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When you buy a new car, there’s almost nothing better than sitting in it and inhaling that sweet new car smell. It’s quite intoxicating and there’s really no other smell like it. So how can you keep your new car smelling like it even after years of use?

Keeping that new car smell mainly requires some basic care

A little tree air freshener hangs from a car's rearview mirror
A little tree air freshener hangs from a car’s rearview mirror. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In order to keep your new car smelling new, you mainly need to keep it clean. According to Family Handyman, that amazing smell that you’re smelling is created when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the sealants and adhesives used when manufacturing the car emit noxious gas into the cabin. Unfortunately, these VOCs are somewhat harmful to us, but they do dissipate over time.

In order to keep some of those VOCs smelling fresh, you can start with some of these basic care steps:

  • Vacuum regularly: Vacuum the seats and floor mats regularly. You may not know it, but crumbs, dead skin, and other dirt can create a stale odor in your car over time.
  • Clean the floor mats: Although they are on the floor, the floor mats accumulate dirt and debris quickly. You can keep rubber floor mats clean by hosing them down regularly and if you have carpeted floor mats, then a good vacuuming and a good scrub with an upholstery brush and water can do wonders.
  • Shampoo the seats: Clean the cloth seats with an upholstery cleaner like Resolve. If your car has leather seats, then a microfiber towel and leather treatment will work.
  • Clean out the vents: You can use a toothbrush and Armor All to clean out the vents and get rid of any stale odors. If the odor persists, then change the cabin filter.

While you may not be able to get your car to hold onto that new car scent forever, you can at least prolong it by following the steps listed above.

How to get the new car scent in your older car

If you have an older car and long for that new car scent, then there is a multitude of ways to freshen up your car’s cabin. If you check your local auto parts store, you’ll find a variety of air fresheners, surface wipes, and aerosol sprays to make your car smell fresh again. And while it may not be exactly like the “fresh from the factory” scent, some products come close.

For example, Meguiar’s makes new car scent protectant wipes that you can use on the dash, door panels, and center console. The Chemical Guys also have a combination spray pack for the plastics and leather in your car’s interior, which can make it smell relatively new again. Again, these cleaning products may not be exactly like the real thing, but they will definitely make the car smell better than stale odors and dog hair.

It is possible to maintain the new car’s scent

The Chemical Guys New Car Scent being sprayed into a car
The Chemical Guys New Car Scent is being sprayed into a car. | Chemical Guys/Amazon

While you might not be able to keep that original new car scent for the life of the car, you can at least use these methods to prolong it. On the bright side, when that smell finally goes away, at least you can still enjoy driving the car.


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