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I have noticed for a while now that when I turn on my A/C there is a very bad chemical smell, for at least 5 minutes. The heat is fine, it's only when I turn on the A/C. I have 30K on my Atlas, and have all the scheduled maintenance done. Anybody else notice anything?
 

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YES!!! My wife has been complaining for the past month that when she turns it on it stinks. She says it smells like stinky feet and chemicals. This can’t be a coincidence. I was trying to wait until we took it back for and oil change or something to have them look at it. I may have to do it sooner now that I know it isn’t just her.
 

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I just came to post a similar issue! Our Atlas is now just about two years old and I've not had a smell issue until recently. Really since it came back a few months ago from the catalytic convertor fix. Anyhow, I don't notice a stink until I put the vehicle into reverse. Then it is an almost overwhelming chemical smell… almost like burning washer fluid or something. Has nothing to do with what setting my air is on, only that it is on. Totally bizarre… but it is noxious! I'm so fed up with taking this thing back into the shop I have just dealt with it and thankfully it has gotten warmer around here where I haven't been using the air that much.
 

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Hi all, I've been searching for this issue for weeks! Our VW Atlas smells awful since we've been turning the AC back in June! It's horrible the smell of stall water mildew stays inside the cabin and even from outside the vehicle. My dealer doesn't know what to do about this ! I'm so glad it's not just my atlas with this problem. I have sprayed a full can of AC cleaner inside all the ventilation trap and it still smells awful. My dealer told me to contact my car insurance and I did but they refused because troubleshooting is not part of a coverage car insurance, in other words, go back to your dealer. Now we are stuck with an Atlas that smell bad. I will contact my dealer again and if this doesn't get resolved I will call VW Canada to make a legit complain about this issue. I will keep you posted ! thanks for the therapy lol
 

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Had a similar issue with my '14 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Spent a year fussing with all sorts of remedies. Final solution was an aftermarket cabin air filter impregnated with charcoal. I replace it every spring, and no smell for years now. YouTube has videos of replacing filter. Piece of cake.



By the way, new forum member, first post. I've been lurking for a while now. Looking at Atlas to replace my Jeep in the next couple of years. Waiting to see the Cross Sport. Looks like a winner. My first vehicle was a 1961 VW Beetle. That kind of dates me!
 

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The AC system can get a mildew smell from time to time in many cars, my Atlas does it from time to time and it goes away after a bit. Typically only smell it once the system starts blowing on startup. I run

For those with these issues, you jsut have to get it to teh dealer and make sure they can re-create it...if that means nigh-dropping it so it will do it on startup in the morning after sitting, so be it. You get the service advisor or tech to come out so they can verify it. They can't fix what they can't re-create.

This sounds a bit different possibly than the standard mildew-type smell which all cars get from time to time and easily remedied by different products to spray into your HVAC/replace cabin filter with one that eliminates odors (charcoal). Could this be a coolant leak? This has been noted to produce a strong smell both inside/outside the vehicle.
 

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Hi all, I've been searching for this issue for weeks! Our VW Atlas smells awful since we've been turning the AC back in June! It's horrible the smell of stall water mildew stays inside the cabin and even from outside the vehicle. My dealer doesn't know what to do about this ! I'm so glad it's not just my atlas with this problem. I have sprayed a full can of AC cleaner inside all the ventilation trap and it still smells awful. My dealer told me to contact my car insurance and I did but they refused because troubleshooting is not part of a coverage car insurance, in other words, go back to your dealer. Now we are stuck with an Atlas that smell bad. I will contact my dealer again and if this doesn't get resolved I will call VW Canada to make a legit complain about this issue. I will keep you posted ! thanks for the therapy lol
Hi.
I have the same mold smell. Cant get rid off.
Tried spraying nothing helps. Feels like sometimes being a 100 year old moldy basement
 

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My 19 Atlas and my wife's 19 Grand Cherokee both give off an odd smell when the AC kicks in after a while with no use. I'm starting to think its just a normal side effect of modern car AC's that go unused for a while.
 

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The key is to....run your a/c. The auto function of your climate control system has a/c on by default for a reason...to keep the air dry/conditioned. I never have any smell. Charcoal filters work well too. It's not impacted your mpgs enough to worry about and even with the heat in the winter, the a/c is good b/c it keeps the interior from fogging up.
 

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Same here! I purchased a 2018 SE 4Motion w/ Tech V6 in Dec 2018. Now have 35K on it and since I’ve owned it, the A/C smell is noxious. Purchased a new charcoal cabin filter from VW about six months ago and still smells. However, when I turn the RE-CIRCULATE on; the smell goes away almost instantly. I’m wondering if it has something to do with where the intake vent for the outside air is located? I’m living with it by making sure when the A/C is on, that the RE-CIRCULATE is on as well.
 
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