New car smell after 2 years?

Owen Lucas

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When turning on the heat on our 21 Pilot, I smell what is either engine oil but it also is close to the "new car smell".

Can a new car smell last this long? It's present only when running heat and most noticeable on the floor hvac setting.

I have a suspicion it might be residual engine oil vapors but it's a long shot theory. The second time I changed the oil I had some from the filter run into the subframe via small hole. I realized this smell when I was idling in the summer with the AC on and it smelled like burning engine oil. The exhaust manifold seems to be close enough to the subframe that I might have heated the oil. Next day I power washed the subframe very thoroughly which included directly spraying water into the opening in the subframe for a few minutes. I covered the hole with tape to prevent future oil intrusion.

My concern is that somehow these fumes left some residue in the air ducts which is activated by hot air and becomes noticeable at that time.

Other theory is that these plastic ducts just happen to be smelly when hot and are still off gassing after 2 years and 38k miles. I've changed the cabin air filter 2 times IIRC.
 
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When turning on the heat on our 21 Pilot, I smell what is either engine oil but it also is close to the "new car smell".

Can a new car smell last this long? It's present only when running heat and most noticeable on the floor hvac setting.

I have a suspicion it might be residual engine oil vapors but its a long shot theory. The second time I changed the oil I had some from the filter run into the subframe via small hole. I realized this smell when i was idling in the summer with the AC on and it smelled like burning engine oil. The exhaust manifold seems to be close enough to the subframe that I might have heated the oil. Next day I power washed the subframe very thoroughly which included directly spraying water into the opening in the subframe for a few minutes. I covered the hole with tape to prevent future oil intrusion.

My concern is that somehow these fumes left some residue in the air ducts which is activated by hot air and becomes noticeable at that time.

Other theory is that these plastic ducts just happen to be smelly when hot and are still off gassing after 2 years and 38k miles. I've changed the cabin air filter 2 times IIRC.
most of that "new car smell" is the out-gassing of plastics inside the car. I've had cars that I've stored, when opening the car up for the first time I get a whiff of that new car smell again. But with yours, finding a hole in the subframe where oil collected after an oil change.. it might have gotten in other places and when the engine gets hot, it starts to have those vapors give off a smell. Wondering if you get up in there with an inspection camera in the small spots, maybe some oil is still around the engine bay.

Another thought if you can't find any more oil in the engine bay.. Maybe some of those vapors are inside the hvac system, they do have that foaming cleaner for a/c that you can shoot in there.. I know Toyota has one.. Then that might clean up whatever residue was there.
 
Another thought if you can't find any more oil in the engine bay.. Maybe some of those vapors are inside the hvac system, they do have that foaming cleaner for a/c that you can shoot in there.. I know Toyota has one.. Then that might clean up whatever residue was there.
I'm pretty certain the engine bay is clean due to only 2 -3 oz. of oil spillage and the thorough power washing I gave it. The smell is noticeable even when the vehicle is motion so any updraft or burning oil would be blown away when driving. The theory about the vapor residue in the ducts is likely unless it is indeed the new car plastic duct smell.

I don't know if it is possible for "engine oil smell" to stick around in ducts but that is a likely hood, pretty annoying.
 
My trucks and cars still smell like leather every time i get in one of them. 99, 06, 11.
We have leather as well but I don't smell any leather in this vehicle.

My 21' Honda Pilot never had much of any scent even when brand new. The light scent when running the heat smells like carbon filtration to me.
Interesting, I did not know there is a carbon element, maybe it's one of those non-serviceable ones. That would explain a lot.
 
Scent of car. Hoo-ah! Plasticizers can leach out for years. Some are fragrant. Rode recently in a car that smelled like unwashed feet.

Was it a Hyundai Palisade? :unsure: :sneaky:
I remember reading about the owners of new Palisades being grossed out by the interior smell. I believe that's when they were first released though.
 
Was it a Hyundai Palisade? :unsure: :sneaky:
I remember reading about the owners of new Palisades being grossed out by the interior smell. I believe that's when they were first released though.
I have never been inside a Hyundai! The stinker was a Chevy Tahoe - and I don't think it was the vehicle.
 
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