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Auto body repair & detailing/Water Leaking into Cabin?


QUESTION: Hello Dave.  I am hoping that you can help me.  I have a 2005 CRV that I purchased used in August.  Currently has 150,000 miles and is in excellent shape.  Soon after I purchased the vehicle we noticed a sour/moldy smell in the cabin.  I am wondering if there could be water leaking in somewhere.  There is not any noticeable moisture or wet carpets.  Do you have any ideas about this could be?

ANSWER: Hi Bill.....If you notice a moldy musty smell inside the cabin, and yet there doesn't seem to be any visible signs of dampness or accumulated moisture/water, the first thing that comes to mind for me, is that the cabin air filter might need replacing. ( I have listed a link below on how to change this for your particular vehicle )....Vehicle manufacturers actually recommend these to be changed periodically, as they act in the same way as a furnace filter in your home....In any vehicle which has an A/C system, the evaporator inside the cabin, can actually "Sweat", if it is not allowed to rid itself of moisture. The way an evaporator is designed to expel moisture, is that it will have an actual drain tube attached to the system. If the tube becomes plugged, or the flow is restricted in any way, it will retain the moisture, therefore eventually contaminating the cabin air filter.....That being said, I would try changing this first....If once after changing this, you still have the same condition, then you will need to do an actual water test, to see if you can pinpoint any point of entry. I would be more than happy to help guide you through this procedure as well. Just drop me another line anytime...

Thanks for your question....I hope this helps you out.

Dave Norgardt.

Here is the link to replace the cabin filter for a 2005 Honda CRV:

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QUESTION: Hello Dave - Unfortunately, the cabin air filter is clean as a whistle, and dry.  It looks like it has been replaced, but I replaced anyway.  What do you suggest next?  Thank you so much -


ANSWER: Hi Bill.....If the cabin air filter is clean and dry, then I would next suggest taking your vehicle to a car wash, and spraying all of the windows, door opening gaps, windshield, in and around the engine compartment area, etc., at a distance of no closer than 5 or 6 feet, to see if you can find any traces where water might be penetrating, and breaching any of the seals, weatherstrips, window runs, seam sealers as well. Water will take the path of least resistance, as even the slightest leak, will eventually lead to condensation, and in the long run, mold and contamination...The reason for this distance, is to duplicate a heavy rain storm....Any closer, pretty much any vehicle, will be prone to leaks....If at that point, you can't find anything visible, please drop me another line.

Hope this helps you out as well Bill....Dave.

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QUESTION: Hello again Dave.  Well, no luck at the car wash.  BUT, I got a little more invasive with checking the passenger side floor.  I took off the moldings and pulled the carpet and insulation back.  Oh my gosh!  It was flooded with coolant - OLD coolant, that did not smell like the fresh stuff.  I am wondering if the previous owner replaced the heater core and did not clean up this coolant?  There is no fogging of the windows and no noticeable wetness on top of the carpet.  What do you think?  I cleaned everything out and removed the soaked insulation.

Hi again Bill.....From your description and conditions of what you have now found, I would place money on it that this was the issue. In mentioning that there is no fogging on the windows, and the top of the carpet appears to be dry, I definitely tend to agree with you that the heater core was probably leaking, and was replaced without a proper clean up of the old antifreeze. Glad to hear you found the most very likely source for your problem also.....Thanks for the update.....Have a great weekend!.....Dave.

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Dave Norgardt


Absolutely anything autobody related... Frame repair, suspension, alignment, panel replacement, panel repair, fiberglass, plastic repair, paint, air bags, etc.....


Over 30 years in related areas. 25 years in HEAVY frame repair, suspension, and alignment procedures. As well as panel replacement and repairs, etc.....

Journeyman Autobody Technician with Red Seal/Interprovincial certification from N.A.I.T. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Top Achiever award second year, also from N.A.I.T. Also have Platinum status from I-Car Canada...Also have Journeyman Partsman Certificate, Lethbridge, Alberta...

Awards and Honors
Second Year Top Achiever from N.A.I.T.Edmonton

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