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View Full Version : How to make a car smell good


subzali
09-21-2010, 10:45 AM
I know next to nothing about detailing a car.

When I bought my Tundra a little over a year ago it was clean and smelled good (like a manly good, like nice leather smell, not wimpy strawberry car freshener smell). Now it needs some help to get it to smell good again. First step is to give it a good vacuuming and soap on the carpet, but what can I do to restore that smell that it had a year ago? The PO knew something about detailing cars that I don't, just wondering if anybody in the club knows some of those tricks...

...and I'm not talking about air fresheners, Lysol, Febreze type smells; but I guess I'm having trouble describing the exact smell I'm looking for...it's like leather, but my leather treatment doesn't quite have the smell I'm looking for, and it doesn't last as long. Maybe the guy's cologne just smelled good and lasted a while after I bought it? :hill:

...any help? :confused:

RedCreeper
09-21-2010, 11:04 AM
Beans.....

Lots of Beans....

IoP

leiniesred
09-21-2010, 11:09 AM
Diesel exhaust, overworked gear oil, and Lava soap. Yep. That is the smell of manliness in my world.

Hulk
09-21-2010, 11:11 AM
Napalm. Smells like victory.

leiniesred
09-21-2010, 11:13 AM
Nice one, Matt!

Jacket
09-21-2010, 11:14 AM
Does it smell bad, like as if you have a 6 month old sippy cup full of milk under the seat?

Or do you just wish it had a nice smell?

Most cleaners and conditioners have a perfume/musk of some sort, so the PO probably just used something you liked. I hear the Zaino stuff smells good, although I've never used it. There used to be a store in Denver called Detailers Paradise (near Broadway and Evans), but I think they closed their doors and only do internet sales now. Unfortunately, you might just have to trying smelling the stuff at Checker, or see what the internets recommend.

I spilled 90 weight in the back of mine, and I can't kill that smell....:(

Dr. Schlegs
09-21-2010, 11:25 AM
Liquid Smoke.

Uncle Ben
09-21-2010, 11:32 AM
Try "Tuff Stuff" carpet/upholstery cleaner. It's used by detail shops and dealership prep bays.....I think thats the residual smell you're looking for!

subzali
09-21-2010, 11:37 AM
You guys are a lot of help...:rolleyes:






But some of those are funny :D

Right now it doesn't smell bad, but it's not real nice either. It's just the smell of usage over time, and yes maybe a little BO from after going on a bike ride, a little spilled Qdoba or Chipotle burrito, maybe a stale tortilla chip or two, general dirt and dust...you know when you have your windows closed all day and the sun starts heating things up...

...I guess I was just thinking I'd have to spend some time down at Checker or Autozone or something smelling some different interior cleaners to see if I come across something I like. In my old red pickup my buddy spilled French Vanilla coffee down the HVAC vent one day, and that smelled good for a while...:D

...But I'm thinking the cologne in the carpet might do the trick...hmmm

Oh and thanks UB, I was posting just as you were. I'll look into it.

Beater
09-21-2010, 11:43 AM
from the resident hippie:

try essential oils if you are looking for a non-industrial smell. neroli oil or the like will do well, will stay in the carpet fiber forever and is very inexpensive.

j

nakman
09-21-2010, 11:59 AM
You know nothing beats that new stereo smell... :)

CardinalFJ60
09-21-2010, 12:07 PM
If you have leather interior, I found that cleaning and conditioning with Zymol brings back some of that clean/newer car smell. When I do the seats in my Subaru my will typically comment that my '05 still smells new.

treerootCO
09-21-2010, 01:04 PM
I like the smell of silicone spray. When I redid the seat leather all of the foam was sprayed with it and it smells new to me. Detail the truck with various cleaners. My favorites are the Mequires leather cleaner/conditioner and the Meguires plastic cleaner stuff. When I am done, I leave the rags under the seat and let them dry with the windows closed. The hotter the day the better. Run the A/C with the windows up as well, it seems to help.

I have heard Ozium is the best for removing smells and saw that Oriley carries it now.

Very small amounts of turpentine will make grease stains disappear, make sure to test in a hidden area first but I use it on all my carpets without any issues.

