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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So basically when I originally bought the car, the heat would not work at all so I took it in to get serviced and it turns out there was basically no coolant in it. They checked for leaks and everything and ended up repairing or installing a new water pump, one of the two.

Anyways, since that repair the heat has worked just fine, but I notice an odor MOSTLY when the car sits idle for awhile (overnight, during work before or after lunch, etc.).

I originally thought it smelled a lot like fuel and thought there was a huge issue, then I kind of thought it smells like an exhaust leak, but now I don't know if it's just a coolant odor leak or something (read a few posts regarding Cruze coolant odor leaking into the cabin).

The smell is usually confined to the cabin and not outside of the vehicle but once I turn the car on, drive a bit, have the A/C and **** on, the odor disappears until the next long-idle period of time.

Does anyone have any ideas or quick/easy ways to check/verify what could be wrong?

Thank you!
 

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Does it smell like dirty socks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well.. never really actively tried to smell smelly socks and the last time I smelled them was in high school during football LOL but I guess the smell could be conceived as that.

I'm assuming if that is the case, would I need a new cabin air filter? Wouldn't the smell continue even if the vehicle was moving and blowing air through the system if the air filter were the cause?
 

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Could be that coolant was splashed up in service and contaminated something like the HVAC filter.

Try taking your car through an underbody wash at a high-end drive-through tunnel car wash.
 

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Per your post, it sounds like it only happens when the engine isn't on, with heat on after sitting for awhile.

Not 100% on this, as Iv'e never had heat on for a longish time without the engine on, but I would assume it would start to smell because no air is really being conditioned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I work at a dealership and get free car washes and it's the whole 9 yards car wash not just a small simple one, includes underbody washing and everything so I've had my car washed there ~4 times in the past 2 weeks. The issue is kind of a minor inconvenience but for the 5 minutes until my car heats up, the smell is annoying as **** lol. Not sure if there is a way for the coolant odor to leak into the cabin or if coolant is LITERALLY leaking all over the HVAC system ..
 

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You do need a new cabin air filter, but you may also have mold and/or mildew growing in the HVAC system. A lot of smaller cars get this. To solve this you have two choices - one, have your dealership use the GM kit to clean the system and verify the drain isn't clogged, or two, using lots of Lysol spray to kill this stuff, turn on the HVAC blower in fresh air mode and spray into the main air intake just in front of the windshield on the driver's side. In either case, you may want to take your car into a Chevy dealership and pay them to turn on the afterblow feature in the HVAC system. Afterblow runs whenever you've used the A/C and it works by running the blower three or four times every 10 minutes or so after turning the car off. It change the air intake from cabin to external and fires up the blower on high sucking in fresh air to help dry out the system. My dealership warned me that afterblow could cause a bad battery to drain sufficiently that the car won't start, but seeing that I'm at 80K miles and 4 years on my battery and this has been turned on for nearly three years now I don't think that's as big an issue as my dealership made it out to be.

The cabin air filter is behind the glovebox. The hardest part of changing it is getting all the junk back in the glovebox. I'd recommend you vacuum out the opening before putting a new one in. Also, you can spray the Lysol in there while running the blower to provide a second entry point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How much would it be for the whole GM kit thing, or do you think spraying Lysol into the intake while cranking the fresh air setting would work just as well? Also, how much generally would I be looking at for a new cabin air filter to be installed or is it relatively easy to do myself and I'd just buy the ~$20 part?
 

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I did the Lysol thing once with my Tahoe. Never had a problem again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Alright sweet, any kind of Lysol will work? And I just crank the fresh air setting and spray it into the vent at the bottom of the windshield on the driver side?

Thanks for the help everyone. Glad to know this can be fixed for the cost of an air filter and a can of Lysol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Went and sprayed some Glade (all I had at the moment) into the driver-side air intake while fresh air was cranked full blast. Can't tell as of now but it did seem to help initially so hopefully that will help.

My dad has an industrial air compressor or something in our garage he said I may not need to replace the cabin air filter immediatley, I could just take it out and blow the piss out of it with that air compressor so maybe I'll wait on the air filter replacement.
 

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I had the afterblow turned on on my old eco, its doesn't work at all...Just makes the car more hot and smelly
Did you have the HVAC system cleaned as well? Your situation sounds like the HVAC drain is clogged.
 

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How much would it be for the whole GM kit thing, or do you think spraying Lysol into the intake while cranking the fresh air setting would work just as well? Also, how much generally would I be looking at for a new cabin air filter to be installed or is it relatively easy to do myself and I'd just buy the ~$20 part?
I have no idea on the cost for the GM kit - my car was done under the B2B warranty.
 

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Went and sprayed some Glade (all I had at the moment) into the driver-side air intake while fresh air was cranked full blast. Can't tell as of now but it did seem to help initially so hopefully that will help.

My dad has an industrial air compressor or something in our garage he said I may not need to replace the cabin air filter immediatley, I could just take it out and blow the piss out of it with that air compressor so maybe I'll wait on the air filter replacement.
You might as well change the cabin air filter and put an activated charcoal filter in there. It should be done annually anyway - mine's coming up this spring after road salt season.
 
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