When you turn on the ventilation in your Saab car, with or without the air conditioner on, and you immediately feel a stench or just a mild unpleasant smell, it’s definitely time to react.
Your health is also at stake, since various harmful microorganisms that passengers inhale develop in the entire system.
Don’t wait until problems arise to act
Prevention greatly facilitates the whole story. That is why regular cleaning and disinfection of the complete ventilation/air conditioning system prevents unpleasant odors and protects your health.
Of course, since it is another time- and money-consuming task, many Saab owners avoid it until more serious symptoms occur.
How does this problem arise?
Let’s say the air conditioner evaporator is the main culprit. Condensation occurs on it during the use of the air conditioner, and where there is water, bacteria, mold, etc. soon appear. From the evaporator, the colonies of these microorganisms spread further wherever they find suitable “ground” for development.
An unmaintained air conditioner in a car is a health hazard
Stink is not the main problem. Experts claim that the air coming from the air conditioner “occupied” by microorganisms poses a health risk, including the appearance of various allergies, irritation of the throat, eyes and nose, difficulty breathing, dry cough…
How to recognize that it is time to clean?
An unpleasant smell is a sure sign that it is time to react, even if it is not too strong.
Also, the fact that it is only present for the first few minutes after you turn on the air conditioner does not mean that cleaning is not necessary. Various microorganisms are certainly there, and the fan blows them into the cabin of your Saab car.
What is the best solution?
The best solution is both the most expensive and the most complicated, involving a lot of disassembly and removal of parts in the cabin, so that everything can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
However, this option is not acceptable to many for this very reason – it can be very expensive, take a long time, and possibly in the end everything is not perfectly returned to its place, which can lead to other minor problems (e.g. crunching or other sounds in driving).
Of course, everything depends on the car, on the expertise and experience of the service technician and other factors.
That’s why there are effective alternatives
Now we are talking about professional cleaning systems. There are various types and many are not very cheap, but when you consider that they deal with the air you breathe while driving, it is clear that such an investment definitely makes sense.
Without professional disinfection of the climate, i.e. a complete ventilation system, you will generally not achieve much.
Prices can vary significantly. We will not give examples. But you decide how much you want to spend on this “story”.
Generally, a device is used in which a disinfectant liquid or a combination of several liquids is poured, after which the device inside a closed car with the air conditioning and recirculation on starts to emit steam that (allegedly) is able to reach the most hidden parts of the ventilation and cooling system.
The cleaning procedure usually takes half an hour or more.
We talked to several drivers who used this service in various service stations – all of them were satisfied and in the long term. However, they were not very enthusiastic about the price.
Do-it-yourself solution for cleaning the air conditioner in a Saab car
You can try to solve this problem yourself. In auto parts and auto cosmetics stores, you can find various products for cleaning air conditioners.
There are various foams that are inserted deep into the ventilation system with the help of a long tube and sprays that are activated and left in the car for a certain time with the air conditioning and air recirculation on, in order to act on all parts of the system long enough.
As it turned out so far, these solutions, which you can apply yourself, help only if the problem has not become serious. Of course, not every product you can apply yourself is equally effective. How to evaluate what is effective and what is not? We cannot answer that question. In general, no matter what product you use, read the instructions carefully and follow them consistently.
If it says that a chemical agent should be injected into the inside of the vents and then left to sit for at least 20 minutes, don’t turn on the air conditioner after 10 minutes, no matter how impatient you are.
A special problem is the poorly translated and imprecise instructions on many products. It is devastating that sometimes even the instructions in English are written in such a way that even someone with excellent knowledge of English cannot understand how to specifically use that tool.
Therefore, before buying air conditioning cleaning products, take the user manual, read it, and if you do not understand something, ask the seller for help. However, in many cases you shouldn’t expect much help since the seller can only read the same as you.
Alternative (cheap) solutions
Some drivers believe that there is no need to “waste money”, but that you can solve the problem yourself with inexpensive means that you may already have.
For example, asepsol or a similar universal disinfectant should be liberally sprayed into the intake/s through which outside air enters the cabin. In this case, the air recirculation should be turned off, the ventilation turned on at maximum, and the cabin filter removed.
Turn on the recirculation periodically and spray the vents as well. Try it, it might help. There are also dedicated agents in the form of sprays that are used in a similar way.
Is there any purpose in prevention?
Absolutely! Prevention should be carried out regularly. But how? Use do-it-yourself disinfectants as a preventive measure.
You should also turn off the air conditioner (compressor) for a certain time before turning off the ventilation, that is, before you arrive at your destination and turn off the car, so that the evaporator has enough time to dry. In Saab cars, press the “AC OFF” button.
However – there are very divided opinions on this matter.
Some claim that even 5-6 minutes is not enough to dry the air conditioning system in the car. We cannot claim anything on this matter, as it would require more serious research and testing.
It is up to you to follow this advice if you wish.
But, certainly, this procedure will not harm. Therefore, we recommend that you turn off the air conditioning (“AC OFF”) and open the windows at least 5 minutes before arriving at your destination. Perhaps turning off the air conditioner will not be able to completely dry the evaporator, although it can help, that is, mitigate the consequences.