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air conditioner odor

Divrdown

Full Member
55
1
6
Moundsville WV
Buick Ownership
2012 Regal GS
Finally able to turn the AC on now that it has warmed up but I am getting a really bad odor from the vents when the AC is engaged for the first few minutes. Once I turn the AC off the odor remains until next start up and then when the system dries out it slowly goes away. Vent settings to open outside air and recirculate, have same problem / odor.

Where does the AC drain on the GS? So far I am not seeing any drips of water to locate where the drain is so I can check to see if it is plugged or there is just not enough humidity for it to drain very much. This is a used car but was only in service for a short period of time but it was in the Carolinas before I purchased it so I am sure that the AC got a workout.

I went through this a little with a Grand Prix GXP and it always seemed to linger, after the having the evap area cleaned.
Any ideas on what to check besides the cabin air filter?
thanks
 

12GSMN

5.7L Member
348
2
0
Buick Ownership
2012 Buick Regal GS
There are sprays you can purchase to spray into the outside intake vent below your windshield while running the A/C with the recirc on "off" and the fan on high. If you cannot find the spray, mix white vinegar with water (4 tablespoons to 2 cups) and put in a spray bottle. After spraying, turn the heat up and the compressor to off and run for 15 minutes to dry out the system. Avoid always running your A/C in the "on" position when really not needed as it assist in unneeded moisture build up on a daily basis, not to mention saving gas. Also, avoid running in Max cool (with only recirc) as the system gets colder and promotes condensation. Finally, on really hot/humid days, get in the mindset to turn off the compressor in the last couple of minutes before you turn off the car (say as when you are a mile from your house) as this warms up the system and helps dry it out from condensation drip after you shut off the car.
 
2,414
8
38
Detroit, USA
Hello Divrdown,

This situation sounds very frustrating! I would like to investigate further for you. Would you mind sending me some information via private message? I will just need your name, phone number, VIN#, and vehicle mileage. Is there a dealership you frequent? I would like to set up an appointment for you to get the vehicle looked at. If you don't have a dealership you regularly visit, you may provide me with your zip code, and I could find one for you! I hope to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

Jessica
Buick Customer Care
______________________________
 

Divrdown

Full Member
55
1
6
Moundsville WV
Buick Ownership
2012 Regal GS
Yea I have used the spray cleaner and deodorizer before just looking for any others with same issue. I normally do turn off the AC for the last 5 minutes so it can dry out the system as that is what I had to do withthe GXP a few years ago. As of right now it will not be going to the dealer for this unless it gets worse.
 

mflorendo

Full Member
30
0
0
Buick Ownership
2012 Buick Regal, 2013 Buick Enclave Leather AWD
I have the same issue. However, dealership's finding is always "cannot replicate". As what others have mentioned, nasty smell comes off the A/C vents the first time you turn it on, last for some minutes, then gone.
Is this something GM can help out customers to let the dealership perform the known fix for the issue, whether it happens at the time the vehicle is brought in or not? I always have my kids with me each time this happens.
 

ImminentFailure

Full Member
135
0
16
Troy, MI
Buick Ownership
Regal 11
Same issue in my 2011 regal, and with my 2008 GMC Sierra. I used to turn off the AC and run it as max fan speed for the last 15 minutes of my drive, never mattered.

Last week they replaced my cabin air filter for 50 bucks as 'they could not fully resolve my concern' without changing it. It made no difference. Your nose like anything becomes desensitized to it after a bit. I've had friends get into my car when I pick them up from lunch and I don't smell it anymore but they'll get in and say 'what is that wet moldy smell'.
 

IndyGS

Full Member
183
0
16
Indianapolis, IN
Buick Ownership
2013 Buick Regal GS
My grandparents always drove Buicks, and there are two things that are indelibly linked, in my mind, to the Buick name. 1.) The great, quiet ride and 2.) The musty foot odor smell that comes out of the AC. I can't believe they haven't found a solution for it. I would be SUPER pissed if they charged me $50 for a new filter to fix the problem, and then it didn't fix the problem.
______________________________
 

Divrdown

Full Member
55
1
6
Moundsville WV
Buick Ownership
2012 Regal GS
OK still looking for where the AC drains on the Regal? If I can access the drain area with some of the AC foam cleaner it may help. Does anyone have a schematic they can post or a link to one?
thanks
 

Divrdown

Full Member
55
1
6
Moundsville WV
Buick Ownership
2012 Regal GS
If anyone is interested I found the drian for the AC. It is located on the passenger side behind the carpet and below the center stack. It drains out through the floor not through the firewall.
 

Divrdown

Full Member
55
1
6
Moundsville WV
Buick Ownership
2012 Regal GS
I just picked up the cleaner from NAPA so it will be treated this evening after work so I will post up and let you know.
______________________________
 

Divrdown

Full Member
55
1
6
Moundsville WV
Buick Ownership
2012 Regal GS
OK update on using the foaming cleaner. I used the cleaner from NAPA for about $9.

