Volkswagen Jetta Problems

Odor From HVAC Vents on Volkswagen Jetta

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.

(138 people reported this problem)

Volkswagen Jetta Vehicles With This Problem

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Average mileage: 50,424 (5,000–156,745)
13 model years affected: 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, more2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016
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Viewing 1-20 of 72 comments
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.
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.
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.
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!
My dad and I both have 2011 VW Jetta Sportwagens. I found a bulletin about the odder and had the dealer replace the cabin filter and cleaned the A/C unit. In less than a month the bad odor came back. It is really sad that VW can't fix their own problem, We should start a class action lawsuit. I don't think I will buy another VW just because of this, I drive 30k+ per year and my chevy and BMW never had this issue.
Jay C
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!
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
I bought this car used just a couple months ago. The smell started on day one. It is certified pre owned and has been in for service already, they did some air treatment that was overpowering but the bad smell came back in less than a week. It is going in for another "treatment" this morning. After finding out so many people are having the same problem I wonder if we can start a class action lawsuit. But honestly I just want a different car now.
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.
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.