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+1 for the mold stench on my 2012 Camry SE (3700 miles now). I'll try running for long periods on fresh air to see if it the smell goes away and will report back. Hopefully Toyo issues a recall/fix before I get into an accident while holding my nose. What should I expect for $26083 MSRP? I guess you have to go Lexus if you want mold-proof AC.
 

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Forgot to mention....I just traded a 2011 Venza (7800 miles) in for the Camry because the Venza rattled like a WWII era tank. The Camry is quiter...but smells like a WWII tank that got bogged down in the Ardennes.
 

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Me too

I have a brand new Camry LE, 3500 miles. About 200 miles ago it started smelling. Sometimes it's just musty, sometimes it smells like a dead animal. I've actually had guests get out of my car because they thought they were going to be sick.

Like others, my experience so far is that Toyota sometimes denies the problem exists, sometimes admits that it exists and claims that the smells are "within normal ranges" and refuses to fix the problem. I live in Southern California so the problem is obviously not high humidity, even though Toyota Corporate tried that excuse on me at first.

I'm trying to work with Toyota Corporate as well as Crown Toyota. I'll post updates on whether I get anywhere. Does anyone know how to find contact information for the management at particular dealers, like Crown Toyota? So far the dealer seems more responsive than the corporate office.
 

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I just leave my vents on outside air all the time now..I never switch over to recycle...Takes longer to heat or cool but no smell...I'll suffer a bit to keep the Mildew away
 

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Update: I tried the advice of leaving the vents on outside air for about a week and the nasty smell is gone. I, too, leave it that way for fear of it returning. So good news/bad news.
 

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My latest update

I've been wrestling with Toyota Corporate, as well as Claremont Toyota and Crown Toyota, for weeks now. Here's my update:

First, if you're reading this thread, maybe it's because you just discovered that your Camry stinks and you're hoping there's a solution. Well, as far as I can tell, there isn't -- not unless you're one of the lucky ones who can turn the AC on fresh rather than recycle and have the problem go away. Dealerships won't try to fix the problem, because Toyota won't reimburse them for the work. Toyota Corporate is a joke. I actually had their corporate liaison tell me that some Camry air conditioners smell like "dead animals or feces" -- her words! -- but that Toyota considers that these air conditioners are still "functioning normally". So if you've got the problem, you can make life easier on yourself by accepting right off the bat that Toyota won't fix it.

Second, I've tried reaching out to the dealership that sold me the vehicle, Crown Toyota. We'll see where that gets me. They've generally been really nice -- nicer than corporate -- so if you've got the problem, I recommend trying the dealership and not just the official Toyota folks.

Finally, Toyota Corporate told me that if I'm still dissatisfied, I have to file for arbitration. There's actually a free service for this and the paperwork is in your owners manual. I haven't done that yet but maybe I will have to. Has anyone tried this? Any luck?

- Alex
 

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Cabin smell

Hey buddy,

Not sure if you already have an answer to your question but the cause of the smell is due to the Cabin Filter. I had the same problem with my Camry and that was the reason for it. If you have a 2012 Camry you can simply let the dealer know about the smell and to check the Cabin Filter on your next dealer visit.

Hope this helps!
 

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Hi,

Thanks for the info, cpdmiguel. However, it's not the cabin filter -- that's the first thing every dealer changes. Lots of us have this problem. It's caused by water building up in Toyota's poorly-designed air conditioners. The leftover water in the evaporator becomes musty and may even grow microbes, and that makes the smell.

Cheers,
A
 

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Hi,

Thanks for the info, cpdmiguel. However, it's not the cabin filter -- that's the first thing every dealer changes. Lots of us have this problem. It's caused by water building up in Toyota's poorly-designed air conditioners. The leftover water in the evaporator becomes musty and may even grow microbes, and that makes the smell.

Cheers,
A
If that were true every Camry would smell. IMHO it's caused by how the system is operated.
 

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Hi Hybrid Driver,

Well, of course other factors matter. Some people live in humid places, some live in places where microbes are more common, and of course cars differ in little ways, even if they're all the same general type. My point is that the contributing mechanical factor does not appear to be the filter, but the evaporator and water drainage system. Don't trust me -- that's the explanation that Toyota corporate gave to me, and they say they've studied the problem!

One thing to know -- again, something confirmed by Toyota Corporate -- is that even if an owner follows all instructions to the letter, including Toyota's instruction to use fresh air, the smell can still occur. Toyota told me this is a "known problem" with some Camrys and they consider it "normal". They say they do not know why some Camrys suffer from the problem and others don't.

Best,
A
 

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musty, moldy odor from ac

We have 2 2012 Camry XLE vehicles purchased in March 2012. We didn't notice the problem right away. The cars currently have about 3,600 miles (ea) and we have noticed this smell for the last 1000 miles or so. We live in Fl and use re-circulate because of heat and humidity. The cars were recently serviced, the problem was noted on both vehicles. Dealer answer is Toyota is aware of the problem and is working on a solution. Since the oldest post on here is from March, what is taking so long?

Our deal says they are waiting for a slution from Toyota.

Many posts point to mold and bacteria growth from moisture in the evaporation and/or condensation systems. Is this (informed) speculation or has this been documented by any dealer or servicing entity?

