2014 Kia Cadenza: Stink Removal
October 14, 2014
Apparently, I have a heightened sense of smell. As a supertaster, perhaps that makes sense, as smell accounts for about 70% of taste. Many times I'll notice something wafting through the air before those around me. Yup, I can sense a lactose-intolerant field mouse from 100 paces. What does this have to do with our long-term 2014 Kia Cadenza, you ask?
The Cadenza has an interior odor. It's a bit like you're in a clean public restroom, but a public restroom nonetheless. It's subtle and I acclimate to it within a few seconds and won't smell it after that. It's really noticeable if the car is sitting out in the hot sun and you just open the door. It's so subtle that some people on staff don't even smell it.
This gave me a great opportunity to use something I received from Meguiar's: the Whole Car Air Re-Freshener (I've been asked to refrain from calling it a car bomb). Judging from the scratch-n-sniff tab on the packaging, it had a light and clean smell that wasn't overly perfumed. I liken it to the bachelor's dry cleaner, otherwise known as Febreze.
According to the directions, which I followed, I closed all the windows, opened up all the vents, turned the HVAC fan to maximum and set it to recirculate the air. For good measure, I also turned on the ventilated front seats and opened the rear seat trunk pass-through. I placed the small can on the center hump behind the front seats, hit the trigger and shut the doors. I also managed to snap a quick picture before I shut the door.
The cabin filled with a Jeff Spicoli-like fog in a few seconds and I let the car sit like that for 15 minutes. At that point I opened all the doors to let it air out for another 15 minutes. As I expected, the smell was a little overpowering, so I continued ventilating the cabin for another couple of hours.
The next morning, the Re-Freshener scent was definitely noticeable, but not at all overpowering. I drove most of the way into the office with the windows up, then decided to open the windows just in case my colleagues find it too strong. In any case, the original offending odor was gone. Depending on how it's received by the rest of the staff, I might try some more on the Nissan Rogue and Jeep Cherokee, which seem to have unanimous votes for being stinky.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 16,700 Miles