Why Does My Car Smell Like Fish?

The last thing you want in your car is an overpowering fishy odor. However, there are a number of causes that you might find it challenging to pinpoint.

Therefore, you must get rid of your car’s foul smell for a comfortable drive. But how? Let’s find out with CarMats the reason why the car has a fishy smell in more detail in the article below!

Why Does My Car Smell Like Fish?

Dead Animal In Your Car’s Blower Motor

Both the smell and the mental images that dead fish evokes are unpleasant. Unfortunately, a dead animal stuck in your blower motor could be the source of the offensive odor.

By doing that, the creature may have entered your car during the night in search of warmth and shelter, only to be destroyed when the engine was started.

It’s obviously a terrible cleanup job. The only option, however, is to get rid of the smell before it gets so bad that it permeates the car’s upholstery.

There Is Mold Build-Up

In cars, fish smells can sometimes be stronger near the air vents than electrical smells.

In this case, the problem may be caused by a layer of mold that has developed within the warm, dark, moist vent system. Check your ducts to see if this is the case.

Of course, you can perform a thorough cleaning to get rid of the nasty smell and dangerous chemicals from your car if mold is present.

Also, think about putting a dehumidifier in your ventilation system to stop mold from growing and to reduce the amount of moisture in the air, which will stop smells like this from coming back.

Electrical Components Overheating

In a perfect world, electrical components, like the cable wiring in your car, would be able to withstand overheating.

But if the insulation is broken or if a broken breaker causes electrical surges in the wires, the heat from the electricity could melt plastic and cause a bad smell.

Microorganisms And Bacterial Growth

Bacteria in the AC system may be the main reason for the smell coming from your car. Having said that, bacteria in your car could produce rotten-egg, fishy, musty, or gassy odors.

As your car gets older, bacteria, fungi, and mildew inevitably grow.

Bacteria and other microorganisms tend to grow in large numbers on the evaporator on the back of your dashboard.

Therefore, the growth releases a bad odor when you turn on the air conditioning in your car. Similar to this, if you don’t use your car for a while, bacteria might start to accumulate in it.

Also, since the air conditioner leaks extra water, using it often and keeping it on its highest setting makes it easier for mold, germs, and microorganisms to grow.

Coolant Leakage

Because of the coolant leak, there is a fishy smell when the heater is on. Antifreeze can also leak into your car’s heating system and have a fishy odor.

Typically, it will leak out through the radiator’s heater core, with the stench being expelled by the blower. It might, however, have escaped for a number of reasons.

However, anything from a malfunctioning hose to a worn-out clamp could be to blame for this.

Rotting Food

Food is frequently left in cars, either on purpose or by accident. Unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t aware of how dangerous it can be.

As a result, the temperature inside the car might rise quickly, which would make it easy for the food to spoil and rot.

As a result, after a few days, the food inside will start to go bad and release a fishy smell. It may also attract animals, some of which may die inside and add to the bad odors.

Carpet Stain

Someone who recently went fishing or purchased seafood could be the source. Of course, you must first check your carpets for any stains that might be the cause of the odor.

Fresh fish and other seafood odors can typically be very overpowering, especially if your carpet has dried leak residue.

As you might expect, if you don’t clean up a dry stain, it can give off a strong smell, especially if the heating or cooling system is open.


A possible dead animal in your air vent is the cause of the fishy odor in your car. Your blower will have a fishy smell when you first open it.

In addition, heated plastic wires from overheating electrical components can give your car a fishy odor.

Read more:

Why does my car smell like a skunk?

How To Get Rid Of Rotten Meat Smell In Car?