Where Does the Smell of Dampness in the Interior Come From

Humidity inside the car interior in rainy weather is not uncommon. But it can be worse, e.g. a frank smell of dampness. Where does it come from?

A damp, uncomfortable atmosphere in the interior can be experienced while the car is warmed up by the heating system. However, if there is always a strong smell of damp after a rain, then you have a reason to think the worst.

Where Does the Smell of Dampness in the Interior Come From photo 2

Humid air inside the car may be natural in cold, rainy weather, but persistent dampness and fogging of windows can be an evidence of constant water ingress from outside.

Certainly, the water itself does not smell like a swamp, but rather bacteria that are bred in the wet. So, the problem here is at least not half an hour old, but much longer. Well, where does the smell of dampness in the car come from? What could be the source of it?

Where Does the Smell of Dampness in the Interior Come From photo 3
  • Wet floor mats. Bad smell is most often spread not by beautiful removable floor mats but by a regular carpet that has water «at a depth». This may hide a serious problem – holes in the lower part of the body, through which water gets under the carpet. It may be necessary to repair the body or just it to restore the dry sealer and insert lost plugs. The second option is poor tightness of window seals, which is typical for old cars.
  • Wet sound-absorbing liner. Some types of soft sound-absorbing liner that lies under the native floor covering become a refuge for mold and fungus. The reason water gets there is the same as in the first case.
If you tap on the carpet and water appears, it means that there is a small ‘lake’ under it. This necessarily means corrosion of the body If you tap on the carpet and water appears, it means that there is a small ‘lake’ under it. This necessarily means corrosion of the body
  • Wet things. In addition to floor mats and sound-absorbing liner, wet things forgotten under the seats or in the far corner of the trunk can poison the air. Everything is simple here: the wet should be taken away and the interior should be ventilated.
  • Conditioner. The cooler of an air conditioner often becomes a hotbed of «odorous» bacteria. Most often, they become active when the cooler is turned on or during cold weather, when the climate system (or the driver personally) uses cold air to eliminate window fogging.
  • Products. Sometimes, various products that somehow got on the upholstery become a source of very unpleasant odors, including those similar to the swamp atmosphere. Most often these are liquids — milk, baby food, beer, wine. The main thing here is to find out the place where such a «diversion» occurred. Then you will have to get it dry cleaned or to clean it with household detergents yourself.

Where does the moisture inside the car come from

The simplest reason for ‘flooding’ is clogging up the drains in the under-hood space below the windshield. In this case, the rainwater finds other ‘channels’ — holes in the hood loops, places where wiring is located, etc. — and gets into the interior.

Body corrosion, especially in invisible places, is also a reason for extra moisture in the car. Holes and cracks in the floor, in the wings, and in the engine tunnel parts can be the source of it. Sometimes it may not be a hole from rust, but a gap due to the sealant that has dried up a long time ago.

Water can pass into «hardened» rubber seals of a windshield and other windows installed in completely old cars.

Mold on soft materials is either a consequence of the recent flood or evidence of systematic water ingress into the car Mold on soft materials is either a consequence of the recent flood or evidence of systematic water ingress into the car

Finally, moisture can not only get inside the car, but also condensate. Most often, these reservoirs are collected in places over which there is a large area of glass. Another uncommon reason is the ingress of water condensed in the air conditioner. In general, there is a special tube for directing it out the car, but sometimes this tube falls from its place and moisture flows under the feet of the driver or front passenger.

Recommendations

If the smell of mold has become persistent, do not ignore it, because it can be a sign of serious problems with a body of your car. During rainy weather, you should regularly check whether a floor carpet– the one below mats — has become wet or not. However, it may remain dry on top in some water leakage cases.

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