Author Topic: Damp smell in my car still hasn't gone away!  (Read 182 times)

Offline MGTI94

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Damp smell in my car still hasn't gone away!
« on: February 23, 2020, 03:16:28 PM »
Hi all,

I bought a Mk5 a little over a year ago now (November 2018) and the one thing we noticed was a strong damp smell on the drive home. The trader told us it had just been valeted and we assumed the seats would still be damp - no problem.

Fast forward a few, cold months and we noticed that there was around 3-4 inches of water in the spare wheel well. We eventually traced this to the rubber umbilicals not being seated properly and we sealed these up effectively. The boot was dried and the leak seemed fixed. The smell persisted.

I have just got round to asking a professional valet to give my car a deep clean, summarising that the water may have got into the carpets and the smell could be emanating from there. After 2 weeks of smell-free driving, it returned. Now that I know the car's carpets, seats and boot have been steam cleaned, I'm scratching my head at what else it could be:

  • The spare wheel well - the space saver is rusted through and probably needs to be scrapped as I doubt it would even go on. The felt covering the boot floor also has mould on the overside (though there was no smell on the felt)
  • The air con module. We've used air con bombs in the past and it's temporarily smelt better. I've tried to test whether the smell is directly attributable to when the heater comes on, and as far as I can tell, it isn't. If the air is musty, though, surely it would just smell. If I get the air con module regassed, does the unit get removed? Is there a possibility of the air being musty? I should point out that the car was stood in a barn for a few years prior to me picking her up so the air is potentially mouldy. There is no water in the passenger mat, so it's not leaking.
  • Something else - maybe the underlay of the carpets are rotted through.

I'm really just after some help addressing the problem. It's embarrassing saying 'I'll give you a lift, but mind the smell' and after a year of ownership, I really should be tackling it so I can enjoy driving her!

Any help would really be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
-Matt

Offline momo.mk5GTI

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Re: Damp smell in my car still hasn't gone away!
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2020, 02:25:03 PM »
Try to replace cabin filter, sometimes when cabin filter is not change a very long time just smels. And look every where that you dant have a something who died under the wipers plastic. A years ago i was find a mouse who died there he was exploded there its just blqh... :sick:

Offline terrier

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Re: Damp smell in my car still hasn't gone away!
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2020, 10:51:04 PM »
Possibly a flood damaged car. Perhaps find out where its previous owners lived
brakes, rims, hatch, handle, head unit, rust rust and more rust needing attention

Offline TheBALDpuma

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Re: Damp smell in my car still hasn't gone away!
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2020, 09:04:28 AM »
IMO it's all down to the leak in the spare tyre well.  It's probably got into the carpets/upholstrey somewhere and in my experience once you get certain smells intothe fabric of a car, they are there for good.  A valet will seem to fix it in the short term, but given time the smell always seems to creep back in.

My wife's last car was a mazda 2.  She owned that thing around 7 years.  When we test drove it we notice it smelled faintly of smoke.  They gave it a full valet and voila, it smelled fine when we drove it home a weeks or so later.   A month or so into ownership the smell was back, so we took it back to them -they cleaned it again and the same thing happened.  So I had a go myself, full clean out and deoderise.  Same thing happened. 

It still smelt of smoke when we sold it 7 years later.

I know what's not what you want to hear, and damp smell I reckon may be easier to get rid of than smoke, but lingering smells can really linger!

Offline titchy

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Re: Damp smell in my car still hasn't gone away!
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2020, 09:17:00 AM »
Try Fabreze its not a cure but it lasts a while

Offline Mekaniko

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Re: Damp smell in my car still hasn't gone away!
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2020, 01:39:30 PM »
Same problem with my GTI V, once I repairded the water leak issue on the boot  the bad smels continues so finally I go to a detailer for a Ozone treatment and now it smells like a normal car.

Hope it helps.