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HELP! My car smells like mold in the morning...

I REALLY wish I read this forum prior to purchasing my 2012 Camry. My car STINKS every morning when I get inside. The stinch is coming from my vents and I fear that the odor is a hazard to my health. I took my car to the dealership and of course they said they didn't smell anything and that nothing was wrong. This is the "nicest" car that I have ever purchased, but I have never experienced anything like this before.

Can I insist that the dealership repairs the underlying problem with my air conditioner? Is this issue covered under the Toyota Care warranty?

I never thought that I'd fall out of love with this car so quickly :-(
 

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2012 I4 SE Attitude Black
2012 Camry SE
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50 Posts
I've got the same stinky a/c problem. ~8k miles I4 SE. I rarely use recirc, but have used a/c frequently during this hot, but not particularly humid, Midwest summer. Dealer will do an a/c refresh, but claims they will charge as they assert it isn't covered under warranty. Lame. I have an appointment scheduled in a few days and will report back. I haven't decided whether I'll try to (1) convince dealer to fix for free, (2) fix it on my own with an aerosol anti-mold cleaner, or (3) have an independent repair shop do the work. My greatest concern is that any "fix" or clean will be temporary--this better not be a recurring problem/defect!

Update 1: Forgot to mention, I already changed the cabin air filter to no avail. The smell was still there. Filter was dirty, but not more than standard.
 

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I REALLY wish I read this forum prior to purchasing my 2012 Camry. My car STINKS every morning when I get inside. The stinch is coming from my vents and I fear that the odor is a hazard to my health. I took my car to the dealership and of course they said they didn't smell anything and that nothing was wrong. This is the "nicest" car that I have ever purchased, but I have never experienced anything like this before.

Can I insist that the dealership repairs the underlying problem with my air conditioner? Is this issue covered under the Toyota Care warranty?

I never thought that I'd fall out of love with this car so quickly :-(
Have you tried changing the cabin air filter as recommended in this thread 2 reply's above yours?
 

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2010 Corolla S
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had the same issue w/ my previous 2010 corolla..they have to clean out the ac evap system. Usuallly the cause of that is pollution and dirt inside the vents and mole can devolop. cost about 200 bucks at the toyota dealer, and smell went away. it usually starts happening at 15k but 3k is weird. get it checked out.
 

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1988 Toyota Reg Cab
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I just bought the new air filters listed above for my Camry with 400 Miles on it, I am trying to get ahead of the problem. But, My 2006 GMC CC PU has the same issue. I researched it and has been stated it is due to water collecting in the coil and growing mildew. I sprayed and sprayed cans of Lysol though it and it would help temporarlily but what has helped the most has also been stated. Shut off the A/C about a mile or so from your destination and let the air blow while in the fresh mode. It takes a while to clear up but it does eventually go away.

XB 2002
 

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'13 XLE TAH
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I just bought the new air filters listed above for my Camry with 400 Miles on it, I am trying to get ahead of the problem. But, My 2006 GMC CC PU has the same issue. I researched it and has been stated it is due to water collecting in the coil and growing mildew. I sprayed and sprayed cans of Lysol though it and it would help temporarlily but what has helped the most has also been stated. Shut off the A/C about a mile or so from your destination and let the air blow while in the fresh mode. It takes a while to clear up but it does eventually go away.

XB 2002
On all my cars I run the air conditioner when the engine is runnig and have never had an odor. On my Auto HVAC systems the computer decides if it recirculates or uses fresh air.
 

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1988 Toyota Reg Cab
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On all my cars I run the air conditioner when the engine is runnig and have never had an odor. On my Auto HVAC systems the computer decides if it recirculates or uses fresh air.
Well, then enjoy the Funk and keep the A/C on, My 2003 Honda accord EX didn't smell either no matter how much you ran the A/C. I suppose my GMC and the Camry uses some sort of different design that does not drain as well or something.
 

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Same here. Car is 2 months old, about 3200 miles. Smells when I get in after work, but not in the morning when its cool out.

I use low fan speed, cool, but not max ac temp, and never recirlc unless its really hot out.

What is toyota doing wrong?
 

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My Camry SE 2012 is under 500miles and less than a month old and started doing this. I have done the suggestion to put fan on high and turn A/C off for a few mins before reaching your destination and it seems to really help. I think by keeping the moisture out of HVAC it prevents mold growth and hence the stink. Really surprised others cars I have owned in the past, never had this problem, sucks that to get good quality engines Toyota has compromised with all these (I think they should have made the HVAC system with antimicrobial substance). Just to be also preventative, I might get new cabin airfilter, does anyone know what is the best cabin air filters?
 

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Brought our car to dealer for smell, of course they said they did not smell anything, B.S. Told me to spray lysol in air way. They wont admit they have a problem.
 

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2012 I4 SE Attitude Black
2012 Camry SE
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Brought our car to dealer for smell, of course they said they did not smell anything, B.S. Told me to spray lysol in air way. They wont admit they have a problem.
Same thing happened to me. Brought in to dealer, said they didn't smell anything. Also will not admit to problem; claimed they "hadn't had anyone else have smelly A/C problem." Won't do anything. I'm angry.
 

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I've managed to clear it up some by just running the fan with fresh air setting, A/C off, while driving on cooler days, and in the evenings. If the weather is nice I usually cruise around town with the windows down anyway.

Obviously not a good fix though in hot weather though for sure.
 

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I've managed to clear it up some by just running the fan with fresh air setting, A/C off, while driving on cooler days, and in the evenings. If the weather is nice I usually cruise around town with the windows down anyway.

Obviously not a good fix though in hot weather though for sure.
Yes but when you turn the A/C back on do you get the moldy smell?
 
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