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Just come across this potential fix for strange smell when I start the car (2003 LS 430). Occassionally I would get a damp/sweaty smell from the AC which would go away after a minute or so.

Lexus replaced filters but to no avail. However it seems it may be caused by Mildew in the A/C Evaporator (I'd be interested to find out how it forms!!??).

The US forums have suggested opening the bonnet, switch AC onto full and spray something like Febreze Anti bacterial spray or similar into the air intakes under the windscreen wipers. In theory this should kill the mildew.

In the short term it seems to have cured my problem but I'll keep the forum updated as to longevity of the fix.

Rillo :D

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the bacteria forms because it is a damp environment, it will happen in any vehicle that has an AC system - there is no point in using "Febreze Anti bacterial spray" as this will not cure the problem.

you have to get a proper vehicle airconditioning spray.

if u use the search function , you will find the info about the air con spray

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Thanks for the update. The spray I used was specifically designed to tackle Mildew but thanks for letting me know there is a dedicated product - I'll search this out.

Out of interest, I switched air con onto max and sprayed into the external vents under the wipers. Is this the best way or is there a more efficient way by switching the aircon to recirculate and spraying internally perhaps??? - if so where should I spray??


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the one on eBay is the best type to use as u then dont have to try and ***** about getting a long tube up the drain mast into the unit.

just put the can on the floor ( on a bit of news paper is best) aircon on full recirc, click it down and then close the door.


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