HVAC smell

Mackiesback

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521
56
28
MInnesota
Buick Ownership
2017 Buick Regal Premium II-Trifecta Tune
My 2011 has find of a funky smell when you turn on the heater/ac. Didn't notice it so much in the winter at all, but now that spring has sprung, it's there, especially with the AC. It's almost kind of a vinegar smell. Someone told me this was kind of normal with the new refrigerants they use, but I am having a hard time buying it. Anybody have any input or similar issues?
 

wierz11

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795
14
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AZ
Buick Ownership
E92 M3, E46 330, E24 635CSi
I have the same smell. The techs couldn't replicate it (of course) but the smell disappears after a few minutes of use. To prevent it, I try to run NO AC a few minutes before the car turns off or I reach my destination. It seems to help it a little bit.
 

T07

Full Member
129
8
18
Buick Ownership
2011 Buick Regal
Could be microbial growth from moisture on the evaporator core. I would recommend having the dealer turn on the afterblow feature. It will cycle the blower after the car is shut off to dry off the evaporator.

If they don't believe you have them reference Document ID: 2382151.
 
Last edited:
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2,414
23
38
Detroit, USA
My 2011 has find of a funky smell when you turn on the heater/ac. Didn't notice it so much in the winter at all, but now that spring has sprung, it's there, especially with the AC. It's almost kind of a vinegar smell. Someone told me this was kind of normal with the new refrigerants they use, but I am having a hard time buying it. Anybody have any input or similar issues?

Hi Mackiesback,

It sounds like you're becoming overwhelmed by odors from your HVAC! Please private message me if you would like assistance.

Kenneth M.
Buick Customer Care

It sounds
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2,414
23
38
Detroit, USA
Hello all,

I happened to be speaking with a service manager about this yesterday, and thought I would share that he suggests using the recirculate button as this will reduce moisture in the vehicle. Hopefully this will help alleviate the issue, but if anyone continues to experience concerns, please let us know!

Jessica
Buick Customer Care
 

QSilverGS

Full Member
374
4
0
Holland, MI
Buick Ownership
2012 GS, 2006 Rendezvous
Yeah, I've noticed it too. Both A/C and heat. Annoying at first then goes away. Mine sat at the dealership for two years before I picked it up. Thought it could be adhesives or dirty cabin filter by haven't replaced it yet. The evap core info is good to know. It's in for a couple other things right now but I'm going to put this on the list...
 

wierz11

Full Member
795
14
0
AZ
Buick Ownership
E92 M3, E46 330, E24 635CSi
Could be microbial growth from moisture on the evaporator core. I would recommend having the dealer turn on the afterblow feature. It will cycle the blower after the car is shut off to dry off the evaporator.

If they don't believe you have them reference Document ID: 2382151.

Definitely some good info. Gonna slap that into my "welcome wagon" post for new users :thumpsup:
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Divrdown

Full Member
55
1
8
Moundsville WV
Buick Ownership
2012 Regal GS
I went through this last year and had posted what cleaner I used, I ended up using a foaming cleaner from NAPA. I injected it through the drain tube under the carpet on the passenger side of the center console. There is a tube that connects the bottom of the drain through the floor. I disconnected it, fed the hose of the foaming cleaner up and filled with cleaner, followed the directions. Reconnect it let it drain out and much better. I also changed out the cabin air filter even though it didn't appear to be dirty. Much better through the rest of the summer running the AC. We'll see if I have to do it all over again when I start using the AC again this year.
 

wierz11

Full Member
795
14
0
AZ
Buick Ownership
E92 M3, E46 330, E24 635CSi
@Divr, I think I remember that post. Do you have any pics of the process? That'd be great, but if not, I might have to try that out along with T07's solution.
 

