Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Model 3 AC Smell Update...

AxlxA

Member
Jun 23, 2020
525
440
Bay Area
Well I did it myself...and the screw fell into the car. Luckily no rattling..and there is no retrieving it for sure where it dropped. So I taped up that plastic cover.... So I'm ready again to replace the filters and do the can of Kool It... BUT does anyone know if I can replace that screw at HD or Lowes? Or get one that fits that does not use that crazy screwdriver head type?

By the way .. next Time I am getting THREAD and tying it to the screw so that if it does drop..I can retrieve it and then once its screwed in I can either ignore it and see if it breaks from contact or just cut off the extra after I'm done.
What screw are you talking about?
 

Matsayz

Active Member
Jul 6, 2019
1,172
877
Las Vegas
What screw are you talking about?

They’re talking about the single screw that holds the filter door on. I think it’s a T-20 or 25 head but just grab a random Phillips head screw and twist it in there. Horrible design for maintenance but whatcha gonna do, besides pay Tesla the money to change the filter.

I’m sure if you stopped at your local service center they’d give you a new screw
 

BIC1

Member
Feb 19, 2020
89
16
Missouri USA
I don't know about the Model 3 specifically, but generally to avoid AC mildew/mold odors:

1. avoid/minimize use of AC recirculated air

2. turn AC off but let fan run with fresh air five minutes before parking in garage at work or home for the day (also reduces water on garage floor)

These techniques will reduce condensation moisture in the ventilation system.
 

kbecks13

Active Member
Dec 27, 2017
1,917
2,284
SoCal
2. turn AC off but let fan run with fresh air five minutes before parking in garage at work or home for the day (also reduces water on garage floor)

These techniques will reduce condensation moisture in the ventilation system.

This is supposed to be automated in Model 3 as of ~1.5 years ago when they pushed a software fix for the first round of smell issues that people had on early cars. Then they started popping up again this summer pretty aggressively, part of me wonders if they forget to include that portion of the HVAC code in later software releases, but that's probably just my tin foil hat talking (it is summer after all)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gabbleratchet7

GregD60

Member
Mar 24, 2016
369
363
Colorado
Well I did it myself...and the screw fell into the car. Luckily no rattling..and there is no retrieving it for sure where it dropped. So I taped up that plastic cover.... So I'm ready again to replace the filters and do the can of Kool It... BUT does anyone know if I can replace that screw at HD or Lowes? Or get one that fits that does not use that crazy screwdriver head type?

By the way .. next Time I am getting THREAD and tying it to the screw so that if it does drop..I can retrieve it and then once its screwed in I can either ignore it and see if it breaks from contact or just cut off the extra after I'm done.
I haven't tried one of the following myself, but these use a magnet instead of the screw.
Cabin Air Filter Magnetic Cover for 2018-2019 Tesla Model 3 - Black | eBay
Cabin Air Filter Magnetic Cover for 2018-2019 Tesla Model 3 - Orange | eBay
 

plasmo

Member
Mar 12, 2016
453
355
Chicago

GregD60

Member
Mar 24, 2016
369
363
Colorado
  • Like
Reactions: P3dStealth

XLR82XS

D M C
Jul 26, 2019
3,148
1,802
SWFL | Vegas
I don't know about the Model 3 specifically, but generally to avoid AC mildew/mold odors:

1. avoid/minimize use of AC recirculated air

2. turn AC off but let fan run with fresh air five minutes before parking in garage at work or home for the day (also reduces water on garage floor)

These techniques will reduce condensation moisture in the ventilation system.
#1: Correct. As I have said in 2 threads now - do not use recirc mode. I have never had A/C smell in all my Teslas. I never use RECIRC.

#2: Good tip but I have never turned the A/C off when approaching my destination. System stays on AUTO always.
 

Oliver84

New Member
Oct 17, 2020
1
2
76244
#1: Correct. As I have said in 2 threads now - do not use recirc mode. I have never had A/C smell in all my Teslas. I never use RECIRC.

#2: Good tip but I have never turned the A/C off when approaching my destination. System stays on AUTO always.

You never use Recirc but always have it on auto? Doesn't auto switch recirc on/off for you?
 

Ren.OG

Member
Jul 13, 2021
88
45
San Diego
This is a design flaw and Tesla shouldn’t charge to clean it
Yea, i have a vinegar type of smell when i use my A/C (SOMETIMES) even my lady noticed it.
I picked up my car at the end of June so its technically still brand-new, wouldn't the warranty cover this issue and cost me nothing out of pocket?
 

