Ford Patents a Way to Get Rid of 'New Car Smell'

Sebastien Bell
by Sebastien Bell
2019 Ford Mustang Interior

Last year, Ford announced that it had hired 18 scientists in China to determine the causes of new car smell. The Golden Noses, as they were dubbed, were looking into the smell largely because Chinese buyers, unlike Americans, find the smell objectionable.

Now Ford has released a patent outlining a process for getting rid of the smell in its new cars. The process takes advantage of the long-observed fact that the sun’s heat can make new cars smell, well, newer.

Basically, the process involves heating up the car or “baking” it, as per the patent’s language. That can happen by parking it in the sun or by turning it on and running the heater, and then cracking a window to let the volatile organic compounds—the compounds known as VOCs that cause new car smell—out.

ALSO SEE: Toyota Patents System to Unload Boats Easier

Ford has even developed a computer system that, based on the research the company has done, will determine how likely a car is to smell, whether or not the customer it’s going to wants new car smell, and can then open the windows, activate the heater, the fan, and even turn the car on if need be.

Although Ford may be looking into this because of customer complaints in China, the patent we found is being processed by the US Patent Office. That could be because this isn’t just a question of preferences.

New car smell happens as a cocktail of chemical compounds (largely used as preservatives in materials) found about the car (leathers, plastics, fabrics, etc) are released as VOCs. These, unfortunately, can be bad for your health. They can cause headaches, dizziness, or even cancer in extreme cases (but you’d likely have to be huffing new cars for it to get that bad). The good news is that as the smell fades, so does the outgassing of VOCs.

So Ford’s patent isn’t just Febreezing the smell (and the danger), it’s getting rid of it. So even if you miss the smell, you probably shouldn’t mind it being gone.


Sebastien Bell
Sebastien Bell

Sebastien is a roving reporter who covers Euros, domestics, and all things enthusiast. He has been writing about the automotive industry for four years and obsessed with it his whole life. He studied English at the Wilfrid Laurier University. Sebastien also edits for AutoGuide's sister sites VW Vortex, Fourtitude, Swedespeed, GM Inside News, All Ford Mustangs, and more.

More by Sebastien Bell

Join the conversation
  • Mo Momtaz Mo Momtaz on Nov 09, 2018

    I have it's a fresh fart in new Found On Road Dead car....haha

  • ImUrOBGYN . ImUrOBGYN . on Nov 13, 2018

    Can you patent the process of getting rid of "new car smell" by simply no longer offering new cars?