By May 19, 2008 Read More →

Car Smells Funny and Windows Fog Up

I smell a sort of sweet aroma coming from the vents when I run the defrost. I can’t get the drive side window or side windows to clear up when it’s humid and there is a need to clear the glass. The right side of the car is great.

I don’t get alot of heat when I run the car, it has to run a while before it gets warm. When I run the A/C it seems to have to run awhile before it gets really cool. But at least these things work. Now, I can’t get the windows cleared from steam in the morning or late at night when the condensation is on the inside.

Why do I smell maple when I run the defrost? Why isn’t the driver side clearing up but the passenger side is? The blower works great! It’s strong, the fan is ok.

Someone said it might be a heater coil?

Hi there

Yes, sounds like you have a bad heater core. There is a quick and cheap patch you can do until you need the heater again.

Bypassing the heater core will stop the leak, and clean up your windows but the heater will not work. This might be just fine if you live in Houston like I do and only use your car heater a few times a year.

I talk about that here in more detail.

By Passing a Leaking Car Heater Core


Austin Davis


Reader Follow Up

I did get a response from you regarding a Heater Core going back.

My other part to the question I forgot to ask was: will it leak before I get it fixed just by using the car and circulating that water through the core for general runnig of the car?

It’s not leaking onto the floor, but it is fogging up my side front window, it’s hard to drive, I have to wipe it clean after a few miles.

I turned off the air, I turned off the heat, I turned off the outside / inside vent flow, but it still fogs up.

Is the leaking onto the floor a matter of time to happen or does the leak occur from trying to use the heater/a/c or defrost?

I’m afraid to drive my car right now, wondering if a leak is going to occur. I can’t get this fixed for a few weeks!

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I know you gave me instructions to temp fix it til i need heat, but it’s not an option. I can’t fix it, I am physically able, not strong enough and don’t have the tools. By the time I pay someone to shortcut fix it i’ll be out about 60. an hour for that.

I just want to know if I can drive it a while without it leaking, or is it a crap shoot sort of thing.

Thanks much, Vickie


Hello again Vickie,

The heater core is going to leak coolant regardless if the heater is working or not….there is still coolant/antifreeze going through the system. Visit your local auto parts store and tell them you want to by pass your heater core and need a splice (most likely 5/8 on one end and ¾ on the other) and two hose clamps.

You might be able to get the auto parts guy to install it for you for a $10 tip, or let him show you how to do it yourself. This patch can be undone when you are ready to repair it correctly next winter.


Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."

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