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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed a mildew smell recently when putting the windows down. I have never smelled such a thing from a car door....nonetheless a 2 year old one.

It smells like an old tarp or tent that wasn't dried properly (is that mildew?). With the window down, it smells at the top of the door where the window opening is, it seems like it's coming from inside the doors or the weatherstripping at the top. Not very detectable with the windows up.

Anyone experience this?
 

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Check to make sure the drains on the bottom of the door are open.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I guess I should check the drain, of course, never had a two year old car with all door drains clogged.
We'll see.
 

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If it's not the drains, pull the door panels and make sure the plastic water shields are in place. If water got to the inside of the upholstery, you would get the smell.
There are two sides of a door, the wet side and the dry side. The wet side is where the guts are such as window motor, regulators and door lock actuators. The dry side is the area of the water shield that faces you when you remove the door panel.
If you park outside, under trees, you could get clogged drains.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As I figured, the drains are dry.

I need to talk to the dealership since I shouldn't need to be pulling friggin' door panels off of a two year old car to check anything (but thanks for the helpful suggestion!). I should be driving and smiling.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The dealership found nothing. It was a cloudy morning and the small wasn't very apparent anyway (unlike hot days). They checked the drains as I had done and also the sunroof drains.
If the odor continues I'll pull a door panel and check myself.
 

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I have money on the Hvac intake. Back in the day we would use a hand sprayer and spray a smell good sanitizer type stuff over the external vent at the base of the windshield outside the car while the fan was being run inside the car.

In locations where you have humid conditions or damp conditions and the vents do not dry every time the Hvac fan is kicked on you could get a very foul musty smell blown into the cabin.

Go on youtube and search for the Cabin filter replacement on the subaru - and go check your cabin filter maybe you have some foul smelling debri collected and growing mold in the filter.
 

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Go on youtube and search for the Cabin filter replacement on the subaru - and go check your cabin filter maybe you have some foul smelling debri collected and growing mold in the filter.
I'd say this is a good bet, too. All kinds of things can get trapped in that filter. When I first replaced mine, the filter was black (and didn't smell too great) and the compartment it was in was chock full of pine needles.
 

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I can bet on that too, If you are running your aircon with the vent closed the condensation on the vent can be traped inside and there where the smell coming from. To cure that is simple, run your aircon with the vent open, while driving of course, thay way that condensation traped inside will dried up and you will be surprise you won't smell that old wet carpet. It works for me. Try it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I appreciate the HVAC advice, but this is a smell that comes from the door.
It hits you when you put the window down....and then it can be pinpointed when you smell the window slot at the top of the door (with the window open all the way).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Smelling sealer body glue and electrical components given thats all a door has in it
That's what's in everyone's door....do they all stink? Plus, this just started a few weeks ago.
More questions than answers so far....thanks for trying though.
 

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Mildew Smell from Doors when opening windows

PHBMD. Have you been able to find the cause of your problem? I have the same exact symptom. Figure I would check the web before I go exploring.
 

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There was an issue with "smelly parts" a long time ago and I cannot remember if it was door pads or not.

My best guess and it's just a thought...is that it might be water getting soaked into the glue or excess glue used inside the door pad, the only way to know is to see if there is browning or discoloring around the back of the door pad where the upper meets the Mid.
 

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Do you live in a humid climate?
 

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Does anyone else notice water coating the external side of their windows when they raise them back up from the door?

After a rain shower, I have noticed something funny about my outback. I observe ALOT of water on the external side of my window when I lower the dry window into my door and then raise it back up (Sorry no pics yet). I am more used to cars providing a completely rubberized lip that rests against the inside&outside of windows where they go into the door (where you would rest your elbow) which prevents the window from emerging from the door with water on it, almost like a squeegee (presumably keeps it from getting in, too). On my 2011 Outback, it seems that this component retains water (I observe this when I run my finger along it), and it feels like there is fabric woven into it, almost like a wet rug. After a day or so water stops coating the windows when I raise them back up, so this water may be completely contained in the rubberized lip and evaporates with time.

All this makes me wonder whether water might get into the door, too, with the usual associated problems, as observed by the OP.
 

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I noticed a mildew smell recently when putting the windows down. I have never smelled such a thing from a car door....nonetheless a 2 year old one.

It smells like an old tarp or tent that wasn't dried properly (is that mildew?). With the window down, it smells at the top of the door where the window opening is, it seems like it's coming from inside the doors or the weatherstripping at the top. Not very detectable with the windows up.

Anyone experience this?
My '05 Frontier has this. I have to clean the rubber seals where the glass slides into when closed with small rags and cleaner regulary.
I use something to jam the cleaner rag up in the crease and drag it along.
 

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Windows Smell

We own a 2011 3.6 LTD Outback. A few months ago we started smelling mildew/mold in all 4 doors of the car. This has never happened in all our years of car ownership. Since the car is out of warranty, we took the car in to our independent repair shop (family friend). He found mold spores inside the door panels, and cleaned out what he could. We called our Subaru dealer & they had never heard of the problem. The dealer's service mgr. did agree to inspect the doors because, while the smell had decreased, it was still noticeable, especially when driving with the windows open. The dealer's service dept inspected the door panels, & did not see or smell mold/mildew. We then contacted Subaru America. They agreed to let us do a mold test, & if a certified test finds mold/mildew, then they will have the dealership do a professional detail on the car. That's well & good, but we still don't know the cause of the mold/mildew. We didn't find any complaints on the NHTSA website. If anyone knows if any parts were manufactured in Japan during the 2011 tsunami, please let us know.
 

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To clean plastic/vinyl and leaving a fresh smell, use 1Z Cockpit Premium. It's the best cleaner/protector that leaves a natural finish, no gloss or shine, just an OEM matte finish with no residue. The smell is fresh and clean smelling.

As for the rubber seals, 1Z Gummi Pfledge is one of the best rubber seal treatments out there. The other is made by Wurth, a rubber stick and they also have a spray. Used on Porsche vehicles.

It's always important to keep all seals in the door, hood, rear areas treated.

The smell may be a small deposit of a mold or moldy dirt/dust and/or fabric material that once got wet but will not produce the odor unless very humid or wet. If it's dry and less humidity it will not produce the smell.

So, someone has to open the interior door panels and get a scope to look around and find the mess laying around somewhere.

Deanski
 

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I have a 2012 with the same problem. The smell is only when the window is down.. The car can be off and sitting still and if you put your nose right over the track the smell is definitely coming out of there. Only 22,000 miles so my warranty still applies. I will take to the dealer. The smell is exactly as poster states.
 
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