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2021 pd i30 hatch - bad vinegar smell air conditioning

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Offline 2021stinkyi30

  • 1st Gear
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    • Posts: 2

    • au Australia
Hey guys
I currently have an issue with my 2021 pd i30 hatch. Every time I start the car or the air vents are on, a strong vinegar smell comes out from the vents.
It seems to be worse in the mornings or after rain or even after using the windscreen washers. I also seem to smell the windscreen washer fluid whenever I do use them.
I’ve taken it back to the service centre multiple times and they say they’ve inspected the ducts and filters and changed filters and can’t see anything? They’ve run a deodoriser through it twice and it still prevails with the vinegar smell.
I’m going insane because I can hardly drive the car without having all the windows down. If I turn the fan off on the ac the air flow pushes the smell into the car. It does seem to subside a little if you switch to recirculate but it doesn’t stop completely.
Does anyone know what is happening or even have a few ideas to point them towards when I take it back for a third time next week to have it checked?
  • 2021 i30 pd


PGN I30
Smelling the screen wash fluid in use is normal, that's why I use a scented one like cherry or berry.
The vinegar smell will be mould in the system, have you tried buying a can of supermarket anti bacterial spray and sprayed it down the vents when off also put the system on full fan, air con on, recirculate on and spray down under the glove box, right hand drive, where the system sucks in the recirculated air.
I've tried the fancy £20 a can deodorisers but this method works better, my air conditioning had a musty dog smell to it and doing this cleared it.



Offline TerryT

  • V.I.P
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    • Posts: 520

    • au Australia
      Sydney, NSW
Smelling the screen wash fluid in use is normal, that's why I use a scented one like cherry or berry.
The vinegar smell will be mould in the system, have you tried buying a can of supermarket anti bacterial spray and sprayed it down the vents when off also put the system on full fan, air con on, recirculate on and spray down under the glove box, right hand drive, where the system sucks in the recirculated air.
I've tried the fancy £20 a can deodorisers but this method works better, my air conditioning had a musty dog smell to it and doing this cleared it.

@2021stinkyi30:  Your problem sounds bad(!).  My first guess would have been mould, as PGN I30 posted, though you say the dealership ran a deodoriser through the system twice? :undecided:  Have you had a chance to try what PGN I30 suggested?

@ PGN I30 :  Do you even own a dog? :)

I've been lucky, so far (touch wood), the only smell I occasionally get is that rotten gas/sulphur smell.  But given my journeys are 90% short hops and the poor car only gets the infrequent long haul (> 1hour) I'm saying that's the catalytic converter. 
  • 2018 i30 PD SR Auto 1.6 Turbo Hatch (Sparkling Metal)


Offline CraigB

  • Global Moderator
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    • Posts: 11,011

    • au Australia
      Perth, WA
Have the outside vents below the windscreen been checked for any rotting leaf matter that may have found it's way through the grille/vent :undecided:


Offline TerryT

  • V.I.P
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    • Posts: 520

    • au Australia
      Sydney, NSW
Have the outside vents below the windscreen been checked for any rotting leaf matter that may have found it's way through the grille/vent :undecided:

That's a good thought!  :goodjob2:
  • 2018 i30 PD SR Auto 1.6 Turbo Hatch (Sparkling Metal)


Offline TerryT

  • V.I.P
  • *
    • Posts: 520

    • au Australia
      Sydney, NSW
Hey guys
I currently have an issue with my 2021 pd i30 hatch. Every time I start the car or the air vents are on, a strong vinegar smell comes out from the vents.
It seems to be worse in the mornings or after rain or even after using the windscreen washers. I also seem to smell the windscreen washer fluid whenever I do use them.
I’ve taken it back to the service centre multiple times and they say they’ve inspected the ducts and filters and changed filters and can’t see anything? They’ve run a deodoriser through it twice and it still prevails with the vinegar smell.
I’m going insane because I can hardly drive the car without having all the windows down. If I turn the fan off on the ac the air flow pushes the smell into the car. It does seem to subside a little if you switch to recirculate but it doesn’t stop completely.
Does anyone know what is happening or even have a few ideas to point them towards when I take it back for a third time next week to have it checked?

@2012 stinkyi30.  Did you finally find out what was the problem?
  • 2018 i30 PD SR Auto 1.6 Turbo Hatch (Sparkling Metal)


Offline TerryT

  • V.I.P
  • *
    • Posts: 520

    • au Australia
      Sydney, NSW
Hey guys
I currently have an issue with my 2021 pd i30 hatch. Every time I start the car or the air vents are on, a strong vinegar smell comes out from the vents.
It seems to be worse in the mornings or after rain or even after using the windscreen washers. I also seem to smell the windscreen washer fluid whenever I do use them.
I’ve taken it back to the service centre multiple times and they say they’ve inspected the ducts and filters and changed filters and can’t see anything? They’ve run a deodoriser through it twice and it still prevails with the vinegar smell.
I’m going insane because I can hardly drive the car without having all the windows down. If I turn the fan off on the ac the air flow pushes the smell into the car. It does seem to subside a little if you switch to recirculate but it doesn’t stop completely.
Does anyone know what is happening or even have a few ideas to point them towards when I take it back for a third time next week to have it checked?

@2012 stinkyi30.  Did you finally find out what was the problem?

@ 2012 stinkyi30.  Did you finally find out what was the problem?
  • 2018 i30 PD SR Auto 1.6 Turbo Hatch (Sparkling Metal)


Offline 2021stinkyi30

  • 1st Gear
  • *
    • Posts: 2

    • au Australia

Offline TerryT

  • V.I.P
  • *
    • Posts: 520

    • au Australia
      Sydney, NSW
still smells still no answers

Sorry to hear that.
  • 2018 i30 PD SR Auto 1.6 Turbo Hatch (Sparkling Metal)


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