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Bad smell coming from air vents
01-03-2018, 06:18 PM
Post: #1
Bad smell coming from air vents
I have a 2015 Kia Sorento with around 21,000 miles on it. About a week ago while I was sitting in park with the heater on, in fresh air intake mode, a really bad smell came through my vents. It's not a sweet smell like antifreeze or a rotten egg smell. It's more of an electrical smell. But I only noticed it when my car is in fresh in take mode and temp of car is halfway. I took it to the dealership where they couldn't find anything wrong just a dirty cabin filter which I had changed. I hoped that was the problem. It was not. Dealership said they checked for oil leaks, and checked the exhaust system but found nothing but I am still having this problem. Anyone have any idea what it could be? Thanks.
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01-03-2018, 08:27 PM
Post: #2
RE: Bad smell coming from air vents
My first guess is mouse nesting material in the blower resistor. My second guess is the connector plug to the blower resistor has a pin that's overheating and the smell (plastic / electrical) is coming through the vents. Either way, you should pull some of the plugs apart and have a gander for signs of heat.

BTW, several other vehicle manufacturers have issues with these connections and have offered harness "pigtails" with heavier gauge wire as the fix. Obviously you need to replace both sides of a poor connection so that means the resistor and the harness. At that age I would be looking for something under warranty, if this is what you find.
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01-03-2018, 08:44 PM (This post was last modified: 01-03-2018 08:47 PM by Ammie78.)
Post: #3
RE: Bad smell coming from air vents
(01-03-2018 08:27 PM)Rupe Wrote:  My first guess is mouse nesting material in the blower resistor. My second guess is the connector plug to the blower resistor has a pin that's overheating and the smell (plastic / electrical) is coming through the vents. Either way, you should pull some of the plugs apart and have a gander for signs of heat.

BTW, several other vehicle manufacturers have issues with these connections and have offered harness "pigtails" with heavier gauge wire as the fix. Obviously you need to replace both sides of a poor connection so that means the resistor and the harness. At that age I would be looking for something under warranty, if this is what you find.

Ok, ty. I am taking it back to the dealership tomorrow. I will show them this post. I do not why they couldn't figure out what was wrong with it the first time. Yes it is still under warranty, makes me wonder if they are just trying to get out of not fixing it.
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01-03-2018, 10:11 PM
Post: #4
RE: Bad smell coming from air vents
The main reason they didn't find it is the amount of time it takes to warm up a bad connection, which may be from 10 - 30 minutes. Just switching the blower on for 30 seconds to take a sniff wont do it. You might have to do the "set up" yourself (15 minutes in the parking lot?) then go fetch someone when the odor starts so they have a better idea of what they are dealing with.
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01-04-2018, 12:04 AM
Post: #5
RE: Bad smell coming from air vents
That's exactly right. It takes awhile for the smell to start, as temp gage has to halfway before I smell anything, and it has been frigid here.
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01-04-2018, 11:47 AM
Post: #6
RE: Bad smell coming from air vents
Update. So I am at the dealership. Of course my stupid car isn't smelling up here and they are telling me burning/electrical smell is normal because it is so cold. ?
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01-04-2018, 12:15 PM
Post: #7
RE: Bad smell coming from air vents
The cold may be the key as to why it's not making a stink yet, but there should be no odd smells at all.

Not sure where you are but here in Ct it's snowing and blowing like crazy with temps expected to fall below zero for the next several nights.
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01-04-2018, 12:46 PM
Post: #8
RE: Bad smell coming from air vents
Well it's suppose to be about 45 here next Thursday so we'll see then.I did have them look at the blower resistor and plug said it looked ok. The service dept told me if anything was wrong my check engine light would come on, so who knows. I'm in Kentucky.
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