Odor From HVAC Vents on Volkswagen Jetta

Condensation in the heater case may cause a musty odor from the heating, ventilation and AC (HVAC) system after sitting for two hours or more. Our technicians tell us that a cleaner is available for the heater case and the drain system should be checked for debris.

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Average mileage: 50,675 (5,000–156,745)
12 model years affected: 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, more2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
104 people reported this problem
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Viewing 1 - 20 of 66 problem details
Car began to have smell of sour feet pour out of vents, a little.. at 15k miles. Avoided using a/c much until smell was horrible at 27k miles. Had dealer replace cabin/pollen filter @ that time. Smell still occurs and is WORSE @ 48k miles. I had dealership replace another filter 11/22/11. TODAY,11/29/11 went back to dealer b/c of smell... stronger and nasty. They refused to fix or look at car w/out committing to $98 hourly fee to diagnose. I called VW and was told the same thing!! They didn't fix it while under warranty and won't take ownership of their issue and correct it now. We will have to trade in our 09 Jetta to get away from the STINK and NEVER buy a VW again. That's pretty sad, when you buy a car b/c of a reputation they can't hold up to.
2003 Volkswagen Jetta 70,000 mi,
Replaced air filter, smells like something died inside there, it comes on with heat and air
I thought it was just me...but since we had this car when you turn on the air it smells just like dog shit....I am fed up with VW
Terrible stink in the car -- similar to a basement that is growing mildew and mold. Appears to be related to the air conditioning system. What a pity. An otherwise nice car -- that I don't want to get into anymore. I wish I could return it.
2007 Volkswagen Jetta 63,000 mi,
When you run the air conditioner, the initial air flowing into the car smells. I've replaced the cabin filter and the problem still occurs.
2008 Volkswagen Jetta 41,600 mi,
the smell seems to go away after a few minutes but comes back if either heat or ac is turned off then on really suck amd smells bad i wish i knew what to do
2009 Volkswagen Jetta 38,000 mi,
Just bought the 2009 Jetta 2 days ago from a dealer. The guy told us it was the wet carpets when we test-drove it. But since then we've tried airing it out and drying for hours with sun and wind, plus disinfectant, baking soda, vacuuming, cleaning carpets, with no improvement. As soon as you close up the car and get back in, it smells like a dead rat. Car is very clean in and out and detailed. So sad to spend $14,000 on a beautiful car and have it smell so bad!
2006 Volkswagen Jetta 80,000 mi,
Just stinks when the a/c is turned on.
2014 Volkswagen Jetta 13,000 mi,
when my recirculate button is on, I smell this mildewy smell. Vw's solution is to not use my recirculate button. I actually have a 2015 vw Jetta, but that year is not available in the selection. I bought this car brand new. This shouldn't be happening!
2008 Volkswagen Jetta 20,000 mi,
Air conditioning smells musty almost all summer!
2006 Volkswagen Jetta 40,000 mi,
dirty sock smell when first turning on A/C, Replaced cabin air filter
2006 Volkswagen Jetta 65,000 mi,
mildew smell coming through vents.
2014 Volkswagen Jetta 17,500 mi,
AC and heater stink
2012 Volkswagen Jetta 36,000 mi,
A/C smells when turned on and for the duration of the car running.
Heater Trick! I clearer the debris, there wasn't any. I changed out the cabin filter, and the smell came back the same day. So, now, until I sell the car, I throw on the heater full blast for about 5min. That cures the musky smell issue until I use the AC again.
2008 Volkswagen Jetta 70,000 mi,
Same issue as everyone else. At about 70k miles the vents started to smell. Mostly happens with AC, not heat. If I drive the car for a little while before turning the air on that sometimes helps.
Musty or mildewed smell at startup of fan or AC.... 31000 miles.
Same report as all of the others. musty smell from the vents.
2006 Volkswagen Jetta 70,000 mi,
When turning o the A/C, it smells musty
2003 Volkswagen Jetta 96,000 mi,
HVAC Vents have musty smell