P3dStealth

Active Member
Nov 12, 2019
1,011
1,125
USA
I just bought these filters from Amazon a couple of weeks ago and installed them. They seem to weigh a bit less than the stock filters that I removed, but maybe that's because of all the dirt in the original filters after 26k miles. The filters fit perfectly and looked almost identical to the stock filters. At $10, they're tough to beat.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083XBFL6P/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Thanks, I am going to order these
 

vogz

Member
Dec 5, 2019
273
354
Batavia, IL
I don’t know why everyone just accepts this is OK. I don’t have one car I owned that requires anything other than a filter change. This is a design flaw and Tesla shouldn’t charge to clean it

As has been stated in other threads on this topic, it's a common issue in many car models (if not all at some point in their lives) which is easily verifiable with a simple google search. Just because you have a super small sample size of data in your world in which it hasn't happened doesn't mean that it doesn't happen to other cars. My wife's previous car (2008 Acura RDX) and my previous car (2011 Audi S4) both had this issue multiple times in our ownership. I don't think everyone is just "accepting this as OK", I think people are sharing easy and cheap fixes for the issue when/if it does crop up (not all model 3s have had this issue). If you think that Tesla or ANY other auto manufacturer is going to replace dirty/mildew ridden cabin filters and clean A/C coils for free, you are nuts.
 

florida2017

Member
Jan 15, 2017
50
48
Osprey Florida
As has been stated in other threads on this topic, it's a common issue in many car models (if not all at some point in their lives) which is easily verifiable with a simple google search. Just because you have a super small sample size of data in your world in which it hasn't happened doesn't mean that it doesn't happen to other cars. My wife's previous car (2008 Acura RDX) and my previous car (2011 Audi S4) both had this issue multiple times in our ownership. I don't think everyone is just "accepting this as OK", I think people are sharing easy and cheap fixes for the issue when/if it does crop up (not all model 3s have had this issue). If you think that Tesla or ANY other auto manufacturer is going to replace dirty/mildew ridden cabin filters and clean A/C coils for free, you are nuts.
So true, In Florida it happens in all our cars, some are sooner than others.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lUtriaNt

dduffey

Member
Aug 26, 2015
247
140
Austin, TX
I don't accept it is coincidental that both our 3 and Y have this issue every summer and the Y was delivered with it.

Had one used RAV4 that had it. Had a Honda fit for 11 years that never had it nor did our Civic, Sienna, MR2, Celica, or X3 all at the same location/garage. The one vehicle, RAV4 actually had a recall/TSB ... I will try and dig it up.

I am sure Tesla is not the only one with this problem but if I bought another 3/Y it would be 3/3 given our usage/environment.

A new design would be able to significantly reduce the occurance.
 
  • Disagree
Reactions: lUtriaNt

dduffey

Member
Aug 26, 2015
247
140
Austin, TX
I don't accept it is coincidental that both our 3 and Y have this issue every summer and the Y was delivered with it.

Had one used RAV4 that had it. Had a Honda fit for 11 years that never had it nor did our Civic, Sienna, MR2, Celica, or X3 all at the same location/garage. The one vehicle, RAV4 actually had a recall/TSB ... I will try and dig it up.

I am sure Tesla is not the only one with this problem but if I bought another 3/Y it would be 3/3 given our usage/environment.

A new design would be able to significantly reduce the occurance.
Here is the one and only non-Tesla we had an issue with. This shows it CAN be a design issue and in our experience WAS/IS a design issue. Toyota acknowledged and had a fix in T-SB-0378-09 / HVAC Odor / 11-10-09

Edit: Link to TSB http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/johnduh/2010-04-02_042552_T-SB-0378-09.pdf

Edit 2: If you know how hard it is to change a filter, to replace the coils in the case of the RAV 4 they had to completely tear apart the dash and remove the front seats. It is major costly repair. We took our RAV4 in multiple times to multiple dealers while in warranty but we didn't find out about the TSB until it was out of warranty and then Toyota refused to fix the problem. We ended up trading it in for an X3 and although I was a big Toyota fan will probably not buy one again until they BEV.
 
Last edited:

Brock-WI

Member
Aug 4, 2020
76
59
Green Bay, WI
I don't understand why recirc would make the smell / problem worse. I would think recirc air would have less humidity in the air and thus less condensation on the coils and less potential for nasty things to grow in there. But I can see fresh air would force more fresh air though the coils and car eliminating any smells faster, but not really less condensation, potentially more condensation. I think this has to be a design issue, if the coils can properly drain and dry by themselves there should be no issue.

I do shut off our A/C and switch to fresh air a couple of minutes before we stop to give the coils a chance to dry off and as others have mentioned I thought the fan was suppose to stay on to blow air across the coils to dry them off as well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lUtriaNt

Enginerd

Member
Jun 24, 2017
379
986
Savannah, GA
I had the filters replaced last year, and I have regularly observed the fans drying out the car several minutes after I've parked it. So it's maintained as intended and functioning as designed. But my smell is back too. I have to agree that this isn't normal. If the car wants $150 worth of air filters every year, that would be more than I invest in air filters for my house.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top