I disconnected the drain tube from the bottom of the plastic drain area underneath the carpet. I then inserted the clear tubing directly into the evap area and filled it with the foaming cleaner and then reconnected the drain hose. I took this approach instead of jacking up the car and trying to insert the tubing all the way up through the drain line.
I let the cleaner soak for the indicated 15 minutes and the foam cleaning liquid drained out as it should. I then cycled the AC on and off a couple of times and it seems to have worked. I can still smell the cleaner a little but not the mildew smell that used to be almost immediate after switching off the AC to vent. If the odor returns I will follow up and post.
 

mflorendo

Full Member
30
0
0
Buick Ownership
2012 Buick Regal, 2013 Buick Enclave Leather AWD
Last week, I had my vehicle brought to the dealership for the smell issue. They kept it for 2 days, have the tech bring it home. They reported back to me that they were not able to smell anything. I was so furious because I smell it EVERYDAY. They wouldn't do anything because they cannot replicate the *bleeping* issue. They, then, told me they have an aircon cleaning kit that they could use to perform cleaning, but since it is a maintenance part, it is not covered under warranty. In my desire to get rid of the nasty smell, I authorized the job. To date (since last Saturday), I have not smell any odor that I usually smell everyday which means the cleaning was effective, therefore, there could have been something in there that was causing the odor. Unfortunately they couldn't smell a damn thing (perhaps the tech has much more of a body odor) so I end up paying for the service.
I brought the vehicle home but parked outside the driveway instead bringing it straight to the garage. Approximately, 10mins later went back to the car to park inside, I noticed the ac blower was blowing (keys out of ignition). Immediately called Onstar to run diagnostic..no codes. I did however have them note the phenomenon. Fast forward today, I went to the car wash, drove home (3 miles), parked inside the garage and perform additional cleaning. 3 times for about 8mins interval the blower turned for for a few seconds (again keys out of ignition).
My questions:
1. Anyone else experienced this?
2. Could this be a part of a programming routine to cycle the blower after turning off the engine to get rid of any residual moisture and the likes that could have accumulated?

Haven't called the dealer about this since it was past office hours. Will also be contacting the buick district rep that i have recently been in touch with regarding other issues with this same vehicle.
______________________________
 

SSJ455

Full Member
389
25
28
Hudson Valley
Buick Ownership
2013 Quicksilver Regal GS
I had this same smell in my 2006 Grand Prix. It is not the cabin filter it is because of the build up of condensation. There is a feature that can be programmed into the computer that will turn on the fans to dry out the system after the car is turned off. It will run for a few minutes and then shut off. Why it was not programmed that way from the factory I don't know. I guess it is another way for GM to make money.
It does help but it will not get rid of the problem all together. I don't know if the Regal is able to have this feature turned on but it may be worth a look. And there is no need for them to keep the car for two days. That just means they didn't get a chance to look at it. As soon as the A/C is turned on, you can smell it.
 
2,414
8
38
Detroit, USA
Last week, I had my vehicle brought to the dealership for the smell issue. They kept it for 2 days, have the tech bring it home. They reported back to me that they were not able to smell anything. I was so furious because I smell it EVERYDAY. They wouldn't do anything because they cannot replicate the *bleeping* issue. They, then, told me they have an aircon cleaning kit that they could use to perform cleaning, but since it is a maintenance part, it is not covered under warranty. In my desire to get rid of the nasty smell, I authorized the job. To date (since last Saturday), I have not smell any odor that I usually smell everyday which means the cleaning was effective, therefore, there could have been something in there that was causing the odor. Unfortunately they couldn't smell a damn thing (perhaps the tech has much more of a body odor) so I end up paying for the service.
I brought the vehicle home but parked outside the driveway instead bringing it straight to the garage. Approximately, 10mins later went back to the car to park inside, I noticed the ac blower was blowing (keys out of ignition). Immediately called Onstar to run diagnostic..no codes. I did however have them note the phenomenon. Fast forward today, I went to the car wash, drove home (3 miles), parked inside the garage and perform additional cleaning. 3 times for about 8mins interval the blower turned for for a few seconds (again keys out of ignition).
My questions:
1. Anyone else experienced this?
2. Could this be a part of a programming routine to cycle the blower after turning off the engine to get rid of any residual moisture and the likes that could have accumulated?

Haven't called the dealer about this since it was past office hours. Will also be contacting the buick district rep that i have recently been in touch with regarding other issues with this same vehicle.
Hello mflorendo,

Please keep us updated on your phone call with the dealership! If you need further assistance, please feel free to let me know.

Jessica
Buick Customer Care
 

BayouBuick

Full Member
341
1
18
Louisiana
Buick Ownership
2012 Buick Regal GS
OK update on using the foaming cleaner. I used the cleaner from NAPA for about $9.

I disconnected the drain tube from the bottom of the plastic drain area underneath the carpet. I then inserted the clear tubing directly into the evap area and filled it with the foaming cleaner and then reconnected the drain hose. I took this approach instead of jacking up the car and trying to insert the tubing all the way up through the drain line.
I let the cleaner soak for the indicated 15 minutes and the foam cleaning liquid drained out as it should. I then cycled the AC on and off a couple of times and it seems to have worked. I can still smell the cleaner a little but not the mildew smell that used to be almost immediate after switching off the AC to vent. If the odor returns I will follow up and post.
Thanks for the update. I have had this issue for a few months and it is driving me crazy. I don't get the smell when I have it pull in air from the outside but when I have it on re-circulate it smells when I first turn on the car.
 
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