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  1. #1
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    Any final suggestions before I sell this smelly car?

    I bought a used car about 5 months ago. When it was 'detailed' it seems they sprayed it down with some sort of fragranced product. I had a pro come out and detail the thing, steam it, extract the carpets, etc. Smell went away. About 2 weeks later it's back in full force. I buy an ozone machine, run it a few times. Smell is gone again, about 2 weeks later, back again. It's bizarre. I've scoured every last inch of this thing(GMC Yukon XL) and taken the interior apart. Is it possible that it's just saturated all of the fibers of the car? I can't find any hidden air fresheners or anything that could be causing the smell. The weird thing is that the ozone kills the smell almost entirely for a few weeks then it progressively comes back to full force. Is this possible if there is isn't something hidden in the car? I've replaced a bunch of the interior parts that I suspected to be the source of the odor. Still there, though definitely somewhat less. Removed the cabin air filter as well. Tried the deodorizing sprays, nada. I swear it's like there's a hidden freshener in the car that can't be found anywhere, but I've literally taken the dash apart, the console, the seats, I see absolutely nothing.


    Next step would be to have the headliner replaced, but at that point I'll just sell it and buy something else that doesn't smell. Due to allergies, it's become a real hassle having this lingering cleaner/fragrance type smell in the car. Any ideas before I sell this thing at a loss?

  2. #2
    Senior Member BSoares's Avatar
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    Re: Any final suggestions before I sell this smelly car?

    Could there be a leak and the smell comes back as more water makes its way into the car?

    Replacing the headliner might help as you brought up.
    Bruno Soares


  3. #3
    Senior Member 57Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Any final suggestions before I sell this smelly car?

    Headliner and carpets are usually what retain odors the most.

    Is it a "sweet" smell, as that could be a different clue ?

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  5. #4
    Senior Member PaulMys's Avatar
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    Re: Any final suggestions before I sell this smelly car?

    Quote Originally Posted by 57Rambler View Post
    Headliner and carpets are usually what retain odors the most.

    Is it a "sweet" smell, as that could be a different clue ?
    The Ethyl Glycol syndrome. Good call.
    It is no coincidence that man's best friend cannot talk.

  6. #5
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    Re: Any final suggestions before I sell this smelly car?

    Do you get any oily type residue on the windshield? If so, maybe you have a leaking heater core.

  7. #6
    Senior Member oneheadlite's Avatar
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    Re: Any final suggestions before I sell this smelly car?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMys View Post
    The Ethyl Glycol syndrome. Good call.
    That’s an interesting thought.

    See if it smells like maple syrup after you run the heat on high/high fan speed. If it does, unfortunately maybe you’ve probably got a heater core leak.

    I wouldn’t think if it was an underhood coolant leak it would permeate the interior that much without leaving puddles under the truck.

    If none of that pans out you could try contacting a company that deals with smoke remediation and see if they can help.

  8. #7
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    Re: Any final suggestions before I sell this smelly car?

    Quote Originally Posted by 57Rambler View Post
    Headliner and carpets are usually what retain odors the most.

    Is it a "sweet" smell, as that could be a different clue ?
    It smells like cheap fragrance coverup that was sprayed on the car to cover up smoke smell or such. It's a disgusting air freshener type smell.

  9. #8
    Member Icarus's Avatar
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    Re: Any final suggestions before I sell this smelly car?

    In my Jeep I had the previous owner had taken a vanilla scented lump of some kind of goop and dropped it in the center console underneath the insert so it took forever to figure out where the smell was coming from. When the Jeep got really hot did it stink! Thankfully it wasn't offensive, just strong... I cleaned it out once I took the console out to do some other work (when I figured out it was in there!)
    Ϣr

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  11. #9
    Just call me Mr. Mom
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    Re: Any final suggestions before I sell this smelly car?

    Try chlorine dioxide. For a few dollars it can't hurt.

  12. #10
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    Re: Any final suggestions before I sell this smelly car?

    Look under the seats above the carpet. I had the same issue a few years. Some Jack A55 put a giant bag of potpourri up under the drivers seat. Took a few months to figure it ou

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