Piston Slap: My Wife's Funky Ride?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap my wifes funky ride

Paul writes:

Sajeev –

My wife has a 2009 CRV EX-L with a bit over 100,000 miles on it. Its a great car in great condition and seems to have quite a bit of life left in it. Lots of highway miles in a short period of time have been easy on it. But there are two issues:

1) Every time I get in it I smell a very strong musty odor.


2) My wife swears it doesn’t exist.

I have done all of the typical things (shampooed carpets, wiped down the interior, changed cabin air filters) but they only seem to last a few days before it returns. My two issues really lead to two separate questions. First, anything else I can do? Second, should I even bother doing anything? It doesn’t bother her and we typically take my car when we go somewhere together. I am not sure the marital strife that comes from a perceived judgement of how she keeps her car is worth trying to solve something doesn’t bother the main driver.

Thanks for your time.

Sajeev answers:

Yes, perhaps a husband shouldn’t imply his wife is a magnet for funky smells. That’s probably not the right move, unless your accusations include dancing to P-funk. Listen to me: I totally “get” women. They have no problem when a man accuses them of being smelly/filthy if you know how to shake ‘yo thang at the same time.

And when she kicks you out of the house, do something about that problem in the garage.

Pull the seats, the console, etc and yank the carpet: reinstall the seats and let your wife bring on the funk while you experiment. Flip the rug upside down, soak the padding in Fabreeze (or similar) and air dry for several days. Or throw out the padding, air dry and see if the CRV’s interior is nicer after being carpet free for a few days. If the smell is isolated to the carpet but you have no faith in your repair, consider replacing via the local junkyard, LKQ (or similar) online, or the aftermarket. That might be $100-300 well spent.

If the carpet isn’t the problem, maybe the seats are soaking in something more foul than fun-kay? If so, you got bigger problems. Ditto the possible funk in the HVAC box, which can be fixed without disassembling the dashboard.

But I will remain positive and hope it’s just something spilled on the carpet that went deep into the padding. Off to you, Best and Brightest!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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  • ToolGuy 404 error on the product link. Which probably isn't terrific marketing on TTAC's part. https://thinkwarestore.com/product/f200-pro-ca
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  • ToolGuy Oh and this.
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