How To Get Rid Of Paint Smell In The Car

How To Get Rid Of Paint Smell In The Car

Paint smells in cars are components of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which emit strong and unpleasant odors. They are mostly formed by the car exhaust system or the air conditioning system filter; if not properly maintained, driving your car becomes a tiring and irritating experience.

To get rid of paint smell in your car, properly maintain the tailpipe system in the car exhaust that conveys exhaust gasses to and from your car, vacuum the interiors to remove particles, and thoroughly clean the aircon filter to prevent clogging that may lead to the formation of bad paint odors.

Cars that smell like paint thinners emit unpleasant and irritating odors that, if not addressed promptly, can be hazardous to one’s health and well-being. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about car paint smell, how to get rid of it, and the constituents of car paints that are harmful to your health. Without wasting much time, let’s get started.

Proven Ways to Get Rid of Paint Smell In Cars

Here we’ll be looking at some of the most effective ways to get that paint smell out of your car.

Installation of New Catalytic Converters

Car system paint smells are difficult to deal with, but getting rid of them becomes simple once you can easily identify their source and know the proper measures to undergo. Toxic paint smells emerge from either the car exhaust system or the air conditioner filter.

In the exhaust system, toxic gas vapors can easily enter the catalytic converter for combustion. During this process, exhaust system components such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides produce chemicals that have a distinct odor similar to paint smell. 

To counteract this, properly install new catalytic converters with good filters to prevent toxic pollutants from entering your car’s cabin and interior.

Examination of the Air Conditioning System 

Furthermore, check your air conditioner filter to see if it’s contaminated with paint smell, then clean or replace it. The vapor most likely became trapped in the air conditioner filter and anything porous, such as the headboard and floor liners. 

You can eliminate the smell by driving without an air conditioner for a few days or replacing the aircon filters with activated carbon types to achieve faster results.

Other measures to consider include:

  • Allow it to ventilate for a few minutes by opening all doors and windows.
  • Use more environmentally friendly fuel, such as biodiesel.
  • Rent a commercial ionizer and leave it running for 24 to 36 hours inside your vehicle. After that, thoroughly vacuum the interior.
  • Clean all the soft, porous car parts with Lysol disinfectant.
  • Open all doors and windows to allow the sun’s rays to kill the paint odor from the liners and car interiors.

Constituents Of Car Paints That Make It Injurious To Health

Car paint odors are Volatile Organic Compounds of aliphatic or aromatic hydrocarbons that contain solvents of alcohols, esters, lacquers, and resins that are dangerous when exposed to the human body. 

Components of Car Paints according to suppliers’ Information

Below is a table highlighting the different percentages of the composition of car paint according to information by the manufacturer

IngredientPercentage (%)
Water10 – 50
Acrylic Polymer (solution)20 – 60
Pigments and Extenders25 -50
Biocides< 1.0
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)10 -20

The impact of these compounds varies depending on factors like the amounts of pollutants present in the indoor air and the length of exposure. The dangers of car paint fumes can be amplified by a person’s age and medical condition. It is not safe for pregnant women, babies, or children to be around car paint smells because it can harm their lungs, skin, and overall health. 

Immediate symptoms of car paint fumes include lung irritation, headache, dizziness, and vision problems; therefore, if you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Why Does My Car Smell of Car Paints?

This is a question we frequently ponder or something we notice after having our car serviced at a car body shop. The causes of car paint smell are numerous and can be traced back to several factors such as:

  • The effect of your car paint job
  • Natural weather from a corrosive environment
  • Build-up of dust
  • Vacuum system failure and clogged air conditioning filters
  • Vehicle interiors materials
  • Faulty catalytic converter in the exhaust system 
  • Accumulated oil in the car engines
  • Chemical smells trapped secretly in your car 
  • Inadequate vehicle maintenance and ventilation

Car paint sprays typically take 60–90 days to dissolve that can be detected in an enclosed space. In a professional car body shop, they will inform you of these conditions and apply a shield to seal out all the fumes. If the car body shop does not provide such assurance, you must handle the problem on your own to avoid the possibility of harmful fumes.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: What Happens If You Inhale Excessive Levels Of Car Paint Fumes?

A: Car paint fumes contain VOCs, which when inhaled in large quantities can damage body organs and have negative health consequences. 

Q: What Are The Symptoms Of Car Paint Smell Intake?

A: You first notice throat irritation, followed by frequent headaches, chest discomfort, dizziness, and nausea, accompanied by a loss of appetite and general body irritation.

Q: What Should You Do If You Intake Too Much Car Paint Smell?

A: Seek medical attention immediately before the situation worsens. In the meantime, you can drink small amounts of milk or clean water until medical help arrives.

Q: How Can I Easily Remove Car Paint Smell?

A: Car paint smell can be eliminated easily by opening car windows to allow ventilation and cleaning the interiors of cars with suitable cleaning agents.

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article about identifying and combating the sources of these toxic odors, from changing your car’s catalytic converter and air conditioner filter to cleaning the car interiors with a good disinfectant like Lysol. Next time you encounter this problem, you can now approach it effectively.


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