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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, you've all seen me here before with http://www.kiasoulforums.com/10-soul-problems/13154-8-months-old-mildew-smell.html and http://www.kiasoulforums.com/10-soul-problems/13460-they-have-had-my-car-9-days.html. I'll give you the Readers Digest version. Bad smell in AC of '12 Soul Exclaim, several different attempts to remove odor upon startup, with no results. Car wound up at dealer for 10 days and got a new evaporator (and a new cabin air filter). Smell is gone.

Fast forward 2 months. Smell is back. Called the dealer and after my 3rd message/call to the service manager they said "bring it back in, but we've already gone over and above what Kia wanted us to do". What would you do at this point? Car is just over a year old and has 6600 miles on it. I'm so frustrated with this. I love my car, but I don't think I can deal with the smell for the life of the vehicle.
 

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used to own a 2016 Soul SX 2.0L - Caribbean Blue
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what is the new cabin filter like now? Anything like wet carpets - have you checked under the carpets at the front? Where is the smell the strongest? Has the dealer acknowledged the smell? I would suggest they contact the regional service rep and get him/her to look at your vehicle and make an assessment.

As we can't smell what you are smelling, its hard for us to comprehend what it is. I've not come across anything similar in other forums, so I've no idea what to suggest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What it smells like and has smelled like since May when this started, is a moldy mildew smell. Not foul but not pleasant either. It dissipates almost immediately as soon as the cooing kicks in, but it's definitely there. I notice it and other family members notice it when they get in the car. I've also been fighting a respiratory condition on and off since this started. Not sure if it's related or not. The damn car has been into them 4 times now for this since May. This issue and the crappy gas mileage really puts a damper on the fun of having a new car.

I've tried all their suggestions as far as running with the recirc off, it's been "cleaned out" by them several times too. There is no moisture that husband or I can see/feel. I'll have him check the filter tomorrow.
 

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I know its a long shot, but you haven't had a mouse get into your duct work and die, I've heard that happening on vehicles, but then again that might not be a mould type smell - just throwing thoughts out there ;) Build up of leaves in duct work or something similar? Does the air blow out of every duct with no problem and don't forget the ones under the front seats too?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks...but no I don't think anything got in there and died. I'll also double check all the vents (under the front seats?) tomorrow. We're in South Fla so leaf droppage isn't usually an issue for us. This is a re-occur of the same smell as it had prior to the evaporator replacement in August.
 

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2015 Kia Soul + / Bright Silver / 2.0L (GDI) 4-Cyl Engine 6-Speed Automatic Trans
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There is a TSB on having a mildew smell coming from the A/C system.

 

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You may want to use something baking soda based as it absorbs & neutralizes odors.
Commonly used in your fridge it should work just as well in your car.
I think arm & hammer makes some kind of soda based air freshener/deodorizer for cars but you'll have to do the research on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You may want to use something baking soda based as it absorbs & neutralizes odors.
Commonly used in your fridge it should work just as well in your car.
I think arm & hammer makes some kind of soda based air freshener/deodorizer for cars but you'll have to do the research on that.
This is coming from the a/c system, it's not an odor in the car. It only presents itself in the first 30 (or so) seconds of turning on the a/c. Then it's gone. But it does hit you right in the face. Bleah.
 

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I've had a similar smell with A/C in my 2010 but they replaced the in-cabin and under hood air filters and it fixed the issue for about the same amount of time. I have the same where it occurs for about 30-60 seconds when first turning on the A/C.

It doesn't seem to occur with the heat (you probably don't use this in FL). They haven't done much else with mine though.
 

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This is coming from the a/c system, it's not an odor in the car. It only presents itself in the first 30 (or so) seconds of turning on the a/c. Then it's gone. But it does hit you right in the face. Bleah.
Have you considered that you may have an overly sensitive sniffer? Especially with this particular smell?

Often in life, people get that one thing that sets them off... for me, it's the taste of cheesecake... turns my stomach.
 

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This is coming from the a/c system, it's not an odor in the car. It only presents itself in the first 30 (or so) seconds of turning on the a/c. Then it's gone. But it does hit you right in the face. Bleah.
If its only this long then its from some condensation build up and then its gone, I thought the way you were talking you get the smell constantly. You must be very sensitive to mould smell, my wife is the same but I hardly notice it, but I notice other smells she doesn't get bothered by. If its so brief, just wonder why it would bother you this much.

Have you tried running the car on max heat with the fan full on a few times and going through all the selection modes on your dial (floor, face, windshield), if its too hot to do it while driving, when you get back from a drive and park in the driveway just leave it running in this setting for 20-30 minutes. See if that helps, maybe repeat it a few times.

