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Canuck Tech
Canuck Tech, Automotive Service Technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 536
Experience:  Trainer
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The trunk of my 2004 Subaru outback wagon leaks in moderate

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The trunk of my 2004 Subaru outback wagon leaks in moderate and heavy rain, and I have often had water in the trunk. There is often a musty, moldy smell in the car. Do you think it's coming from the trunk, or as I have read in some cases, the A/C system? How can I tell? And how do you recommend I address this without chemicals, preferaby starting with the least costly and "invasive" treatment?

Hi there. I think the first item on the list is to figure out how the water is getting into the trunk. Most likely is leaky seals around the tail lights. Is there water pooling around the spare tire? get rid of the water, take the rear carpet out and pressure wash it, and let it dry. Take the spare tire out and wipe down the spare tire area with some bleach and water. Use gloves. messy, stinky, but should kill the smell. It is also possible that the AC is smelly, but how will you know until you deal with the water leak?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My mechanic thinks the problem is leaves getting into the lip around the top of the trunk. I have tried to remember to clean it out before it rains.


I just looked at the trunk and there is no water around the spare tire, nor does the carpet or anything smell around there.


Any other thoughts? Could the must/mold from previous events have gotten into the a/c system?



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Are you able to answer my follow-up question?




I can't see the smell getting into the AC from a water leak event. What happens to the AC is that pollen, seeds, dust and such builds up on the evaporator core - the device that make the air cold. If you add moisture - which happens because the air loses its moisture on the way into the car - cool the air, the moisture comes out. So, you've got the makings for mold / mildew on the evaporator core.


When you turn the AC on, you get a blast of that moldy smell.


I know that General Motors markets a product that is designed to make the air conditioning smell better, and I'm sure there would be something available in the aftermarket as well.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What is an aftermarket? And I don't want to use chemicals....Are you aware of this problem with other 2004 Subarus?



Not a big problem on other subies. Vinegar may work. Aftermarket refers to something that is sold through an independent parts store, versus through the dealer
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