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Bad smell in a car I'm thinking of buying. Any ideas?


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I apologize in advance that this post is not exclusively Packard-related, but I think it has relevance to anyone who, like us, is interested in older cars.

I was looking at buying a used car yesterday and liked pretty much everything about the vehicle except its smell. I believe a previous owner was a smoker and that he, and/or a succeeding owner, tried to mask the stale smoke smell with one of those nauseating deodorizers people dangle from the mirror. The deodorizer was gone and the ash trays were clean, but the smell(s) persisted nonetheless.

The upshot is there are two stinks in the car that compete to irritate my nose. The car has leather seats & door panels, so I'm assuming the smells are lodged in the carpets and headliner.

My question is, will this stink naturally dissipate over time, or do I need to take some serious action? Or, should I just forget about buying the car and look for one that doesn't offend my nose?

All the best,

Mark in Alaska

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you can put plates on the floors (standard dinner plates) and pour enough vinegar in the plate to be about an 1/8th inch deep. leave it in the car for a couple of days and most odors will be gone. The whole trick with this method is to spread out the vinegar over a large (surface)area. The car will smell like vinegar at first, but that will subside.

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You might try an ozone generator. Presumably the ozone "eats up" the odors. Some used car dealers use them to deodorize their cars to avoid the problems you mention. Ours does a good job in the house. We have had no occasion to use it in a car, however.

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