Anyone else having problems w/ horrible vinegar/mold smell in ac of 2015 ML 350 (Mercedes).


Asked by Feb 29, 2016 at 12:50 PM about the 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML 350 4MATIC

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Last week the car started emitting a horrible vinegar smell from the ac when
first turned on. Took it to the dealership ( still under warranty ) and they want
$330 to flush and clean the mold out of the ac unit and replace the filters.
Claimed it not covered. Said that we need to turn ac off 5 minutes prior to
reaching destination to let moisture out so it doesn't stay in unit and become
moldy !
What !? I don't think I should have to babysit an ac unit in a $65K car !
All I can think about is Legionnaires Disease....caused by mold in a ventilation
Mercedes told us some BS that this is common in all luxury cars. We've
owned new BMW, Audi, and Lexus' that have never had this issue.
They acted very casual about it, but yet its not covered, AND we'll probably
have to have this done every year.

28 Answers


The dealer is right about the mold on the evaporator and turning the AC Off. Some cars are worse than others. You can save $330 and do it yourself.. Check youtube and search on "AC smell Scotty Kilmer". He'll show you how to clean the AC evaporator for the cost of a Lysol Can.

6 people found this helpful.

I have the same 'smelly feet' issue with an MB Gle 350 diesel brand new in feb 2016. 7 months later smelly feet on startup...

5 people found this helpful.

Also it's been cleaned by MB and two months later the smell is now coming back again.

1 people found this helpful.

its unacceptable , and there is a law suit pending against mercedes. I have a $ 120k AMG that stinks nothing can be done

1 people found this helpful.


6 people found this helpful.

Thanks for the link , Jalp123. We just signed up. It's unacceptable in a car of this caliber or any car for that matter. I read that a judge in Calif refused to throw out 2 Mercedes dismissal pleas regarding this issue.

1 people found this helpful.

Sign up for the class action. Luxury cars should admit their problems and fix them obviously, with the number of complaints, this is a problem. My message to Mercedes. I am embarrassed to have people ride with me, so we use our Lexus.

5 people found this helpful.

There class action lawsuit going on. gclid=CjwKEAjw1a3KBRCY9cfsmdmWgQ0SJAATUZ8bDm9M8N 5e26G93E64QGGKnr4Dxrcj_OxnTSoLPaLgWBoCc6Xw_wcB I just signed up for it as I have the same issues.

1 people found this helpful.

My 2010 ML350 smells terrible and I did the freshy fresh as the dealer calls it, did nothing for the smell. I was told the same BS, run your heater for a minute every time you turn off your car. CRAZY!

1 people found this helpful.

No!!! No one should have to babysit an AC UNIT! We have this problem on our 2017 GLS 550, a $105,000.00 car! Seriously? I ended up on oxygen due to car! Since I have not been driving it, my breathing is much better. Now we have contacted an attorney and are awaiting a resolution.. or court date. There is a case now going on dealing with this same issue. If you would like to reach me, my email . Thanks

2 people found this helpful.

Same here...I have a 2011 C300 (40k miles), and my father has a 2014 C300 (19k miles). I contacted Mercedes and was told "while aware of the situation, it is the consumer's responsibility to pay for any an all costs associated with the issue."


I own a 2015 GL 450, have changed filters 4 times! The sour smell from AC keeps coming back ! Mercedes needs to do something about to! Thanks for posting the lawsuit link, I just signed up.

2 people found this helpful.

Same here. Melbourne Australia ML250 problem since getting the car, now out of warranty, has been fixed 6 times.

Same issue here. 2014 ML350 that my wife is ready to sell, she hates the car because of this and is embarrassed to have people in the car. We've had the issue since 2015. The dealer told me that the design of the A/C system "traps" the condensate to prevent the dripping of water that's common on most all other cars, it's a proprietary luxury design by Mercedes! He indicated the intent is for the refrigeration system (hot gas side) to actually evaporate the condensate prior to it becoming stale water sitting in the drain pan. I asked if they could simple drill a hole to allow the water to drain, they said no....lot's of techno reasons why they couldn't. So a terrible design by Mercedes and apparently no solution for a fix, resulting in unacceptable Customer sanctification in our experience. My Toyota is older, blows ice cold air, drips puddles all over the driveway and smells like roses! Duh...