Inukshuk
09-21-2010, 01:09 PM
When one of my dogs had explosive diarrhea in my rig - yes, really - after the basic soap & water cleaning I used a few boxes of baking soda - sprinkle, let sit for a week, and vac - and Oxyfresh pet deodorizer. Rig has never smelled so nice.

theRash
09-21-2010, 01:10 PM
Rub some mandle wax of your choice over the dash.

http://www.mandleco.com/

Sorry, couldn't resist the funny part of this thread.

Ok for the real response, febreeze it.

FJBRADY
09-21-2010, 01:25 PM
Maybe the guy's cologne

...any help? :confused:

HiKarate

explosive diarrhea

Wow you don't see "Explosive Diarrhea" posted much on this forum.....that stopped me in my tracks.

Good stuff I have dirty trucks too.

nakman
09-21-2010, 01:27 PM
http://www.mandleco.com/



No way I had no idea that product existed.. that is just awesome. I hope I get a bacon candle at the next RS meeting raffle.. :lmao:

TIMZTOY
09-21-2010, 01:31 PM
First of you have a order you need to genrid or it. Then keep the truck clean. And as for a pleasant odor what I've found to work the best is a good bar of soap, which ever is your preferred brand. Then open it and put it under the seat. It smells nice and not over welming. If your worried about it melting. Mine never did "key west Florida, windows up" but just put it on a paper plate It also lasts longer than a Autozone thingy. When it starts to not smell as strong. Just cut or shave some off for smaller bits. And wolla, like new

Hulk
09-21-2010, 01:47 PM
One of my dogs had explosive diarrhea in my rig. <snip> Rig has never smelled so nice.

FTFY. :lmao:

RedCreeper
09-21-2010, 03:46 PM
20917 (http://www.baconandmeat.com/bacon-air-freshener.htm)

20918 (http://www.mcphee.com/shop/products/Bacon-Floss.html)

20919 (http://www.perpetualkid.com/bacon-flavored-mints.aspx)

20920 (http://www.slashfood.com/2006/08/06/bacon-ice-cream-is-an-udder-delight/)

and i thought i goofed off during the day.... :beer:

Corbet
09-21-2010, 05:05 PM
Rub some mandle wax of your choice over the dash.

http://www.mandleco.com/

Sorry, couldn't resist the funny part of this thread.

Ok for the real response, febreeze it.

I'd like to know what the "swimsuit model" mandle smells like....

From my experience cleaning cars for the dealership.

Shampoo the carpet with a cleaner you like the smell of (pet cleaners are good for taking odors away). Frebreze actually works pretty well if you use a whole bottle. Make sure it dries completely and as quickly as possible to avoid mold. Then clean interior with something you like the smell of. I like the "BlueMagic" leather cleaner and conditioner. Available at WalMart.

nattybumppo
09-22-2010, 03:39 AM
The best smell mask I have found is to spill a bottle of Jack Daniels on the carpeting. Also fun to explain when you get stopped for that lifted suspension.

Hulk
09-22-2010, 10:52 AM
The best smell mask I have found is to spill a bottle of Jack Daniels on the carpeting. Also fun to explain when you get stopped for that lifted suspension.

I'm calling this "thread of the month." Explosive diarrhea and Jack Daniels: this thread has it all.

http://rustybrain.com/haha/lovethread3bequ7.jpg

leiniesred
09-22-2010, 03:03 PM
Sex Panther Cologne!



"...and it has real bits of panther in it; so you know it's good."

Corbet
09-22-2010, 03:38 PM
you know 50% of the time it works... every time

subzali
10-01-2010, 04:57 PM
Had a good day off today giving the Tundra a little love...

Last week I washed and waxed it; it's been over a year since I last waxed the whole thing and it needed it to hide some of the pinstripes I made this summer...:doh:

...Maybe next spring I'll take it in to have it gone over by some professionals :D

Anyway, today I vacuumed the interior, pulled everything out, including the floor mats, and used some Tuff Stuff carpet cleaner I got at O'Reilley's (Autozone carries it too), and let it all dry. It now smells clean on the interior, we'll see how long that lasts, but alas it's still not the smell I was searching for originally, and none of the cleaners that I took a look at quite had it, so the search is still on...

