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CT-200h Bad mold smell with A/C

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Old 07-19-13, 03:32 PM   #1
lattemocha
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Default CT-200h Bad mold smell with A/C

I started to notice really bad mold smell upon turning on A/C with my 2012 Lexus CT-200h. I started to notice the symptom around 7000 miles. I took to the dealership and they did power form clean and changed the cabin filter, but they were temporary fix and the smell returns within 48 hours of the service. The dealership will be changing the filter to the charcoal filter next time but I don't think it will go away. I contacted Lexus corp and dealership as well, and their conclusion is that the mold smell is "a normal characteristics of vehicle," and there is no warranty services can be done after this. So I spent approximately $40k to experience mold air on my face every time I use A/C? Anyone has experienced this problem or just me? I never had this problems with previous vehicles I owned and it is new to me. Lexus's story is that computer diagnostic say there is nothing wrong with the car, but it's kinda dumb because the computer cannot detect the mold growing inside the evaporator!
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Old 07-24-13, 11:43 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by lattemocha View Post
I started to notice really bad mold smell upon turning on A/C with my 2012 Lexus CT-200h. I started to notice the symptom around 7000 miles. I took to the dealership and they did power form clean and changed the cabin filter, but they were temporary fix and the smell returns within 48 hours of the service. The dealership will be changing the filter to the charcoal filter next time but I don't think it will go away. I contacted Lexus corp and dealership as well, and their conclusion is that the mold smell is "a normal characteristics of vehicle," and there is no warranty services can be done after this. So I spent approximately $40k to experience mold air on my face every time I use A/C? Anyone has experienced this problem or just me? I never had this problems with previous vehicles I owned and it is new to me. Lexus's story is that computer diagnostic say there is nothing wrong with the car, but it's kinda dumb because the computer cannot detect the mold growing inside the evaporator!
No mold smell in mine and that's after two+ years of ownership. I can't remember which forum or even which vehicle, but some guy had a tiny rodent (or something) make its way in the ventilation area and the decaying smell was coming from that. Crazy...

Yours sounds like mold in the evaporator. Check this vid, it may be worth the couple bucks to buy "Pure Air" and give it a try.
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Old 07-30-13, 05:42 PM   #3
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I have a debilitating mold smell coming from my vents too... The car is a year and a half old and it started with a rancid vinegar/urine smell and has morphed into an earthy mold smell. This is crazy on a mid/higher end hybrid. I set up an appointment for two weeks from now at my local dealer but may take it apart on my own to clean thoroughly. I don't know if I can take it much longer? Literally the first 5 minutes are rancid in the car.
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Old 07-31-13, 02:07 PM   #4
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What works for me is to turn off the AC about 5 minutes from your destination and keep the fan on med-high and set the air flow to outside and not recirc. It helps to dry out the moisture causing the mold growth. I live in a dry climate so not sure if it will work in a high humidity region.
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Old 08-05-13, 08:17 PM   #5
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Unfortunately, I read this method on the boards only after the smell started. By this time - it was too late. I agree that there is a flaw in the design, particularly since every time I turn the vehicle on it automatically resets back to internal circulation (even after I turn it to external air). I currently live between the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento Valley with absolute minimum humidity, I am about 30 miles inland from the Bay and get no fog, etc. I will baby the system - as I do not want to go through the smell again - but as a heads up to anyone interested, the Toyota A/C refresher kit was incredibly simple and did work fine thus far (2 days since I took care of it and it doesn't seem to smell anymore).

You just plug it in to the drain tube for the A/C, empty 1/3 of the can, and then let it drain out. Some say all the can, some say 1/2 the can... with the tiny system, 1/3 of the can was the max it would take. I put 1/3 of the can in twice (which may very well be unnecessary). Then you spray another product into the intake of the A/C system (under the passenger wiper) while blowing through the std vents, then the floor vents, then the windshield vents - again, supposed to use the whole can, but I only used about 1/2 as the system is so small and the smell seemed to be inside the A/C not inside the vents.

You can EASILY access the drain tube behind the front right tire by turning the steering wheel all the way to the left. No lift needed. Drive the car around the block (max A/C) and watch for the water drip from condensation - it's EASY to spot.

Here was the video I followed. $14 instead of $100+... yes please!


I still have one fill left out of the can if the smell even starts to rear it's ugly head back. Hope anyone with this issue is able to take care of it on their own! Don't let the dealer scam you as this is about as simple of a DIY project as they come.

