled the passenger side seat forward and found a sippy cup w/ milk that had blown up all over the carpet right by the vent under the seat. Turns out that was definitely the source of the smell - I'm a moron.
 

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X - Camry '07 SE
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In my 2010 avalon I had a vomit like odor that turned to a "poop" smell coming from the two vents on the passenger side that I could smell if I put my nose up to them. Got on this forum and I did the lysol spray which helped a lot and also did the kool it twice which seemed to take care about 90% of it. Could still smell something in the passenger vents. Just tonight I rolled the passenger side seat forward and found a sippy cup w/ milk that had blown up all over the carpet right by the vent under the seat. Turns out that was definitely the source of the smell - I'm a moron.
if it bug you enough you will have to go do something about it. :lol:

 

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On previous cars I've done the Lysol treatment with great success. I would empty a large can, spraying into all vents, a lot outside by the windshield and in each vent on the inside. I remember there used to be "unscented" Lysol but haven't seen it in years. Pick a scent you can tolerate and after the treatment drive with the windows down and fan on full to dry it out.
 

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2014 Toyota Camry
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Stinky A/C

We have had the same problem with our 2014 Camry. The dealership has replaced the filters, supposedly tore the A/C apart, and admit there is nothing they can do, so the end of story, so to speak. The first time we took it in, they were all completely baffled and acted like we were crazy. Printed off copies of blogs like this one and presented to them and they acted like they were completely unaware of the situation. We have given up and are stuck with this stinky car unfortunately and we love the car. They asked if we would like to trade it in....answer was "no, we would just be stuck with the same problem and more debt". We live in NC and our son has the same vehicle but he lives in WI, and no "stink". We are so disappointed and cannot understand why Toyota won't do something about the problem....not good for their image. We tell everyone we see that is thinking of purchasing a Toyota Camry to beware.
 

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I've been meaning to comment on this thread for awhile now but I've just been busy. I had the awful moldy smell on 2012 Camry and after multiple attempts to get rid of the smell I finally found out a way to get rid of the smell. the smell has not returned since 05/2014. I have a DIY that I did for this forum with kool it and since I stumbled upon a thread on the highlander forum that fixed my problem I no longer recommend my DIY..lol...I read through this thread

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/122-2nd-generation-2008-2013/791210-stinky-ac-smell-2010-hl-ltd.html

and I followed the directions that were on that thread. yes it does involve drilling a hole in your evaporator box and I was very hesitant doing it since at that time my car was fairly new but I did it anyway. I also did not use BG Frigi-clean or Kool it I used "Toyota evaporator cleaner and refresher". It comes with a plastic hose that I stuck in the hole I drilled on the evap case. as I was pumping the cleaner in the evaporator I had the fan on high and to the cool setting. as the cleaner was being sprayed into the evaporator case/ on the evaporator the foam penetrated the system and foam/solution starting coming out of the vents. I put towels down on my seats and by the vents to attempt to collect the solution that was coming from the vents. (solution also comes out of the foot vents under the seat as well) after I finished applying the solution I let the fan run for about 5 minutes (to blow out as much solution as possible). I let the car sit over night and the next morning I had no smell. (just the smell of the cleaner) I did notice about 2-3 days later I had little white flakes coming out of my air vents when the fan was on. they went away in about 2-3 days and never came back. I assume it was the dried up solution finally being blown out of the evaporator case. since this was done I went through 2 summers so far with no smell with just turning off the car and using fresh air/ recycled air with no problem ....hope this help others.
 

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We have had the same problem with our 2014 Camry. The dealership has replaced the filters, supposedly tore the A/C apart, and admit there is nothing they can do, so the end of story, so to speak. The first time we took it in, they were all completely baffled and acted like we were crazy. Printed off copies of blogs like this one and presented to them and they acted like they were completely unaware of the situation. We have given up and are stuck with this stinky car unfortunately and we love the car. They asked if we would like to trade it in....answer was "no, we would just be stuck with the same problem and more debt". We live in NC and our son has the same vehicle but he lives in WI, and no "stink". We are so disappointed and cannot understand why Toyota won't do something about the problem....not good for their image. We tell everyone we see that is thinking of purchasing a Toyota Camry to beware.
Toyota re-engineered the AC system for the 2015 model year so it is no longer an issue on the newer Camry's. Of course if you live in a super humid area any car may get a little mildew smell but Toyota fixed the major problem for the newer Camry's, 2015 and up.
 
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