Funny smell in circulation vents


Asked by May 08, 2010 at 08:16 PM about the Chevrolet Impala

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

When I turn on the air conditioning, heat, or just the circulating fan, there's a funny/bad smell that comes out of the vents. It is strong at first, but dissipates as the fans are on for a while. It smells a little musty, and is usually worse the first time of the day I start it up, but I drive I do drive the car at least once a day, usually more. I purchased it used, but it is very clean. This is not an engine smell filtering through; I've checked repeatedly. Air and heat work great. No other problems.

6 Answers


I do MAY be the cabin filter. I've had my 2003 Impala since it was new & haven't changed the filter yet (the dealer wanted $126 to do it...I told him I'd have my husband do it but so far...he hasn't. So my car stinks, too...LOL)

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

cabin air filters usually last about a year or 15,000 miles, in my experience those filters get dirty very fast


Can you change cabin filters yourself?

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

it is not difficult, it should explain in more detail in the owner's manual, here is a brief description as how to replace it -opening the hood - remove the plastic pins that holds the windshield plastic cowl in place on the passenger side, you may need to pull back of the weatherstrip in order to remove the panel, be careful to look for washer hose/connector to make sure that they are deattached from the panel, so that they are not damaged and you should be able to see the cabin air filter

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

check your heater core??meant have a little leek in it.


your air conditioner drain tube is plugged. To check start your car in the summer heat and turn on your air conditioner. Let run for 3 or 4 minutes on a concrete surface. Proceed to back up your auto 4 or 5 feet and look at the concrete and see if it is wet from condensation pulled form the air, If it is, the drain tube is fine... if not, it is not draining properly and needs to be cleaned out. This will cause a dirty wet sock smell in the cabin compartment. If your drain is working properly change cabin air conditioner filter located on passenger side under the hood close to the windshield. There are some products that you can spray into filter box to sanitize and deodorize, simply access the and remove the cabin air filter start the auto, turn on the air conditioner and spray away.

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

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