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Replacing cabin air filters without using Evaporator coil cleaner spray

alexgr

Member
Aug 13, 2019
835
765
42
2019 Model 3 LR AWD with about 16k miles, received in May 2019.

I'm getting the A/C stink. I looked on Tesla's website and the OEM filters are sold out. I go on Amazon and buy the EP Auto CP681 filters. It seems like the Evaporator coil spray that some Youtube videos are recommending is sold out on Amazon and I can't find anything at local auto parts stores. I'm going on a long road trip next week and can't wait.

If I just change my filters do you think the smell will go away? Maybe wipe down the inside of the filter housing with some paper towels?
I used this from AutoZone.
 

TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,014
1,998
Houston
again, it's not just humid climates. i live in the IE in so cal (very, very little humidity here ever) and the smell always comes back within 6-12 months of me cleaning it and changing the filters.

Again?? Did I ever say this wasn't a problem in lower humidity climates??
 

Rothgarr

Member
Apr 15, 2019
858
699
United States
That is by far the cheapest I've seen. Thanks for the link on the filters. BTW, the nextzett link shows not available.
Ah, that's a bummer that it's out of stock. When I ordered it I think it said something like "Only a few left, order now". I'm sure there are other sellers or places that sell it.
 

driver7

Member
Aug 13, 2020
11
8
Falls Church, VA
I changed the filters on my AC this week. It's ultra humid in Houston, so the amount of condensation that comes out of the air is incredible here. It's so bad that if the AC in your house has its condensation drain clog, it could literally flood your house and do a lot of damage.

Anyway, I think I know why our cars are so susceptible to the odor in the AC. I noticed the filters are sitting right on the surface of the evaporator coil, so my lower filter was damp when I removed it. I don't think every car has the filter right on the coils like that to get wet every time the AC is on, so that may be why other cars don't have the issue in the same conditions.

Not much we can do but change the filters more frequently. I don't think Tesla''s software update to run the fan to dry the coils is enough to dry out a soaked paper filter. So the mold will win in humid climates.

I think this is spot on. I had the same experience when changing my OEM filters last week. Came back home from a short trip, decided to change the filters and found them to be soaking wet.

Given it was my second time changing the filters in 2 years, I opted to try one of the ones from Amazon that has PVC frame instead of paper. Fingers crossed that they work better.
 

Rottenapplr

Active Member
Apr 6, 2019
1,013
483
LOS ANGELES
2019 Model 3 LR AWD with about 16k miles, received in May 2019.

I'm getting the A/C stink. I looked on Tesla's website and the OEM filters are sold out. I go on Amazon and buy the EP Auto CP681 filters. It seems like the Evaporator coil spray that some Youtube videos are recommending is sold out on Amazon and I can't find anything at local auto parts stores. I'm going on a long road trip next week and can't wait.

If I just change my filters do you think the smell will go away? Maybe wipe down the inside of the filter housing with some paper towels?
I has the smell before at 22k. I didn’t do a cleanind and the smell didn’t return. I’m 53k now. I do need to replace the filter again.
 

TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,014
1,998
Houston
I think this is spot on. I had the same experience when changing my OEM filters last week. Came back home from a short trip, decided to change the filters and found them to be soaking wet.

Given it was my second time changing the filters in 2 years, I opted to try one of the ones from Amazon that has PVC frame instead of paper. Fingers crossed that they work better.

I bought the same kind from Abstract Ocean. It seems like it will do better than the paper for not absorbing as much of the condensation.

What I think would be a good product idea is to make a filter that has a frame as thick as OEM, make the frame out of non-absorbing plastic like the current aftermarket filters, but make the filter material thinner so it is offset away from being able to the touching coils. Also, would need to test if the water is pooling at the bottom of the filter box in the current design. If it does, it would mean not designing the new filer not to have filter material all the way down to the bottom on the lower filter. Once water is getting into the filter, it will wick up through the material, so it would have to keep the filter material 100% dry.

All this would reduce the surface area for the filter, so you would have to make the material less restrictive to get the same flow, which would mean slightly less filtering, but as I said before, growing odor causing bacteria/fungus on your filter can't be better than a little less filtration.
 
