Odor from HVAC vents on Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Problem Description and Possible Solution

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.

Problem Data
RepairPal Verified
Average mileage: 58,383 (10,000–123,000)
8 model years affected: 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009, more2010, 2012, 2013, 2014
19 people reported this problem
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Viewing 1 - 11 of 11 comments
Vinegar like odor from HVAC. Becomes pronounced when AC is on. Have not solved yet, will likely take to dealer for cleaning.
I have begun to notice a distinct smell of antifreeze in the car, especially when climbing mountain ranges. The smell emanates from the vents even if the fan is completely turned off. No solution yet, but I suspect a slight leak in the heater core or the attached hoses. It resulted in extremely lungs for several weeks after an 8 hour road trip.
I have noticed when I started using the AC in the Spring now, AC smells like mold. After leaving the fan on high for a few minutes, the smell disappears (and or i'm just getting used to it).
Smells like sweaty clothes when ac starts
Mine smells like dirty socks! It's awful
When u turn on AC it smells like dirty socks, it's horrible. What do we do
Since I bought car when I turn on air flow at all it smells like crayons
Strong odor of vinegar in HVAC began while driving in a humid climate. After spraying the special foam deodorizer that A/C repair shops use
(purchased on Amazon.com) into the cabin air intake and then changing the cabin air filter there was a 50% improvement. Then, about a week later I searched under the seats again and discovered the problem. - I recognized a slim take-out tray of left-over chicken with teriyaki vinegar sauce! It had been there for over a month.
Used purchase smell after a month

Spray Lysol into outter intake vent by driver side wipe with Ac running on high

Also turn off AC 10 mins before you know your turning things off.
Odor coming from vents when AC is on.
A musty odor coming from the air conditioner vents. Dealer offered to check it for a price, we decline and bought a new AC filter from auto parts store, which I will replace myself.