Why Does My Car Smell Like Ammonia?

March 19, 2024

If you smell a strong ammonia or urine-like odor coming from your car, it may be caused by mildew in the air vents. Fortunately, this is easy to fix. Run the air conditioner on high and don’t have it set to recirculate. Turn the vents towards the front of the car to force the air through the vents. Leave it like this for a few hours, and the smell should disappear.

The exhaust system can also produce a bad smell. If your car has a sulfur impurity, it reacts with the catalytic converter to create hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs. This can happen when you fill up at a gas station, and it’s no big deal as long as you get it fixed.

You might also notice a foul smell if you’ve used fuel additives that contain nitrogen or hydrogen, or if your vehicle has an exhaust problem. Excessive idling can also cause the release of harmful emissions into the atmosphere, so make sure you use the recommended fuel additive and have your engine properly maintained.

Ammonia is a colorless gas with a very pungent odor that’s found in cleaning products and smelling salts. It can be toxic in high concentrations. If ingested, it can irritate your throat and stomach, and it can burn your eyes and skin if it comes into contact with them. It’s also dangerous to breathe in, and can irritate your nose and throat.


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