I've come across this in the past on forums but generally it always appears to be problem with most people in the southern states that use a/c so much.
TIPS which may have been covered that helps to repeat (for anyone else reading this thread) that uses a/c a lot
- don't turn on the a/c till the engine temperature has reached normal (much easier on the engine that way)
- limit your use of the re-circulation button (this can cause fogging and musty air)
- shut the a/c off shortly before you get to your destination (gives a better chance to dry out)
- check your cabin air filter more frequently (as per the severe service chart)
- make sure there is no blockage on the a/c drain (located on the right side behind the wheel and behind the engine)
- try to use just outside air with the fan periodically instead of the a/c (like in the evenings for example if you in a hot area, as its sometimes more cooler)
 

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I would say that if they changed the cabin filter an it went away for a few months, then try changing it again and see if it goes away again. It could just be that you will ha e to change the cabin air filter on a more frequent basis then some. It really doesn't take too much to change.


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I would say that if they changed the cabin filter an it went away for a few months, then try changing it again and see if it goes away again. It could just be that you will ha e to change the cabin air filter on a more frequent basis then some. It really doesn't take too much to change.


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..and don't buy them from the dealer, they are expensive.

Here's a listing for "KIA Soul Cabin Filter" on Amazon

Amazon.com: kia soul cabin air filter

I went with the WIX one, but if you are going to be stuck changing them short intervals, perhaps a cheapo one will be a better choice.
 

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wish they offered this kind of stuff on the Canadian Amazon site ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Have you considered that you may have an overly sensitive sniffer? Especially with this particular smell?

Often in life, people get that one thing that sets them off... for me, it's the taste of cheesecake... turns my stomach.
Yes I have considered this but I'm not the only one that smells it. Husband, daughter and my sister (who rarely rides in my car) have all remarked about the odor.

I would say that if they changed the cabin filter an it went away for a few months, then try changing it again and see if it goes away again. It could just be that you will ha e to change the cabin air filter on a more frequent basis then some. It really doesn't take too much to change.


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What made the smell go away for more than a day or so was changing out the EVAPORATOR. They had my car for 10 days while they did this.

If its only this long then its from some condensation build up and then its gone, I thought the way you were talking you get the smell constantly. You must be very sensitive to mould smell, my wife is the same but I hardly notice it, but I notice other smells she doesn't get bothered by. If its so brief, just wonder why it would bother you this much.

Have you tried running the car on max heat with the fan full on a few times and going through all the selection modes on your dial (floor, face, windshield), if its too hot to do it while driving, when you get back from a drive and park in the driveway just leave it running in this setting for 20-30 minutes. See if that helps, maybe repeat it a few times.

I've come across this in the past on forums but generally it always appears to be problem with most people in the southern states that use a/c so much.
TIPS which may have been covered that helps to repeat (for anyone else reading this thread) that uses a/c a lot
- don't turn on the a/c till the engine temperature has reached normal (much easier on the engine that way)
- limit your use of the re-circulation button (this can cause fogging and musty air)
- shut the a/c off shortly before you get to your destination (gives a better chance to dry out)
- check your cabin air filter more frequently (as per the severe service chart)
- make sure there is no blockage on the a/c drain (located on the right side behind the wheel and behind the engine)
- try to use just outside air with the fan periodically instead of the a/c (like in the evenings for example if you in a hot area, as its sometimes more cooler)

At this point I've opened a case with KIA customer care. I'm also taking it to another dealer next week to have it checked out. It's more than a bothersome smell. I've been having coughing and wheezing issues since this started and it may be partially attributed to the mold (or not). But I need to get it fixed. This car started having these issues within 6 mo of purchase. This car should not smell. Period.
 

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Total bummer on your problem. Good luck on your case. I had a used 1984 Subaru 15 years ago with a similar moldy smelly problem all over the car. I couldn't stand it, and sold it after a year.
 

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Have you considered that you may have an overly sensitive sniffer? Especially with this particular smell?

Often in life, people get that one thing that sets them off... for me, it's the taste of cheesecake... turns my stomach.
What is it with you and cheese?
 

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After reading the tread about the moldy smell when it was first posted, I have been following the advise of being sure to shut off the A/C shortly before arriving at my destination. Seems to be working so far, but out West we don't have the same humidity in warm weather that others have. I did notice the foggy window problems on cold wet mornings so I usually switch it to the button with both the defroster & incoming air & foggy windows clear right up.


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