I just signed up for the class action my daughter is getting sick driving her car having some allergic reaction to her MB which just 35K miles brought it Rusnak and same BS they wanted me to pay for the new cabin filter.

1 people found this helpful.

I have had the same awful issues with my C230 and now my ML350. Its very bad and i am paying for this car via a loan to smell mould and crap. Something needs to be done...I am so embarrassed about the smell of my car and MB is not helping. what do i do?

I have GLC 300 and had same problem ever since i bought it. Less than a year, i changed 3 times. Funny thing is, last visit, they told me i am not supposed to have any car air freshner in my car and said thats what cayses odor. What?????!!!! They mentioned it's "written" some where that benz car doesn't recommend air freshner in car. WHAT?!?!?!??! Ridiculous.

I have the same problem in my 113000 USD brand new Ml 400 2015 . Mercedes benz dealer in Beirut Lebanon has the same arrogant attitude : changing the filters every 3 months and the bad odors will disappear without taking into consideration my worries about the impact of these smells on my health , which MB negates their existence. By the way l am a Surgeon. Could anyone tell me what was the decisions taken by the courts ?

I have a 2014 ML350 and had the same smell, flush and filters covered under warranty. It came back in about a month but it was close to winter. Waiting for spring to see what happens.

I have same issue with 2016 GLC 300 and complained about vinegar smell and they 'couldn't replicate it'! It gets so bad at times that I have to turn off AC and I live in So. California.


I had the same vinegar sourish nasty socks smell in my 2016 GLC 300. Started getting worse after my first so called service B. I had it taken into the dealership 4 times for the same issue after service B. I ended up smelling stronger and stronger chemicals every time and the moldy smell mixed with chemical smell did no good. my allergies got worse and this is my primary car in which I tow my children. GOT RID of it for a LEXUS. Divorced MB after being a loyal customer for 19 years.

1 people found this helpful.

I have 2014 GL450 and the odor coming out from the vent is so bad. I asked the dealer to find the cause of this odor and they told me to change the filters. I changed the filter twice but the odor still coming back and it is getting worse. I feel so sick in my lungs everytime I drove this car. what is the link to add myself to file a lawsuit for this car?

I saw online the state of Georgia is suing MB over the issue with the foul/vinegar smell. My dealer said I have to pay to have foam put into the system ($200) to alleviate the smell, typically every 6-12 months. So how does this work again: it's a known issue and MB doesn't cover it even when still under warranty? I would never buy another MB! Has anyone tried writing the company to see what their response is, short of a lawsuit?

I have a 2012 ML350 and the smell is awful. It makes me sick every year when I have to use the AC- i also have a child and it’s my daily driver and I am very worried about the effects on our health. Mercedes doesn’t care and has done nothing but charge $300 to change my filters month after month and it just comes right back. It is an outrage and I am boycotting the brand and urge all of you to as well.

I think that MB will negate the problem. We should do something about this arrogant attitude. Other brands are more tolerant about this problem. We should wait for a court decision so our attorneys can have an idea how to suit MB. Meanwhile you should change the filters periodically or search for another brand.

Same issue had it on my 2002 ML350 and now my 2017 GLC300! Not what you'd expect from MBZ. Dealer no help, just wants to flush system at my cost. MBZ needs to step up to plate and fix design flaw!


I have a 2017 Mercedes GLE 350 and 6 months after purchase I have same smell. Prior to it I had an ML 350 and the same thing happened. It’s very embarrassing to have people get in my car.

1 people found this helpful.

A lawsuit has been filed because of this smell. Google Mercedes-Benz car smell lawsuit or go to this link. sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url= air-conditioning-odor- lawsuit.shtml&ved=2ahUKEwjJ4Y_HmuLaAh VH1oMKHbgWAOoQFjAAegQIBhAB&usg=AO vVaw2aj3WUjA4nO0COppIB9Z1R

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