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Old 08-05-13, 08:19 PM   #6
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BTW, those are exactly the two cans you'll get (in the video) with the Toyota A/C Refresher kit - it is just labeled as Toyota brand...
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Old 09-04-13, 04:38 PM   #7
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I have the same problem too with my CT. I'm currently at 7,600 miles and I started to notice the smell for the past two months. I've been using my A/C a lot since it's been warm here in the OC. The smell seems to go away after 5 minutes though. Doesn't really bother me too much but I should get it checked out :/
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Old 09-04-13, 04:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by KKM View Post
What works for me is to turn off the AC about 5 minutes from your destination and keep the fan on med-high and set the air flow to outside and not recirc. It helps to dry out the moisture causing the mold growth.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This

I never get the moldy ac issue.
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Old 09-14-13, 09:17 PM   #9
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Lexus is aware that it is a problem (as evidenced by the bulletin my dealer printed for me), but they don't have to cover it under warranty if you live basically anywhere that it rains (LOL). The tip up top about putting the AC on recirculate before reaching your destination is on that bulletin as the only recourse. If you already have the mold smell and you are very nice to your local dealer service reps they will install a charcoal filter and do their "flush" service on the house.

I had this done today during my oil change and it smells a million times better. I've started the car after parking it for a bit and the smell seems to be gone. We'll see tomorrow.
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Old 07-07-14, 05:43 AM   #10
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Default Mold Smell in A/C

I live in Florida, I have a new ES350 and I have this same mold issue. They did the Charcoal Filter and I have since brought the car back again. I now have an open ticket with Lexus. My last Lexus went 200,000 miles with no issues. This one is different, I also have a loaner right now, It's an RX model and it has the same vile smell. Clearly, there is an issue here. My wife and my son both drive Lexus models. This is an issue I can't deal with and I'm not going to be a pioneer in this fight. I'm waiting to hear back from my case manager but if they don't do something significant I'm going to pick up the car and trade it in for another brand. The reason this isn't a national recall item is because in certain parts of the country the conditions are not right for mold growth. In Florida they are perfect. There has been a change in the A/C unit and they are stuck with a flawed design. It will be interesting to see how this plays out but all these solutions are just a burden on the owner to fix an issue caused by the manufacturer.
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Old 07-07-14, 09:51 AM   #11
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my ct also has this nasty smell on start up. i see there is a TSIB for it but i do not have access to read the TSIB
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Old 07-07-14, 11:37 PM   #12
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Just switch it to "Fresh Air" mode a few minutes before turning the car off and you'll be fine. It will allow the moisture to dry and help minimize odors. Also, keeping food and other things with scent in the car can cause odors to accumulate in the A/C system.
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Old 07-08-14, 04:32 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by OakTwnPnoy View Post
Just switch it to "Fresh Air" mode a few minutes before turning the car off and you'll be fine. It will allow the moisture to dry and help minimize odors. Also, keeping food and other things with scent in the car can cause odors to accumulate in the A/C system.
someone above posted to put it on recirc before stopping, which is correct?
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Old 07-09-14, 04:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BuddhaMonk View Post
Unfortunately, I read this method on the boards only after the smell started. By this time - it was too late. I agree that there is a flaw in the design, particularly since every time I turn the vehicle on it automatically resets back to internal circulation (even after I turn it to external air). I currently live between the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento Valley with absolute minimum humidity, I am about 30 miles inland from the Bay and get no fog, etc. I will baby the system - as I do not want to go through the smell again - but as a heads up to anyone interested, the Toyota A/C refresher kit was incredibly simple and did work fine thus far (2 days since I took care of it and it doesn't seem to smell anymore).

You just plug it in to the drain tube for the A/C, empty 1/3 of the can, and then let it drain out. Some say all the can, some say 1/2 the can... with the tiny system, 1/3 of the can was the max it would take. I put 1/3 of the can in twice (which may very well be unnecessary). Then you spray another product into the intake of the A/C system (under the passenger wiper) while blowing through the std vents, then the floor vents, then the windshield vents - again, supposed to use the whole can, but I only used about 1/2 as the system is so small and the smell seemed to be inside the A/C not inside the vents.

You can EASILY access the drain tube behind the front right tire by turning the steering wheel all the way to the left. No lift needed. Drive the car around the block (max A/C) and watch for the water drip from condensation - it's EASY to spot.

Here was the video I followed. $14 instead of $100+... yes please!

AC Refresher Kit - YouTube

I still have one fill left out of the can if the smell even starts to rear it's ugly head back. Hope anyone with this issue is able to take care of it on their own! Don't let the dealer scam you as this is about as simple of a DIY project as they come.
Are you sure thats the right tube?
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Old 07-10-14, 10:06 AM   #15
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someone above posted to put it on recirc before stopping, which is correct?
They would both work but if outside air is low in humidity, folks out in the West, fresh air would be better than recirc. The purpose is too remove any moisture in the vents with airflow as quickly as possible.
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Old 07-10-14, 10:06 AM
 
 
 
 
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2008, 200h, 350, ac, air conditioner, ct, ct200h, evaporator, lexus, mold, rid, sc, smell, smells, vents

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