Put some Meguiar's Gold Class Leather Conditioner on the seats, need to keep working them to keep them soft and keep the cracking from getting worse.

Next I jacked the rear wheels off the ground, pulled the wheels off, and painted the drums because I saw they were a bit rusty and on this particular day it was bothering me. While I was waiting for the paint to dry, I took the wheels out to the hose and used some Meguiar's Hot Wheels All Wheel wheel cleaner. Had a couple stiff bristled brushes on me, and got A LOT of the road grime off of them, inside and out. I am very very pleased with this product, give it two enthusiastic thumbs up :thumb::thumb: It really shined up the wheels nice, and on alloy wheels you can get those brown spots, you know? All gone now. Awesome. Even though I'm not 100% crazy about the OEM wheel design for my Tundra, I like trying to care of it, not only to make it look better but to hopefully help it last longer. See the attached pic, on the spoke that's directly under the valve stem, the surface that's on top in the picture had a bunch of brown spots on it.

Anyway, next was the front wheels, where I also had to do a little touch-up painting on the frame and a-arm, so once that was done that felt good as well.

It took a while, but I finally got all that junk cleaned up and realized I had some time so I tried to tackle a final project for the day. Something in my suspension squeaks something fierce and I've been trying to nail it down. I thought it was the sway bar bushings, and I sprayed some silicone spray on them a while back and that seemed to help, but now the squeak is back. So I got under there again, thinking it was the sway bar bushings, and got them off and greased them again. But when I let the truck off the jackstands I found out that the squeak is still there. After a little more investigation I now think it is the a-arm bushings. I'm thinking I'll just leave that for a shop to take care of.

Now my truck is about ready for winter; I still have a piece of foam trying to blow out the heater vent on the driver's side, so I need to dig into that and glue it back where it needs to be. And then I need to do some stuff on the Corolla before it starts getting cold too...I'm finding it never ends with cars. I've spent two days in the last week just detailing the truck, and there is a list of mods and upgrades that I would like to address some day. Oh well a little bit at a time...and all the while I'm learning how to do some of this stuff I'm not really used to doing.

All in all a pleasing and relaxing day, though. Felt productive.

subzali
03-29-2012, 12:39 PM
Does it smell bad, like as if you have a 6 month old sippy cup full of milk under the seat?

Or do you just wish it had a nice smell?

Most cleaners and conditioners have a perfume/musk of some sort, so the PO probably just used something you liked. I hear the Zaino stuff smells good, although I've never used it. There used to be a store in Denver called Detailers Paradise (near Broadway and Evans), but I think they closed their doors and only do internet sales now. Unfortunately, you might just have to trying smelling the stuff at Checker, or see what the internets recommend.

I spilled 90 weight in the back of mine, and I can't kill that smell....:(

Got a package of Zaino Z9 and Z10 delivered today - popped them open and I still don't think it's what I'm looking for. I'm sure it'll be nice though.

Probably gonna have to break down and swing by the PO's house one of these days and ask him...

TonkaToy
03-29-2012, 02:10 PM
I didnt see mention of your cabin air filter. Did you replace it? Maybe shoot it the new filter with some 'smelly' stuff (febreeze works well too), before putting it in. I do that once a year in my 'cars'.....can't seem to find the cabin filter on my 73 FJ40!

TonkaToy
03-29-2012, 02:15 PM
also.....I learned this trick when I used to build custom sound systems, back when cars went boom.....there's some stuff you can buy called LectroMotive, (red can at autozone) it's actually drycleaning solution. If you have grease/oil spots on carpet or interior, hit with a shot of that and you'll be amazed how well it works! I always keep a can of that on hand.....

subzali
03-29-2012, 07:06 PM
Okay, so the Zaino stuff smells like a new leather couch at Sheplers - nice, but not that distinct smell of long ago. It's not as musky.

