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  1. #1
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    Clean up air vents

    How do I clean smelly air vents?

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Goonie75's Avatar
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    Re: Clean up air vents

    Quote Originally Posted by sito View Post
    How do I clean smelly air vents?

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    Not sure what smelly vents means... blown air coming out of vents?... Perhaps a car bomb.

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  3. #3
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    Re: Clean up air vents

    Quote Originally Posted by sito View Post
    How do I clean smelly air vents?

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    Check the filter for possible mold

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  5. #4
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    Re: Clean up air vents

    Cabin filter located behind the glove compartment. Easy to do

  6. #5
    Senior Member MarkD51's Avatar
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    Re: Clean up air vents

    Depends on the year and model, as to if it has a cabin filter, and where it may be located? On some late model Chevys, one must remove a section of the windshield wiper cowl to access.

    If the vehicle doesn't have a cabin air filter, then it might likely be some issue at the evaporator coil.
    Even working optimally, sometimes during air conditioning season, moisture accumulates, and can cause a musty old smell, particularly when first firing up the AC. Then it goes away, but again returns the next day again.

    Other, more severe issues could be a clogged evaporator drain. This then may mean checking that drain if it can be located, and either running a small flexible Zip Tie, or piece of Wire into it and carefully poking around.

    If you see lots of water then draining out, you just found your problem.

    If for say the vehicle is much older, there then is the possibility of much cruds accumulated around the evaporator, and one might have to then do some more serious "surgery", like dropping the plastic vent box under the dash where the evaporator is located. Older Tahoes-Suburbans and Silverado Trucks are famous for this. The cruds are often leaves, dirts and debris that gets in through the outside windshield cowl vents.

    Hope this helps.

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  8. #6
    Senior Member MarkD51's Avatar
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    Re: Clean up air vents

    On my own Tahoe pictured, I did such a service a few years ago, in that I dropped the entire plastic box where the blower fan and evaporator is located.

    Many report that A/C efficiency falls off considerably with cruds packed in the evaporator, and then also the drain is susceptible of being clogged also.

    Mine was really clean, no clogs either, but that's because I rarely ever parked the vehicle under trees, etc, to get considerable accumulation down by the evaporator.

    Since it was all disassembled though, I thoroughly cleaned the evaporator with a spray down of Simple Green, Hosed it down with a garden hose, then blew with compressed air, getting everything as clean as a whistle. Then re-assemble.

  9. #7
    Senior Member MarkD51's Avatar
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    Re: Clean up air vents

    I'd like adding too, that if you're a smoker, this will effect the smell in the vents.

  10. #8
    Senior Member Belo's Avatar
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    Re: Clean up air vents

    i've never done it, and would remove the filter first, but i've also seen people use their steamer to blast through the hvac system. check out youtube.
    2009 Pontiac G8GT
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    2019 Chevy Silverado RST Z71

  11. #9
    Senior Member MarkD51's Avatar
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    Re: Clean up air vents

    Quote Originally Posted by Belo View Post
    i've never done it, and would remove the filter first, but i've also seen people use their steamer to blast through the hvac system. check out youtube.
    Sure, that's the first place to look with a newer 2-8 year old car, check the cabin filter. And yeah, don't count on the dealer telling you they changed it, and of course charged you up the kazoo for it also. even so called good dealers do and will pull stunts. Don't blame the dealer itself sometimes, it's the lazy goof in the back who you unluckily got to work on your ride.

    I've a friend, who owns a 2008 Chevy Impala, What a junk of a car, Chevy should be ashamed of what they manufactured-sold when they made such a car. Just junk! Go ahead, tear your brains out looking for a evaporator drain. I looked 4 times, 3, when the vehicle was on the ground, spending about 45 minutes total, and once while it was up on a lift, and searched for 20 minutes.....nothing.

    Interior was flooding out, soaked, enough water to take care of a 1/2 dozen tomato plants. Eventually found it wasn't that, but clogged Sun Roof Drains, and there's 4 of them, two fore, and two aft. I got to the two front, seemed to fix the problem. What a nightmare ripping out interior trim panels,

    And the Vent Blender Motors playing Jimi Hendrix "Machine Gun" every 3 weeks going bad, replaced a 1/2 dozen of those, being a contortionist, and no luck with those either, just a crap defective piece of junk chevy made with Chinese garbage on board.

  12. #10
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    Re: Clean up air vents

    Change the cabin filter first. A good tell that this is a problem is if you get the windshield foggy even with an AC in the car. The dirty filter holds on to moisture much more. Then after you switched it do a AC bomb to neutralise the smells that's in the vents.

    When you have parked your car when the AC has been on you would like to see condensation water running under the car. Otherwise the condensation water tube can be clogged. You can also try to pour down some water in the window cowl. After a while you would like to see the water running under the car too. If not the rain drainage can clogged with dirt and needs to be handled. This water can be if you are unlucky seeks it's way into the ventilation system of your vehical. If you still have a problem after all this with moisture coming back soon into and on to the windshield. You can have a crack in the heater radiator. This often gets you a smell of the cooler water. But if it's not your car or it has newly bought or someone elses. They could have been filling up the water cooler liquid with only water and no antifreeze concentrate. This is no good even if you live in a warmer environment as you can get rust and oxidation problems inside of the engine. There are gauges for measuring the level of the antifreeze in the water cooler radiator. You find them in most autoshops and the simple ones works okay and is reasonable priced. Many people is being careless with this. Some tips and trouble shooting it.

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