Last edited:

Candleflame

Active Member
Mar 9, 2015
3,170
1,475
QLD, Australia
2019 Model 3 LR AWD with about 16k miles, received in May 2019.

I'm getting the A/C stink. I looked on Tesla's website and the OEM filters are sold out. I go on Amazon and buy the EP Auto CP681 filters. It seems like the Evaporator coil spray that some Youtube videos are recommending is sold out on Amazon and I can't find anything at local auto parts stores. I'm going on a long road trip next week and can't wait.

If I just change my filters do you think the smell will go away? Maybe wipe down the inside of the filter housing with some paper towels?

if you just get a slight building stink which isnt too bad and your filter is old its probably the filter itself and it just has to be changed.

True stinky A/C syndrome is when the filters should be ok but when they smell all the time - in that case the filters arent the problem but the rest of the AC vents which are contaminated.

After 1.5 years in tropical humid climate I got a bit of unpleasant smell from the AC for the first few seconds after turning it on - went away after a filter change. the filters definetely looked like they needed changing.
 

Young_0z

Member
May 9, 2019
26
12
New York
2019 Model 3 LR AWD with about 16k miles, received in May 2019.

I'm getting the A/C stink. I looked on Tesla's website and the OEM filters are sold out. I go on Amazon and buy the EP Auto CP681 filters. It seems like the Evaporator coil spray that some Youtube videos are recommending is sold out on Amazon and I can't find anything at local auto parts stores. I'm going on a long road trip next week and can't wait.

If I just change my filters do you think the smell will go away? Maybe wipe down the inside of the filter housing with some paper towels?
My service center warrantied my issue. There was a moldy smell coming from the vents when the ac is first turned on… it took them a couple of tries but they got it right. Cost me $0
 

des16

Member
Dec 10, 2017
110
325
USA
That's not too bad for a true Hepa filter. Who knows if it's really a true Hepa though. I some of these companies throw that term around without their products really qualifying.
I have changed my filters but occasionally still have a bad smell. Tesla said they want $105 to sanitize the system, which does not include changing the filters. Are others having the sanitizing done under warranty? The filters are of course a wear item, but it seems that if these cars routinely need sanitizing at 24 months, that this is a problem in the design of the HVAC system.
 

TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,014
1,998
Houston
I have changed my filters but occasionally still have a bad smell. Tesla said they want $105 to sanitize the system, which does not include changing the filters. Are others having the sanitizing done under warranty? The filters are of course a wear item, but it seems that if these cars routinely need sanitizing at 24 months, that this is a problem in the design of the HVAC system.

I posted before that I believe it is a design flaw. The paper filters are sitting right on the evaporator coil that gets soaking wet as part of its normal operation. That means the paper filters get soaking wet. Since the filters have a wonderfully large and textured surface, the mold and fungus love it for growing stinky stuff. That stinky stuff then gets into the coils of evaporator.

We need a new filter design that keeps the filter material away from the coils so it doesn't get wet. In lieu of that, we have to change the filters more frequently, use aftermarket filters that have plastic frame so it doesn't soak up so much water, and it's better to take the filters out, put the cover back on, put fan on low with recirc off, and spray disinfectant into the intake in the fronk to coat the coils.

All cars have their quirks, and this is an annoying one.
 
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JPP

Active Member
Feb 4, 2013
3,070
1,296
SF Bay Area, CA
FWIW it seems like Kool-it is out of stock nationwide. I contacted the manufacturer and got this reply:

Thank you for contacting us!
The Kool-It Evaporator Foam Cleaner should be available at the end of July or early August.
Please let me know if I can do anything else.
Best regards,

Elise Haviland x 14
Stellar Automotive Group | International Lubricants Inc.
Seattle, WA
Office: (206) 762-5343 x 14
Toll Free: (800) 333-5823
 

TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,014
1,998
Houston
What happens if you just go filter-less?

Don't go completely filterless. Just remove the ones at the coils and put one over the intake. Then you don't have the outside debris getting into the coils, which would not be easy to clean off. But you would not have filtering when the recirc is on for any of the cabin air, which can get dust.

 

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