IndyGS

Full Member
183
1
18
Indianapolis, IN
Buick Ownership
2013 Buick Regal GS
Part of the reason I got a Buick in the first place was that my grandparents always had Buicks, and I always noticed how smooth and quiet they were. One other thing I distinctly remember about all of their cars is that they had an odd, almost foot odor type smell when we first got in the car. While it may not be specific to Buick's, it certainly seems to be on of their characteristics. I hardly even notice it anymore, but my girlfriend mentioned it the other day. I usually try to run recirculate if I'm going to have guests in the car, and don't worry about it otherwise.
 

cubaniche

Full Member
304
8
18
Buick Ownership
Buick
I would definitely look at and replace the cabin air filter. Those go overlooked by many all the time.
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Divrdown

Full Member
55
1
8
Moundsville WV
Buick Ownership
2012 Regal GS
I didn't take any pics but I found my old post.
Its really pretty easy to do just roll the carpet back on the inside corner on the passenger side right at the edge of the console. You will see the drain hose that leads to the evap area that then goes right into the floor pan. Carefully roll off the line so you can insert the cleaner hose up into the eve box / drain and fill it full of the cleaner, which comes in a pressurized aerosol. I then put the hose back on and temporarily pinched off the hose (locking pliers) so the cleaner would stay in the system for the 15 minutes recommended. While waiting I added a zip tie to the top of the hose so it would not come off the drain tube. Removed pliers and drained the cleaner out etc.

Here is the old post:
http://buickforums.com/forums/threads/30804-air-conditioner-odor?highlight=musty+ac
 

brfield

Full Member
76
0
0
Buick Ownership
2012 Regal GS
It's definitely moisture build up in the core, Last couple cars at we had when I was at home did it, using the afterblow function fixed it for the most part. The Grand Prix did it, the Lacrosse did it for a while, and there were some on the lot that did it after being used as a demo at the dealer I used to work at.
 

Mackiesback

Full Member
521
56
28
MInnesota
Buick Ownership
2017 Buick Regal Premium II-Trifecta Tune
Hello all,

I happened to be speaking with a service manager about this yesterday, and thought I would share that he suggests using the recirculate button as this will reduce moisture in the vehicle. Hopefully this will help alleviate the issue, but if anyone continues to experience concerns, please let us know!

Jessica
Buick Customer Care

In MN we get some pretty harsh and dry winters. Whenever you see a car rolling down the road in the winter with fogged up windows, you know they have the recirc on. The body gives out humidity. In the summer it is kind of the opposite, as the outdoor air is humid, and using recirc takes some of the load off the AC in its drying function. We aren't really even close to that weather yet here though.

Good responses everybody. That may help.
 

mlap1088

Full Member
64
0
0
CT
Buick Ownership
Buick
I had this happen to me on my 2012. Replaced the cabin air filter and it went right away. Thing was pretty nasty even after only 2 years.
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Jetjock

Full Member
23
0
0
Phoenix AZ
Buick Ownership
2014 Regal Turbo
My 2014 Regal Turbo started giving off an odor, [after a couple of months of owning] when either turning off the A/C or sometimes when Initially turning it on. I live in the desert so the moisture angle seem unlikely. I did speak with the dealership service manager, and he mentioned that the evaporator is mounted horizontally now, rather than vertically and this seems to aggravate this Issue. Apparently they spray some disinfectant and/or cleaner over the evaporator as a fix. However, not a permanent one. Seem's ridiculous that this is a common problem that can't be solved.
 

EnderWiggin

Full Member
384
14
18
Buick Ownership
2012 Regal GS
I've noticed in the morning it smells awful for a couple of minutes, but goes away. It smells nothing like anything surrounding the car in the garage, and some awful smells at that. Is it possible with 18k miles and ~2 year old car that I need a new Cabin Air Filter already? Think this would be covered in a bumper to bumper warranty?
 

TurboLover

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521
45
28
Central NJ
Buick Ownership
2011 Regal Turbo (T03) - 6 sp manual & 2013 Verano Turbo (totalled 9/19)
I have it on occasion as well but had it really bad on my old Passat. My service person would change the cabin air filter but before doing so would remove the old filter near the firewall and spray an automotive disisinfectant (wish I remembered the name) directly into the fan intake with the fan turned on high. Gave it a minute to circulate and then would give a second shot and put the new filter in.

Usually would take care of the smell for a while. He showed me how to do since I had it the issue so often (showed me how to fish...).
 

kcmo

Buick Newbie
2
0
0
Buick Ownership
Buick
Had the same issue.

2013 Turbo with 15,000.

Dealer told me it was the in cabin air filter, and that it sometimes gets moldy because of water getting inside this area. Usually they can spray some chemicals on the filter to clean it.
But at 15k they recommend replacing the filter.

So after I replaced it the smell went away.
 
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