Browsing Tag

new car smell

Car Culture

What is "New Car Smell," Anyway?

April 12, 2015
I recently wrote a post about how to keep that new car smell to your car, whether it be old or new. But writing that post got me thinking – what exactly is new car smell anyway? Could you describe the smell if someone asked you to? I certainly have a hard time nailing down what the smell is. All I can say is that it’s just…new car smell! After doing some research on what new car smell is, I found out some really interesting things about what makes the smell and how car manufacturers feel about it. This Gizmodo article called “What Exactly Is That New Car Smell?” talked about how they had a hard time nailing down the smell, too. So they talked to someone at Toyota, who described the smell as vinyl or plastic lamination. He said the smell comes from organic compounds releasing gas into the air. Those gasses are called VOCs — volatile organic compounds. The gasses are released more quickly the warmer the temperature is, so even body heat can make the gasses and smell become more apparent, as they hit the warmer air. So the bottom line is that new car smell is actually a pollutant! The same pollutants can be found in cleaning supplies and paints. And while it’s not an incredibly harmful in small doses (otherwise you wouldn’t be allowed in the car!) those pollutants are certainly not good for your health if you have heavy exposure. Hence, the new car smell we all know and love is actually something car manufacturers are constantly trying to get rid of! Pretty crazy, right? Brands like Toyota and Ford are have switched their materials like glues, seats, foam, and more so that they give off less gasses. They’re even experimenting with natural materials made from vegetables. Though even the natural materials have some downsides, in the near future, that new car smell could be non-existent! I think it’s pretty ironic that the smell air fresheners and sprays try to recreate and car owners try to keep around for as long as possible is something that was never meant to be a selling point.
Behind the Wheel

How to Keep Your Car Smelling *Almost* as Good as New

March 10, 2015
First off, I’ll admit — nothing out there is quite as good as that real-deal new car smell the infuses a brand new vehicle. Even though air fresheners try to replicate it with “new car” scent, it just isn’t the same! Perhaps it’s because car manufacturers don’t actually spray a scent in the car. The scent usually comes from the materials used to make the car, and it can wear off once the materials have been exposed to the elements for a few months (and exposed to the fast food or spilled milk that show up in the back seat 🙂 ). Car and Driver even went so far as to write an entire article on the “secrets of that new-car smell”! And though the smell not be easy to re-create, there are a ton of things you can do to prolong the new car smell — or at least make it smell really, really good! Here are my ideas for freshening up anything from an old junker to a recently “worn-in” ride:
  • Keep it clean, from the very start! If you have the advantage of reading this while your car is still new, then you’ll have much less work to do. You just need to maintain that new car smell, instead of trying to bring it back! In order to prolong the scent as long as possible, be sure to remove trash from the car at the end of every day — never let it sit overnight!
  • Don’t eat in your car. Even if you think you can avoid getting crumbs or spills in your car while you eat on the run, the food smells will permeate the vehicle and overpower the original scent of your car. Just say no to eating on the go! (It’s safer not to, anyway!)
  • Vacuum frequently. Bits of dust and dirt are inevitably going to get tracked into your car, so make sure to keep up with regularly vacuuming of your ride. I recommend giving the car seats and floor mats a quick vacuuming once a week, so that the dirt doesn’t pile up and create a bad odor in the car.
  • Pick up a can of Ozium. Okay, so I just said that “new car” scent is nothing close to the real thing, but this is not a typical scented air freshener. This is an odor-killing spray that car dealers actually use in their vehicles, so it’ll get you pretty close to that original car scent! Read a couple reviews of this stuff on Amazon and you will be sold.
  • Replace or clean your air filter. The air filter does an important job of keeping dust particles out of your car when the air conditioner is running. Hence, the air filter will become very dirty after awhile and may start to smell. People usually need a new air filter if they notice an odor with the AC is on. Replace your air filter at least every three years or every 30,000 miles.
  • Give your car a good detailing. Even if you don’t want to spend the money to have it professionally done, be sure to clean your car in detail an average of once a month. Detailing your car includes vacuuming, shaking out floor mats, cleaning all windows with Windex, wiping down the dashboard and all interior and of course washing the outside of the car.
  • Use baking soda. It seems to be a universal odor killer, and baking soda gets the job done for your car too. Leave baking soda on really tough stains or spots producing odors for at least one hour, then lightly scrub the area and vacuum it up.
Under the Hood

How to get rid of a bad smell in your car?

June 1, 2010
When all else fails ...!

When all else fails ...!

Isn’t it the worse when you climb into someone’s car and you have to hold your breath because the smell is so potent? Well, imagine if it’s your own vehicle! Let’s talk about some ways to rid your car of that nasty smell, whatever it may be. First of all, get rid of any trash, stains and stick a vacuum on it. Then place a single dryer sheet underneath each seat. Start your car and let it run for about 10 minutes to get the scent flowing. This is one SIMPLE and CHEAP way to do things! Here’s a tip: Before you add any fragrance to your vehicle, make sure the carpets and upholstery are DRY. Nothing is worse than a moldy, steamy smell! After doing a little research, I found a few more inexpensive and easy solutions to get rid of a bad odor in your car.
  1. Charcoal – An open bag of charcoal is a natural product that will absorb and get rid of any odors.
  2. Coffee Grounds – The coffee grounds absorbs odors and leave a lovely “Starbucksess” smell behind!
  3. Vinegar – Vinegar is one more natural product that is used to absorb any and all smells. Just set a bowl of white vinegar in your car to do its job!
Alright, are there any other fabulous tips and suggestions for getting rid of that smell in your car?