Kia Motors revealed the third generation Sorento in South Korea on August 28, 2014.

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Bad smell coming from air vents on car when fresh in take is on

I have a 2015 Kia Sorento. I noticed a bad smell coming from my air vents about a week ago when I was in park with the heater on. It's not a sweet smell like antifreeze and it's not a stinky smell like rotten eggs. It's more of an electrical smell. I took it to the dealership and they changed the cabin filter and said they looked it over and couldn't find anything. They said they looked at the exhaust system and for any oil leaks. Found nothing. So I hoped the cabin filter solved the problem. It did not. So only clues I have is car has to be on fresh air intake and the temp has to be halfway before this happens. And it can be smelled from the inside of the car, the outside and under the hood. Anyone have any idea what it could be? Thanks.

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Hi @ammie78 ,

Do you have the vent fan on or off?

What is the heater setting on?

If the fan is off and you turn it on does the air coming out of the vents feel cold, warm or hot, taking the outside temperature into account?


The heat is on high and it's very hot air, as I let the car warm up before I drive it. It's been very cold here, anywhere from 0 to 10.


Hi @ammie78 ,

Realize that it may be difficult but does the smell disappear (eventually) if you turn the heater fan off but leave the heater set to high?

You mentioned that it smelt a bit like an electrical smell, so was wondering if it is the fan perhaps


I will have to try that tomorrow and see. I know I don't smell it if I have my air is on recirculate. It only smells when its on fresh air intake. I have taken it to the dealer ship twice now and they cant find anything wrong. I had them look specifically at the blower resistor today and the wiring to it as someone said that could be the problem.


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Hi @ammie78 ,

This link may be of interest to you.

Scroll down to Post #7

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Between the windsheld and the hood, there is an area where water drains for when it rains. The wipers will push water into these drainage holes when it rains.

Try forcing perfumed soapy water into these vents. This may improve your issue.

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