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Sudden Perfume Smell

helenhighwater

New member
Location
Oregon
I'm chasing a smell in my car as well, only mine is a bad smell. OP you're lucky you don't have that problem. I left a flavored coffee in the cupholder while at topgolf one day and the smell has not gone away. I've parked the car in the garage with the windows down for weeks on end since I don't drive it in the winter, I've closed up the car and poured 5 pounds of baking soda into cookie sheets and placed them all over the car for days on end, nothing gets rid of it. It's stuck in the leather and cushions and floormats and everything. Didn't even spill it. My next step is to grab a bottle of Ozium and tie the nozzle down, throw it in the car, and run like hell. If that doesn't work, I'll rent an ozone generator for a day or two. I suggest you ask them to do the same.

I have had a bad smell issue in a couple of cars I have owned, and it smells like old sweaty gym socks. That stink is caused by mildew in the air conditioning vents, and is very easy to get rid of. If that sounds like what you have, See link below. Interestingly enough the problems have been most noticeable on German cars (although not on my VW yet)
 

dequardo

Drag Race Newbie
Location
Waukesha, WI
Car(s)
2020 GLI S PG DSG
The more this goes the stranger it gets. I’m stopping at the first 4 words in post #1
 

dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
Location
South
I'm chasing a smell in my car as well, only mine is a bad smell. OP you're lucky you don't have that problem. I left a flavored coffee in the cupholder while at topgolf one day and the smell has not gone away. I've parked the car in the garage with the windows down for weeks on end since I don't drive it in the winter, I've closed up the car and poured 5 pounds of baking soda into cookie sheets and placed them all over the car for days on end, nothing gets rid of it. It's stuck in the leather and cushions and floormats and everything. Didn't even spill it. My next step is to grab a bottle of Ozium and tie the nozzle down, throw it in the car, and run like hell. If that doesn't work, I'll rent an ozone generator for a day or two. I suggest you ask them to do the same.
I've tackled smells like this before. It's not coming out easily. Unfortunately, neither is yours. Be careful with ozone... You can't run it for long, because it will eat the polymers and make even worse smells, or damage things visibly. They will absolutely accelerate aging; especially in relation to those open cell foam seals used so often in climate control ducts, as well as anything prone to U/V damage.

As for the smell, to me, it's horrid.
 

dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
Location
South
The more this goes the stranger it gets. I’m stopping at the first 4 words in post #1
Nothing strange about it. It's just a run down of a smell, suggestions of what it might be, and reasons it can't be that.

Beyond those things, it's become a frustrating experience in regard to a simple request at a dealership to investigate an issue that turned into a pile of lies, illegality, and assault on my character.

I didn't put the smell there, and I'm not the one dragging anchor on an issue that is no more complicated than: See if you can find the source of that smell and let me know.

The dealership received a very simple instruction.

That dealership and Volkswagen complicated this; not me. I just told the man to call me when it was sorted, and then I called VW as instructed. Nothing crazy about asking someone to find a smell and then just doing what I'm told. The lies, delays, and anchor dragging started making me suspicious, and they just spiraled out of control without my input. I don't know what happened, I don't care what happened. That's not my problem.
 

dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
Location
South
Maybe the dealer where other people live is great. The one I've got is responsible for this mess.

I was really starting to dig that car. Sure, it had some annoyances, but it was a great platform that had lots of potential. I really like the car.

The problem I've got right now is not the smell; it's the fact that these wagons circled so fast at an innocent, jovial request; and the fact that they're lying for some unfathomable reason.

I type coldly, but I'm about the nicest guy in the world. They had no reason to clam up like that; especially when I was asking for a QUOTE to find the issue; not a warranty claim.

Again, I'm assuming I must have got something stuck in that engine bay on the road. Instead of taking the money, they started this nonsense, onerous process.

I must ask myself this question: What happens when I actually DO have a warranty issue? Good lord... I can't imagine what I'd have to deal with.
 

Carlosfandang0

Drag Racing Champion
Location
UK
Car(s)
2016 3Dr GTi DSG CSG
This is crazy shit right here! You explain that you’re hyper sensitive to odours, yet you expect the dealership to find a (quite likely) faint odour that is probably a smell that others will just associate with the usual way a new car smells as it initially off gasses, although you’ve said it’s bad etc, you haven’t really explained what the odour you smell actually smells like, what else in the world smells like it? Is it the plastics maybe? Organics? Chemicals? Glues even? You say the dealership is lying, but what about? They probably think you’re crazy and are accommodating you’re concerns but genuinely don’t think there is an issue, take the car back, change the cabin filter, and have a quick search yourself, take it to an independent if your happy to pay and don’t expect warranty, if it’s coming from the vents then that’s where the issue must be right? if the whole car (interior) just smells bad to you then it’s likely just off gassing of glues etc, does the engine bay smell the same? What about the fresh air inlet when checked from the outside? A vary bizarre occurrence indeed! I hope you find a solution.
 
