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2018 Acadia Denali with 12k miles.

I bought the vehicle new, and since then have observed a damp and somewhat chemical odor from the A/C system, usually on startup. I have had it in 3 times now, and I'm at my wits' end.

Some things the dealer service advisor told me:

  • We've seen many 2018 Acadias with the same problem
  • Yours is the worst we've come across
  • Moisture is accumulating in the A/C system and the smell is from mold
  • We don't know what causes it
  • We can't fix it
I was told on a previous visit that they reprogrammed the control module for "after blow" which is supposed to dry the system out -- but it doesn't. Furthermore, my question to them at that time was "why isn't it set that way from the factory?" Which, naturally, they could not answer. It had no effect on the issue.

This time, they tried to tell me that they "deep cleaned" the entire A/C system. Translation: they sprayed Lysol into the blower. I can smell it.

Before taking the car back, I insisted that they contact a GM field rep as I was not satisfied with the lack of a resolution. They claim that they went through every procedure that GM tech recommended for this issue. When I asked what EXACTLY they did? The answer: "We cleaned out the A/C system again."

I asked them how they, and GM, thought that it was acceptable to not address the issue properly, since they're the ones who told me there was mold in the system. I asked why it was considered OK for me to drive this vehicle with a known health hazard. Again, no answer.

I could have refused to take the car back, but I would have had to return the loaner anyway, so I just took it back so that I could have it under my possession while I figure out the next steps.

The only suggestion they could give was to manually switch the A/C into fresh air mode for "a couple miles" before shutting the car off and that "should" dry the system out. Ok, what? Seriously? It's not that I CAN'T do that, but I certainly should not have to. 99% of the time I leave the system on Auto. That's what Auto means. Automatic. As in, I don't have to intervene. Now they're telling me that the only way for the system to work PROPERLY is for me to override the Auto and take extra steps to work around an obvious design flaw? And GM can't/won't cop to this? By the way, this is EXACTLY WHAT THE AFTER BLOW IS SUPPOSED TO DO. They told me that the purpose of that function was to run the fan after the car is off to dry out any moisture. So why isn't it doing that? Again, no answer.

We live in the age of self-driving cars, yet somehow GM can't figure out how to tell the computer to do a few simple steps to fully dry out the A/C? Come on.

I searched the forum here and didn't see much on this issue, so is nobody else experiencing this? According to the service advisor, it's fairly common.

They say it's a common issue -- yet nobody thought that it's something that should actually be FIXED? I'm supposed to be OK with "well it happens to other people too, so therefore it's not really a problem"? I've owned numerous cars across many brands, and this is the first and only vehicle that I've had this problem with. But they expect me to accept their hand-waving as an answer?

I'm trying to figure out my recourse here. I do not consider this befitting of a $53,000 "premium" vehicle. Will there be anything gained by opening a case with GM corporate customer assistance? Do I have to hire a lawyer and pursue a lemon law claim? By the way, this vehicle has had NUMEROUS problems in its short 12,000 mile life, all of which are related to electronics/wiring.

What say you?
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