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Speakers Corner


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Smell in car when you start up


Jock1e
Resolved

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I use the Brother in laws car while he is away and noticed a smell of rotten eggs as you start up.

It is a Zafira 2 litre DTI.

Not sure what the problem is I had a new oil pump put in about 6 weeks ago just about the same time as the smell started.Also changed the oil and filter. Battery terminal was a bit furred up so gave that a clean and put some grease on it.No water terminals on it that I could see.

I don't think the smell is as bad now but it is still there.

As soon as you start the engine you can smell it inside the car even if the fan is switched off.

Any ideas as to what I should be looking for.Apart from a new car.

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Quickbeam

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...unless there's a fault on the charging system. Boiling batteries make the rotten eggs smell.

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Forum Editor

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You could rapidly and inexpensively find out if the aircon was the culprit. Car accessories and parts shops like Halfords sell an aerosol can which you put on the floor of the car whilst the engine is running with the aircon full on. Press a button on the top of the can, get out of the car and shut the door. Leave it running for ten minutes or so, and the contents of the can will have been cycled through the aircon system.

The can contains an anti-bacterial agent that kills the bacteria which are responsible for the smell.

I've used this product in the past, and was very impressed with the results.

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OTT_B

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"...unless there's a fault on the charging system. Boiling batteries make the rotten eggs smell"

Show me a car which is boiling battery fluid, still starts and isn't triggering a diagnostic fault.

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flycatcher1

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I had a smelly car and the problem was fixed as per the FE's advice above.

Problem has not returned - so far.

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Bing.alau

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Have you looked in the boot for a left over shopping bag maybe? There could be half a dozen eggs rotting away there.

I've never heard of the FE's cure for the air conditioning system, but perhaps that is because I have only ever had two cars with air con. Neither has had problems. My present car is too new to have a problem of this sort yet but I will keep FE's suggestion in mind for the future.

I did have one car many years ago which developed a very strong fishy smell. I eventually had to remove the carpet throughout the car before finding a tiny piece of fish which one of my children must have dropped when we stopped for a fish supper down in Cornwall a few months previously. That's why I am suggesting checking the simple things, such as eggs in the boot, first.

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Quickbeam

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"Show me a car which is boiling battery fluid, still starts and isn't triggering a diagnostic fault."

...a 1978 Morris Maina;)

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Jock1e

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Thanks everyone for their suggestions,I took it for a small run this morning with the air conditioner full on and there was no smell.

When I go out later I will try it with the air conditioner switched off and see if the smell is still there.

Forum Editor

That sounds like a good idea.

Do you have to tape the button on the can down with tape or does it stay down once you press it.

I will give that a go if the smell is back.

Bing.alau

No nothing left in the back.The smell is only there when you start the engine.

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woodchip

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rotten eggs is from catalytic converter. if you follow a car that as just started up you will get it in through air vents

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Jock1e

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woodchip

No it is not like that.I get it with no other cars around and when parked in the driveway.

Mind you saying that there is no harm me trying it just now as you can smell it as soon as you turn the ignition key.

Ok gave it a try and could barely smell anything so will give it another few days and if it is still there I will try FE's method.

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Forum Editor

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"Do you have to tape the button on the can down with tape or does it stay down once you press it."

Stand the can on one of the back floor spaces, press the button on the top and shut the door. The can releases a continuous stream of bactericide vapour which fills the car, and is cycled through the air-conditioning system. There are full instructions on the can.

It worked really well for me.

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