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Slight burning smell when heater is on sometimes?

hanl1

Member
Sep 2, 2015
101
10
Stamford, CT
I have noticed for quite a while that when the heater starts blowing, sometimes there is a light smell of something burning. It doesn't last long and only seems to happen in the first couple of minutes when the heater turns on. Besides the smell I can't feel anything different as the heater still works fine (although there is no way for me to tell if it would have worked better otherwise).

It hasn't really bothered me that much but recently it's become more noticeable with more heater use as the weather here in the northeast finally decided to get colder. Any of you guys experienced the same thing? Could this be normal by any chance?
 

dirkhh

Middle-aged Member
Jul 7, 2013
3,638
126
Portland, OR, USA
I have noticed for quite a while that when the heater starts blowing, sometimes there is a light smell of something burning. It doesn't last long and only seems to happen in the first couple of minutes when the heater turns on. Besides the smell I can't feel anything different as the heater still works fine (although there is no way for me to tell if it would have worked better otherwise).

It hasn't really bothered me that much but recently it's become more noticeable with more heater use as the weather here in the northeast finally decided to get colder. Any of you guys experienced the same thing? Could this be normal by any chance?
An EV has an electric heater (an ICE just heats your cabin with the wasted heat from the combustion engine). And electric heaters sometimes smell at first. It's basically the dust on the heating coils burning off :)
 

EarlyAdopter

Active Member
Jun 24, 2012
2,821
2,048
Redmond, WA
Yes, I've had this issue with my P85D since I got it a year ago. Really bad at first. It's gotten better over time, but still sometimes there. Interestingly enough, my old P85 never had this issue at all.

I also find that turning off the ionizer helps reduce the smell. Perhaps it's originating from there. Also might explain why my old P85 never had this smell - it predated the ionizer option. I just leave it off during heating season.
 

hanl1

Member
Sep 2, 2015
101
10
Stamford, CT
Ahh I see. Dust .. no wonder the smell doesn't don't go away :)

An EV has an electric heater (an ICE just heats your cabin with the wasted heat from the combustion engine). And electric heaters sometimes smell at first. It's basically the dust on the heating coils burning off :)

- - - Updated - - -

Interesting I will play with the ionizer option to see if that makes a difference.

Yes, I've had this issue with my P85D since I got it a year ago. Really bad at first. It's gotten better over time, but still sometimes there. Interestingly enough, my old P85 never had this issue at all.

I also find that turning off the ionizer helps reduce the smell. Perhaps it's originating from there. Also might explain why my old P85 never had this smell - it predated the ionizer option. I just leave it off during heating season.

- - - Updated - - -

Glad to know this is normal. Thanks for the info guys.
 

cwave1

Member
Oct 26, 2013
317
130
Mississauga, ON, CANADA
What version of firmware are you running. As of 7.0 the heating logic changed and there is not as much fan driven air flow so the burning smell is caused by not enough air flowing over the heating elements. I have .77 and still have this problem but understand from other threads on this topic that it is fixed as of 2.9.40.
 

dirkhh

Middle-aged Member
Jul 7, 2013
3,638
126
Portland, OR, USA
Is an SC visit this only way to upgrade to 2.9.40 as of now?
The Firmware Upgrade tracker has a handful of 2.9.40 that don't state SC or Ranger: 3 WiFi, 2 3G
The SC loaded 2.9.40 on mine today, but I of course continue to decline the update. I actually gave them written instructions not to upgrade :)
 

CHG-ON

Still in love after all these miles
Jun 24, 2014
3,079
636
Santa Cruz Mountains, USA
I have never had the burning smell and until it started to rain here, it was incredibly dusty. I did get a small amount of "new heater smell" when I first bought the car. But none since. Nothing like when I break out my space heaters for the winter. I use the ionizer all the time. I wonder if you have something in your environment (maybe garage) that it getting sucked in when the HVAC comes on. Cat or dog hair? Or filthy garage, um, like mine? Which I just cleaned. Yay!
 

hanl1

Member
Sep 2, 2015
101
10
Stamford, CT
Nothing in particular I can think of that makes dust, but the air around the Manhattan area is simply more dusty than elsewhere :)
It has been better this week so far, though.
 

David100

Member
Mar 12, 2015
56
0
Wavre, Belgium
Hanl1,
You'll never walk alone.
Yes I also experience the burning smell (~first minute heater is on then fades away).
I also guess this comes from dust, or paint, or whatever.
I am also 'glad' to hear I am not the only one.
If it is not something bad for the car, it doesn't bother me too much.
My car is a 85D built in april 2015.
 

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