The condition and Toyota"s lack of a solution is unacceptable.

Thanks in advance for responses.
 

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Hi,

Sorry you're having the problem too. Here are some thoughts on your questions:

1) First, I wouldn't count on the dealer getting a solution from Toyota. I have communicated directly with the Toyota corporate offices. They say that this is a "known problem" which they have had their engineers study. They do not know of a solution -- or at least not one that they're willing to pay for! -- and so they have decided that this condition is "normal" and doesn't need to be fixed. The upshot is that they will not pay dealers to do any repair work, and that means dealers won't do anything unless it comes out of their own pocket.

2) As for mold, I have received conflicting information. The Toyota Corporate Office told me that they have studied the problem in Camrys and have never found any microbes. I asked to see the report but they refused to send it to me. On the other hand, I've been to two dealers and talked to mechanics who said that mold/bacteria/fungus is sometimes the problem. I trust them, because they're the ones who actually open up cars, but I suppose that they could be wrong.

3) You might want to try to the solution of never using recirc air, and always leaving the AC on outside air when the car is parked, since that opens up the evaporator to the outside air. This has not worked at all for me, but other people in this thread say that it has helped. If you're going to run recirc when driving, then be sure to put it on outside air when you park.

Hope that's helpful!
 

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There are no answers on this thread, only reports and complaints. Clearly its design. Not enough air flow over the evap coil. Have a hard time imagining what the fix would be, and what it would take to deploy a new design embedded in the dash. We noticed it a little in my dads 2012 over the summer. Changing to a charcoal filter, Lysol down the vents by the wipers, and disabling auto features helped. By disabling auto I mean recirc with designated fan speed, or no recirc at all. You have to choose being cool with a little humidity or being cool, no humidity and a foul odor.

What Ive noticed with Toyota over recent years is they put a lot of time into technical advances, overlooking basic details that become big problems.
 

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Thanks Alexr and leakyseals for your input. If we don't get a solution, we are going to pursue legal remedies. The condition is unacceptable and may represent a health hazard if it is caused by mold/bacteria, etc.
 

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Dear fpk1949,

One thing you may not know is that if you look in your owner's manual, Toyota has an arbitration service that is set up to arbitrate disputes like this. The process is free, although the details vary from state to state. I have not gone this route yet because I'm still hoping my dealer can help me, but arbitration is an option. The laws governing arbitration vary from state to state. In California, land of good consumer protection legislation!, we have a very good 'lemon law'. You have to show that there's a problem that the dealer can't or won't fix, and that it either substantially impairs your use of the vehicle or substantially affects its resale value. You might have a hard time proving that a smell impairs your use of a vehicle; maybe an unfriendly mediator wouldn't see things your way. But I think it's clear that a stink reduces resale value, since who would buy a car that stinks when you turn it on?

Good luck!
 

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p.s. to fpk1949: don't let them tell you that it's a problem only because you live in Florida and its humid, because I live in Southern California where there's *NO* humidity and I still have the problem.
 

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Humidity Odor from cabin

I took my 2013 Toyota venza to the dealership for its first 5,000 check up and I told the service assistant about the cabin odor I've been getting every morning. He advice me to crank up the heater with the recycling off for a few minutes. It seems to work but still, I think its an issue that toyota will need to work on.
 

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*Bump*

This has started happening on our 9K, 9mo, 2012 SE.
I did replace the filter with a charcoal one, and that didn't help. I will bring the issue up at the next service.

I can temporarily correct and minimize this effect with a pre-heater burn, but why should I have to do that? I have never had to do that on any other car I've owned.

My family and I enjoy this car very much, but until this is permanently corrected by a service fix, I will NOT be recommending, and will start going out of my way to NOT recommend, a new Camry, because:
a) I don't want to recommend a car to anyone that smells like mold in a few months.
b) If you can smell it, who knows what we are breathing and putting into our families' lungs.
c) This is going to affect the resale value of our cars.

Toyota: Fix this. It's only a matter of time before this hits the press.
 

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Try Lysol Aerosol Spray

*Bump*

This has started happening on our 9K, 9mo, 2012 SE.
I did replace the filter with a charcoal one, and that didn't help. I will bring the issue up at the next service.

I can temporarily correct and minimize this effect with a pre-heater burn, but why should I have to do that? I have never had to do that on any other car I've owned.

My family and I enjoy this car very much, but until this is permanently corrected by a service fix, I will NOT be recommending, and will start going out of my way to NOT recommend, a new Camry, because:
a) I don't want to recommend a car to anyone that smells like mold in a few months.
b) If you can smell it, who knows what we are breathing and putting into our families' lungs.
c) This is going to affect the resale value of our cars.

Toyota: Fix this. It's only a matter of time before this hits the press.
I had the same issue with my 2001 Dodge Intrepid. I first verified that the condensate drain was not plugged. I was able to kill the growth for a while by running the heater with the fresh air vent open and the heat on full, spraying a good dose of Lysol into the fresh air inlet. That would keep the stink away for several months after each application. I have not had the issue with the 2012 Camry that be bought new in December of 2011.
 
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