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Chemical smell after car sits without being plugged in.

Spinytail859

Member
May 20, 2021
18
20
Pittsburgh, PA
I took delivery on my first Tesla (actually, it’s my first EV as well) 2.5 weeks ago, a Model 3 Performance. I took it on a road trip from Pittsburgh, PA, to Cape May, NJ, for a long weekend. On the way out, I charged 3 times at superchargers. Once I arrived, the car went into the garage and sat unplugged for two days. When I went to get into the car to grab something that I left in there, there was a very strong chemical smell, not sweet, not moldy. I turned the climate on and the smell went away. I plugged the car into the 110v outlet that night. The next morning, there was no smell. On the last night there, I pulled the car out of the garage, packed it and left it overnight unplugged. In the morning, the smell was there again, but not as a strong. This is the first time I’ve ever smelled this smell, but it was also the first time I tried supercharging, the first long trip I’ve taken, and the first time I’ve ever gone unplugged for over 24 hours. Does anyone have any idea what this smell is?
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
6,660
7,951
Boise, ID
I took delivery [...] 2.5 weeks ago there was a very strong chemical smell
I take it you've never bought a new car before? All new cars do this.

Now there is one thing that is a little different. When people buy cars from dealerships, they finished off the factory production line MONTHS earlier. They have been delivered to car dealerships and sat out in their lots under the sun for months. That gives them MUCH more time for that chemical outgassing to work its magic, and bonus points for that car maybe being taken out for test drives a few times, or had the doors opened a few times to move it around the lot some or move it into the service bay to fix something that was not quite right when it was delivered to the dealership (that happens often).

So the big difference is just time. These Teslas finished at the factory just a week or two before you get it. It is still VERY new and has not had much chance for that material outgassing to work itself out yet.
 
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Spinytail859

Member
May 20, 2021
18
20
Pittsburgh, PA
I take it you've never bought a new car before? All new cars do this.

Now there is one thing that is a little different. When people buy cars from dealerships, they finished off the factory production line MONTHS earlier. They have been delivered to car dealerships and sat out in their lots under the sun for months. That gives them MUCH more time for that chemical outgassing to work its magic, and bonus points for that car maybe being taken out for test drives a few times, or had the doors opened a few times to move it around the lot some or move it into the service bay to fix something that was not quite right when it was delivered to the dealership (that happens often).

So the big difference is just time. These Teslas finished at the factory just a week or two before you get it. It is still VERY new and has not had much chance for that material outgassing to work itself out yet.
I've experienced the new car smell, but never this disgusting smell before. If that's all it is, that's a great thing! Thanks!
 

al503

Member
Jan 11, 2019
178
82
Portland
Not sure if it's the same thing but my Dec. '18 build M3P has a burning electrical tape smell (for lack of a better description) that comes in from the trunk area at start up. My guess is that it's from the stock sub amplifier or something in that area and it was really noticeable when I was putting in a new amp. It's most noticeable when I back up out of the garage and goes away once under way. It's not quite as strong as it used to be but it's still there after 2.5 years. It doesn't seem to be dependent on whether the car was plugged in or not either.
 
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OmrHoffman

New Member
Apr 22, 2021
1
0
Farmers Branch
Our new Model 3 has 6,711 miles and the AC still smells like sour vinegar when we start up on hot day in TX. Do you think there is a water leak somewhere and there is yuck from that? I have only washed the car by hand and once at a do it yourself wand car wash. The smell goes away after a few minutes on high flow AC.
 

rdeca

Member
May 13, 2019
55
23
SoCal
Our new Model 3 has 6,711 miles and the AC still smells like sour vinegar when we start up on hot day in TX. Do you think there is a water leak somewhere and there is yuck from that? I have only washed the car by hand and once at a do it yourself wand car wash. The smell goes away after a few minutes on high flow AC.
Your specific issue is with the AC, nothing to do with how you washed your car. There have been many threads about the AC smell and how to address them. In short, you will need to clean the condenser and probably change out the air filters. This can be done DIY or through Tesla.
 

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