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dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
Location
South
This is crazy shit right here! You explain that you’re hyper sensitive to odours, yet you expect the dealership to find a (quite likely) faint odour that is probably a smell that others will just associate with the usual way a new car smells as it initially off gasses, although you’ve said it’s bad etc, you haven’t really explained what the odour you smell actually smells like, what else in the world smells like it? Is it the plastics maybe? Organics? Chemicals? Glues even? You say the dealership is lying, but what about? They probably think you’re crazy and are accommodating you’re concerns but genuinely don’t think there is an issue, take the car back, change the cabin filter, and have a quick search yourself, take it to an independent if your happy to pay and don’t expect warranty, if it’s coming from the vents then that’s where the issue must be right? if the whole car (interior) just smells bad to you then it’s likely just off gassing of glues etc, does the engine bay smell the same? What about the fresh air inlet when checked from the outside? A vary bizarre occurrence indeed! I hope you find a solution.
I've already mentioned most of that, but here's a refresher:

The service adviser sat in the car right in front of me, stating his surprise at the potency of the smell. Several techs noted it at well, and this was communicated to me. Two more smelled it; one was my insurance adjuster.

They all agreed it was extremely powerful. One happened to like it. Hypersensitivity was a tertiary topic. This simply means that it is much more difficult for me to endure a smell this powerful. It does not minimize the potency as experienced by others. Three people verified that, with the windows down, they could smell it from approximately ten feet away even with the blower off.

I've said the engine bay seemed to "include" the odor, and I've said that it was patently obvious when the intake was approached; even when sucking in air, you can smell it from the outside. The man had his head in the engine bay when the car was running trying to look for a plastic bag that may have been sucked up, for crying out loud. He smelled it plain as day, and even sat about trying to decide what it smelled like to him. We stayed out there bullshitting about cars for a while, actually.

I mentioned what they were lying about, as well. They told me one thing, and told VW another thing entirely, as well as swapped their words for my own, and then changed their story yet again later. VW communicated to me that nobody detected an odor, when that service adviser was up sniffing the vents in amazement and following his own nose around the car, commenting on the smell and what he thought it might be... Sure. Whatever. I've got two other people who won't lie about what they smelled.

When I drove into the dealership lot, I walked in and asked the service adviser to come out and see if he smelled anything; I didn't walk in complaining about a smell. I wanted to make sure it was there. Once he confirmed it, I just wanted them to look over the vehicle to find whatever I must have sucked up on the road.

They looked, he said that they saw no evidence of any such intrusion, and suggested I call Volkswagen to see about other GTIs that had a production-related smell issue out of the blue (they said some did). Money wasn't even on my mind, because clearly the next step was for them to start looking a little more deeply, which they suggested as the next course of action. I did not believe a production issue could be at fault, but it needed to be investigated either way.

I made a phone call I was told to make, told the lady what I was supposed to, and then she created a regional case; suggesting she'd check into potential links with the other cars, and start a dialog with the dealership. Everything was cool, she said; it was just about making sure the dealer was doing all they were supposed to do... I never said they weren't. I called because they told me to...

The callback was when things got weird; that's when the outlandish nonsense started; just as quickly as the odor did, actually.

I know what the "new car smell" includes. As noted, this happened very quickly three weeks into my ownership. This smell is not adhesive, carpet, fabric dye... It is nothing of the sort.
 

Carlosfandang0

Drag Racing Champion
Location
UK
Car(s)
2016 3Dr GTi DSG CSG
Yes, I realise most of the points you have reiterated, just I missed the part about the engine bay, So, what does it smell like??? You seem to be saying it smells like melted plastic?? Something on the manifold/exhaust? (Which appears to be most plausible), Maybe something the blower motor is giving off?? You may find it just dissipates, especially if it’s something stuck to the exhaust.
 
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JC_451

Autocross Champion
Location
NJ
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport
I still don't follow how the dealer is responsible for rectifying this.

Dropping the car off with them and telling them you don't want to see it again til the situation is resolved is an impossible demand. It seems as if you weren't clear about your intentions. From their point of view you must have come off as being dug in the day you dropped the car off.

If you were willing to pay for them to really search in a no expense spared fashion then maybe call them back and make that clear.

Otherwise they're not responsible for a smell that appeared after you took possession of the car...unless they actually find something Warranty wise during the tare down.

I cannot see a scenario from which you get satisfaction here. This seems impossible to resolve as it stands.
 

dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
Location
South
Yes, I realise most of the points you have reiterated, just I missed the part about the engine bay, So, what does it smell like??? You seem to be saying it smells like melted plastic?? Something on the manifold/exhaust? (Which appears to be most plausible), Maybe something the blower motor is giving off?? You may find it just dissipates, especially if it’s something stuck to the exhaust.
Describing an odor in a manner everyone will understand is difficult. I've tried a few times here but I guess it was interpreted as hyperbole; but I've genuinely been trying to explain it.

It's a very middling smell. It's not overly flowery, and not overly fruity. You know those crappy gel air fresheners people clip onto their vents; the ones that can never really be identified, but all kind of smell the same?

