How do I get rid of that new-car smell? Featuring CCI-Bankrate.com

August 6, 2014

By Tara Baukus Mello • Bankrate.com

Dear Driving for Dollars,

I bought a new car and I love it, except for that new-car smell. It seems especially terrible if the car has been parked outside in the sun. Is there any way to make it go away faster?

— Lauren

How To Get Rid of New Car Smell

Dear Lauren,

The odor you probably notice is the outgassing of plastics and other synthetic materials in your car. If your car has leather upholstery, the heat from the sun also will “bake” it, similar to what happens with your skin when you are outdoors for an extended period.

Mark Bollman, president of Creative Colors International, an auto reconditioning and restoration company, says the two keys to getting rid of that new-car smell are cooler temperatures and ventilation. He suggests parking in a garage or shaded area and leaving the windows down whenever possible (if your car is in a secure location) — or at least cracked to allow the odors to escape.

When driving, set the climate-control system to circulate using outside air versus the recirculate option that closes the outside vents and only circulates cabin air.

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