Being the Car Wash Guy is not easy, often you feel more like the Shell Answer man doing such a column. Indeed we get some crazy questions. Here is on question, which takes the cake as the most bizarre question of the month. A reader writes in to ask:
I had a vehicle cleaned in a car wash in Scottsdale Arizona and it was said that they put a tablet as a fresher on the carpet on the drivers side of my car. Well, as it turned out the air conditioner blew a chlorine smell that burned my eyes and nose and made me cough until I left the vehicle.
I took it to the Ford Dealership and the service manager and the mechanic both said that at first it smelled like carpet cleaner. But as the air conditioner ran it smelled more like a chlorine tablet used to clean toilets something with a chlorine smell. Have you ever heard of a car wash anywhere putting a chlorine tablet as a freshner in a vehicle?
I am gathering information so that I can take this to court. I have not had the ability to contact the car wash because my ex-husband is the one who had the vehicle cleaned before handing it over to me in a trade from a court order. I received the Ford truck and he received the Lexus from me. I did detail the Lexus at the Lexus dealer and they have never heard of anything like this. We traded at the mechanics shop so that I could have them change the oil for a drive from Phoenix to Seattle where I now live. My ex-husband did tell his lawyer that the car wash put the tablet on the carpet on the driver’s side. I saw no evidence of that. Apparently he saw them do it. My mechanic took the vehicle from my ex I did not drive it or get in it. The mechanic did find the smell while checking the air conditioning. When we turned on the heater there was no smell at all! Really! So strange; If you have any experience or may help me with an experience like this I would really appreciate it.
Bizarre indeed. Some car washes use small tablets to put in their reclaim tanks. Usually not chlorine, perhaps something else; perhaps a worker mistook the tablets? I doubt this is the cause however. Does not sound legit. Sometimes people have stuff under their seats and for instance a Pool Chlorine gallon container had leaked and the carpet extractor pulled the dried chlorine to the surface of the carpet and the circulating air sent it through the car. Also doubt this. The car before you had terrible stains from animals in the carpets and no one cleaned out the carpet extractor tanks, possible, but generally an operator using it would smell it and then clean it out, as it would affect them too and be very difficult to work with. Possible, but not probable.
Scottsdale water has had to use Chlorine flush due to the floods in Mesa, to make sure it stays safe, if water during the non-rinse cycle leaked into the ventilation duct during the wash and stayed stagnant in a pool inside; it might have rested there until you turned on your car? This could be your issue due to a leak in the plastic duct and also you will need to make sure the dealer fixes this to prevent CO2 from getting in because gas is less dense than water emulsified chlorine. Possible, but the fumes reaching the point of such a problem does not make sense.
Someone got angry and did this to you? Could be but not a car wash; Doubtful too elaborate a scheme for a car wash. Someone cleaned the vent with Windex style cleaner or used a wheel acid on the interior cleaning the vents. This can happen with new employees or miss labeled bottles in the detailing section of the car wash? If it was from the car wash this is a possible explanation. Generally something like this would have to be simple. It is important that you watch your eyes and prevent permanent damage to them, be smart about that. Some people are very sensitive to air fresheners and they make those little disk shaped units but car washes do not use them, we never have, they cost too much. Most even wholesale cost $ .75 or more; not cost effective for a car wash. Those are for home use or to get rid of moisture in closets? Maybe the carpet extractor had a problem and put too much water in the cab and they could not get rid of the moisture and used one, if so; what a bunch of bozos.
Yucca trees in bloom tend to give off a very fine pollination, which can screw up your eyes and turn them red and make you look like a zombie, which could have clogged the filters in your air conditioning system. You should change them out. See if you have yucca trees near your property, with all the rains there the desert was alive and now it will start drying out.
Do not turn on the air-conditioning system until you have had it cleaned out, fumes could cause dizziness or unconsciousness and with the traffic in Scottsdale that is a deadly proposition?
Car Washes do not use chlorine tablets inside cars? I cannot imagine that, but it could be possible to try to alleviate cat urine or some crazy thing in the car that someone was trying to hide? Cannot say what, still I doubt all these scenarios, anything is possible, but none sound probable.
Sounds like something out of one of those detective novels to me. Or some bizarre thing a meth lab would try to get rid of evidence or a criminal might use to clean a crime scene. I bet there is more to this? But I doubt it is a car wash issue? Interesting one. Hey since I have a mind for solving problems keep me posted, good one.
Most spy novels I read would have the chlorine tablet under the car leaking through. But someone could have figured that under the seat in the heat would melt it? Sounds like a dumb criminal of the week or the car wash from hell? No one would use a chlorine tablet as freshener? Keep the bizarre stories coming that is quite entertaining indeed. If you have a car wash question, ask the Car Wash Guy.