It's like that, but worse. What it smells like to me is an air freshener or vape fluid marketed to people trying to cover up the smell of weed. Trying to avoid generalizations, here. Indeed, it was my assumption that, as you noted, one got kicked up on the road and stuck in the engine bay; perhaps around the turbo.

Even upon calling them back (very friendly, yet weighty conversation), they insist there is nothing stuck in there, and I think that's where some of the VW confusion came in; but that all spiraled into strangeness without my aid.
 

Strange Mud

Autocross Newbie
Location
Small Town CT
Car(s)
2017 GTI (+3 more)
is the principle of the matter worth writing off the $ of new car depreciation? Selling it isn't going to hurt VW, heck if you buy an R it will be 2x profit to them. IDK your financials but even mine that are decent I would swallow pride and try to fix it rather than loose the $. Or do you really just want a different model car?

not trying to insult
 

dosjockey

Go Kart Champion
Location
South
I still don't follow how the dealer is responsible for rectifying this.

Dropping the car off with them and telling them you don't want to see it again til the situation is resolved is an impossible demand. It seems as if you weren't clear about your intentions. From their point of view you must have come off as being dug in the day you dropped the car off.

If you were willing to pay gorb
There was a lot more to that conversation. As noted, I spent quite some time outside with the service adviser. I said that on the second visit, after we'd already been over the car in the lot looking for something. Told him I might be back if it didn't begin to dissipate. We discussed potential places to look. I'd considered taking it back and messing with it myself, but then I just brought it back as I said I might.

When asked what I wanted him to do, it was to fully investigate that smell. How fully? Well, I didn't want that car back until it didn't smell. He said I should also call VW.

You're just getting the words, here; not the delivery. We weren't out there arguing, and we'd already spoken earlier, as I'd originally just stopped by to verify that I wasn't smelling something that was already gone; you know how things can seem to get stuck in a nose for a while, at times. The original visit was because I happened to be a quarter mile from the place and the smell had just happened.

It's not a good idea to wait when something strange happens to a car that's under warranty and/or you don't plan on keeping very long. Get it checked as soon as possible; especially if you think it's something smelly baking in the engine bay. That's a common sense response. I'm good for sitting down in a car and driving it, and most of the time getting out. That's all I can do for a while. I needed those eyes on the issue, and to determine if it's just something I'd have to pay to clear out (or take the hit on a trade if it wouldn't go away), or if something I wasn't familiar with had gone wrong in there.
 

imthanick_a

Autocross Newbie
Location
Ohio
Skip the air freshener sprays, they'll just mask the odor. Go right to the ozone generator.

OP should do the same. I genuinely feel for you. I have a freakish sense of smell and I don't blame you at all.
Ozium isn't a freshener spray, its an odor eliminator and actually works really well for most things. My mom used to use it in her car with good success
 

imthanick_a

Autocross Newbie
Location
Ohio
I'm chasing a smell in my car as well, only mine is a bad smell. OP you're lucky you don't have that problem. I left a flavored coffee in the cupholder while at topgolf one day and the smell has not gone away. I've parked the car in the garage with the windows down for weeks on end since I don't drive it in the winter, I've closed up the car and poured 5 pounds of baking soda into cookie sheets and placed them all over the car for days on end, nothing gets rid of it. It's stuck in the leather and cushions and floormats and everything. Didn't even spill it. My next step is to grab a bottle of Ozium and tie the nozzle down, throw it in the car, and run like hell. If that doesn't work, I'll rent an ozone generator for a day or two. I suggest you ask them to do the same.

I have had a bad smell issue in a couple of cars I have owned, and it smells like old sweaty gym socks. That stink is caused by mildew in the air conditioning vents, and is very easy to get rid of. If that sounds like what you have, See link below. Interestingly enough the problems have been most noticeable on German cars (although not on my VW yet)
My smell is from coffee that was in the car in the sun, not mildew
 

imthanick_a

Autocross Newbie
Location
Ohio
I still don't follow how the dealer is responsible for rectifying this.

Dropping the car off with them and telling them you don't want to see it again til the situation is resolved is an impossible demand. It seems as if you weren't clear about your intentions. From their point of view you must have come off as being dug in the day you dropped the car off.

If you were willing to pay for them to really search in a no expense spared fashion then maybe call them back and make that clear.

Otherwise they're not responsible for a smell that appeared after you took possession of the car...unless they actually find something Warranty wise during the tare down.

I cannot see a scenario from which you get satisfaction here. This seems impossible to resolve as it stands.
Agreed with this. It wasn't the dealers fault, the car isn't just creating the perfume smell out of nowhere, and it's not an issue with other peoples car. Dealer is not responsible to fix this issue so you shouldn't be upset at them for not bending to your will to fix it. It's not worth their time and they certainly won't miss you as a customer. They'll likely be happy to be rid of you based on the things you've said about how you've been acting in this thread. Inside of warranty or out, this is NOT a warranty issue. (unless it turns out to be coolant from a water pump leak)

This thread is like an episode of Seinfeld
 
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