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Old 10-14-2009, 06:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bad Smell in Cabin

Has anyone heard of any problems with interior odor? It isn't related to the motor/brakes/clutch or anything exterior. It's akin to "new car smell" but it's pretty bad, almost toxic. I suspect it's the seat cushions or the foam in the seats, because when I smell them close, they smells chemical-ish. It's really bad on warm days when the car sits in the sun with the windows up.

Has anyone heard of this? It's a 2004 base model Outback.

It's only gotten worse over the years, and almost to the point my family doesn't want to get in my car anymore. I don't eat in my car, don't smoke at all, and keep it pretty clean.

All suggestions appreciated.

John C.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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did you buy it new ?
if so, have you had the interior cleaned at any time since owning the car ?
either way, is it possible someone used a cleaner that disintegrates the foaming ?

another thing, has it gotten wet inside ever ? (I mean, good and wet, not like just opening the door in the rain wet) it could be mold growing in the foam, under the headliner and under the carpet.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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d0sitmatr,

Good questions.

Yes I bought it new. No one has cleaned it but me, and I have not used any kind of cleaner on the fabric or foam.

It has not been drenched, and, I also live in a dry climate.

A follow-up question I would like to ask if anyone knows, how difficult and costly would it be to replace the seats all around?

Thanks,

John C.
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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google or yellow page > auto upholstery at your area ... they can quote you
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Could be mould or smelly build-up in the heater-A/C box (especially if the car does not have a cabin air filter, or if it does it hasn't been maintained, or if the evaporator drain hose is blocked). This is not an uncommon problem.

Look in the DIY forum for threads on replacing the cabin air filter. I recall that they have postings about cleaning or spraying to deal with smells.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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HHmm......this car didn't happen to be a flood recovered vehicle?
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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start your search here, try your zip first then go from there:
car parts

I found a full set of leather interior for $100.o in like new condition. (I didnt buy it but did consider it)
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Old 10-15-2009, 06:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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All good suggestions, thanks everyone!
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