At this time of year getting in the car for the early morning commute is an even more unpleasant affair. Aside from clearing the car of frost on the outside, often we’re greeted with condensation and musty smells on the inside. Trying to clear a windscreen of ice when it’s on the inside and de-icer isn’t an option is particularly tiresome.
Moisture has an unfortunate ability to be able to find a way past door and boot seals, particularly in older vehicles. Dampness and mould growth is a surefire way to ruin the upholstery of a car, so it’s something that should be dealt with. We’ve had this problem in our ’07 Ford Fiesta for a number of years and even a couple of expensive trips to the local garage hasn’t been able to pin down the cause, so I don’t recommend that you try the same.
Thankfully we have now been able to largely dry-out the car interior using a couple of products that we’ll go into below.
Moisture Absorption Products For Cars
There are actually two methods for drying out your car’s interior. It can be done through an electronic dehumidifier that runs from your 12V cigarette lighter plug (more on those below), or through moisture absorbers, which you may also hear referred to as ‘moisture traps’.
We use these moisture traps and they work surprisingly well. Apparently they hold 125ml of water and I’ve tested this by weighing ours when it’s dried out and full and it is about 100g heavier when full, so this claim seems to be accurate. They’re dried out with a quick blast in the microwave and so are reusable. They change colour from orange to clear, so it’s obvious when it could do with a ‘recharge’.
We also use these very popular disposable moisture traps in our Vauxhall Corsa, and being so cheap we don’t mind throwing them away after they’ve collected the water. These collect much more water that the reusable trap above, I’d guess at least 300ml but I haven’t measured this.
Dehumidifiers For Cars
Of course if you’re careful and have a decent-sized boot to stand it in, some people just buy a standard dehumidifier for the home and use an extension cable to run it in the car. You’d need to make sure that the interior of the car was relatively sealed for it to work, but I’ve heard reports of this working well. Disclaimer: We do not recommend this as it could represent a significant fire risk.
There are also dehumidifiers that run from the 12V power outlet (cigarette lighter) in your car. By far the most popular of these is this dehumidifier, which comes with the relevant power adapter already supplied. The problem with these is that clearly the car will need to be running for it to work, but when they are working they’ll strip humidity from the air much faster than any moisture trap.
Conclusion – removing moisture from your car is both relatively simple and cheap
While condensation, mould and musty smells in the car is a chronic pain that is very difficult to be rid of completely, the problem can be mitigated by using one or more of the relatively cheap gadgets listed above. Good luck with tackling the problem!
Reference: Ready AutoGlass & Windshield Repair.