Tonka, no cabin air filter in a 2000 Tundra. Not sure when they started that. I know Land Cruisers were even hit-and-miss through 2006...an FJ40 definitely doesn't have such a thing :lmao:

And Febreze is not the smell I'm going for. I'm not sure how to describe what it is, but it's certainly not flowery and fresh. I guess I would put in a similar category as freshly cut lumber - it smells nice, but it's a manly smell :)

Corbet
03-29-2012, 07:26 PM
I'm not sure how to describe what it is, but it's certainly not flowery and fresh. I guess I would put in a similar category as freshly cut lumber - it smells nice, but it's a manly smell :)

Get a bag of cedar chips from the pet store and stash them under your seat?

subzali
03-29-2012, 09:40 PM
:D no, I'm not looking for a woody smell. I meant that the smell I'm looking for is closer to the smell of lumber, gun solvent and musky leather than it is to Febreze.

pmccumber
03-29-2012, 10:31 PM
Slather on some Brut and hop in.

Seriously though, I love pine. And that is pretty easy to get into the car. Even having the needles all over from te Christmas tree smells great.

Corbet
03-29-2012, 10:41 PM
I'm looking for a woody smell.

What?

Toyoland66
03-30-2012, 05:01 PM
Just clean and detail the interior.

Use 303 protectant on anything vinyl or plastic, use Zaino Z10 on the leather (smells like new leather)

Rezarf
03-31-2012, 11:59 AM
Matt, there is a "New Car Smell" fragrance that you can buy at nicer auto detail shops and stores... no lie, it does the trick.

subzali
12-04-2012, 03:48 PM
Anybody ever use anything like this? I guess this is what Drew was talking about in his post above:
Detailer's Pro Series Dual Action Odor Eliminator - Just Detailed:
http://www.autogeek.net/dp-odor-eliminator-jd.html

Detailer's Pro Series Dual Action Odor Eliminator - New Leather:
http://www.autogeek.net/dp-odor-eliminator-leather.html

Poorboy's World Air Freshener - Leather:
http://www.autogeek.net/poorboys-leather-air-freshener1.html

I doubt any of these is what I'm after, just curious. Maybe, but I doubt it. I have to believe the smell I'm looking for has more of a description than "new leather" or "just detailed". Not even sure "new car smell" is what I'm after. We'll see.

To consolidate:
-No Febreze
-No cedar chips
-No pine needles
-No Jack Daniels
-No Brut
-No Zaino
-No Maguires
-No Scotchguard
-No bar of soap
-No Axe, Old Spice, etc.

corsair23
12-04-2012, 03:55 PM
You didn't rule out Old Spice or Axe? :hill:

subzali
12-04-2012, 04:02 PM
Now I did :D

nakman
12-04-2012, 04:13 PM
Get a second job delivering pizzas. Or Chinese... pizza better though, IMO.

MDH33
12-06-2012, 12:07 PM
Just sprinkle some gasoline around in there, then at least it will have that familiar and alluring fj40 smell. ;)

wesintl
12-06-2012, 12:30 PM
a small packet of hops for beer does the trick.. cascade or fuggle

L43dean
12-14-2012, 09:43 PM
Too bad It's an auto tranny, cause you could just rip out the carpet and tear off the shifter boots. 90 wt. aroma and gear noise, Macho!!! Then you WEAR the leather!

Uncle Ben
12-14-2012, 11:36 PM
Have lunch in your car!

http://blog.compete.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Think-outside-the-bun.jpg

subzali
12-16-2012, 07:57 AM
digested beans, not so good of a smell...:(

loudbay
01-06-2013, 07:38 PM
I didn't read the entire thread, but one of my 60s used to be a crew truck for a snow plow team, and when I bought it there were drier sheets hidden everywhere. Despite winters full of sweat and wet and prob cigarettes, it doesn't smell bad at all!

PabloCruise
01-07-2013, 02:01 PM
To consolidate:
-No Febreze
-No cedar chips
-No pine needles
-No Jack Daniels
-No Brut
-No Zaino
-No Maguires
-No Scotchguard
-No bar of soap
-No Axe, Old Spice, etc.

Wow, very picky!

How about some gun cleaner mixed with Drakar? :)

loudbay
01-07-2013, 02:09 PM
mmmm.... hoppe's 9