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It is in the headrest covers. If you take the covers off and clean them it might help. You may also see some chemical on them, clean that off..it stinks!
 

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Is yours also a limited? What color interior?
Update as Jul 2020: my car is a limited and beige interior. I took it to the dealership and left it overnight with them. The next morning I was at the door at opening time for the service manager and I could open it together. The odor was so rancid that he even said that’s horrible. He said there wasn’t anything the company can do about it because there wasn’t a “technical bulletin” put out on what to do. Until this entire community complains loudly to the General home office, I am sure they are going to ignore it. He also said they haven’t had anyone complain about this at their edmond dealership. I think they need to change their seat material. Now I will write the corporate office with a trouble ticket.
 

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Update as Jul 2020: my car is a limited and beige interior. I took it to the dealership and left it overnight with them. The next morning I was at the door at opening time for the service manager and I could open it together. The odor was so rancid that he even said that’s horrible. He said there wasn’t anything the company can do about it because there wasn’t a “technical bulletin” put out on what to do. Until this entire community complains loudly to the General home office, I am sure they are going to ignore it. He also said they haven’t had anyone complain about this at their edmond dealership. I think they need to change their seat material. Now I will write the corporate office with a trouble ticket.
Do you have an address. I would like to write a complaint as well. I keep calling and leaving voice mails
 

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New owner here. Just wanted to share with you what I posted #22 under Owners of Limited's with Nappa Leather Beige Interiors. Have to smelly issue also. Called dealer and made an appointment with service department and than called Hyundai Customer Care at 1.800.633.5151 to establish a report and to get a Case Number and to follow up with then after my service appointment. Dealers service department validated my concern with the smell and said they would notify Hyundai for guidance. I followed up with Hyundai Care Center the day after my appointment to let them know what the dealer did. The service manager also told me to check back with them the following week. I called the service department on the 15th of July and they told me they were ordering new headrests and would notify me when they come in.
Will update this post with the results are in.
 

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Here is my experience with addressing to corporate. We were sent to the dealership where we bought the car, despite already taking and validating the smell with the dealership nearby. Dealership (where we bought) basically told us that this is how a new car smells and it will fade away. We have owned many new cars, two from Hyundai itself in the past and none smelled this way. This is our third new car purchase from Hyundai and I am dissapointed that they don't even want to acknowledge it. Some solution from the company would help many of us. I still hope Hyundai will do the right thing and at least look into this problem.
 

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The dealership should be way more helpful, but as already stated, the 1-800 customer service route should help.
 

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Ok folks. Dealer got in 4 new headrests and were waiting for the rest to call me. I called them and found out they had them. I asked the service writer to go smell them and save me a trip if they smell. He had a hard time smelling my current ones but he called me and said these smell MUCH worse than mine. Same odor just much more intense. So...he said he has no idea what comes next other than engaging some regional folks, warranty specialists, and maybe corporate. They will try to figure something out. I told them what I have read in this forum but told him I should not have to go through all that trouble. I'd like them to do it. In case they screw something up, they'll fix it. I have been known to ruin and break stuff not even trying. I'll update everyone when I hear next steps. Saga continues. Just gives me reason to keep the mask on when driving.
 

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Ok folks. Dealer got in 4 new headrests and were waiting for the rest to call me. I called them and found out they had them. I asked the service writer to go smell them and save me a trip if they smell. He had a hard time smelling my current ones but he called me and said these smell MUCH worse than mine. Same odor just much more intense. So...he said he has no idea what comes next other than engaging some regional folks, warranty specialists, and maybe corporate. They will try to figure something out. I told them what I have read in this forum but told him I should not have to go through all that trouble. I'd like them to do it. In case they screw something up, they'll fix it. I have been known to ruin and break stuff not even trying. I'll update everyone when I hear next steps. Saga continues. Just gives me reason to keep the mask on when driving.
Thanks for the info. That is a pretty disheartening that brand new headrests also have the smell. Sounds like a sourcing issue for the headrests and that will take a lot of legwork for Hyundai to fix and make right.
 

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I purchased my Palisade Limited Trim with black interior in August 2020. Instead of having a new car smell, the interior has an unpleasant odor, the source of which I am unable to determine. I have checked for leaks, mold, etc. to no avail. I had initially attributed the odor to the fact that the car had only recently arrived in country and had been wrapped in protective covering during transport. However, it has now been months and the odor persists. Due to the weather and driving conditions since purchasing the Palisade, I have not had opportunities to give it a good airing out. Is anyone else experienced this unpleasant odor issue?
I test drove most with beige interior and noticed new car smell in most. Purchased a silver with black interior and it has a different smell (not new car) even my 16 year old said upon first time in car, "What is that smell"?
Again, it is NOT new car smell for sure--but the smell is not offensive to me--might be more dye used in black seats?
I do not have an ammonia smell or dirty sock smell--it is just sort of a strong, strange leather smell.
 

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It is in the headrest covers. If you take the covers off and clean them it might help. You may also see some chemical on them, clean that off..it stinks!
You are right. Today left the car under 100 degree heat for a while and after that took one of the headrests and unclipped it. I regreted it immidiately, cuz inside smelled very bad, nauseating almost. Hate it... :( 50k car and have to deal with this [email protected]
 

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Ya'll are wasting your time talking about headrests. I have a 2 month old 2020 Santa Fe that stinks, and I have been back and forth with Hyundai for more than a month on this. If you search the Internet you will find that there are a ton of Elantra owners with this problem. I've had my car in twice and I've had a ticket open with Corporate Hyundai which they closed after telling me earlier this week that they had asked my dealer to order a mold test kit. I will tell you that at no time has Corporate Hyundai Customer Care acknowledged that they are familiar with this issue. (But if you read the forums at carguru and other places, you know they known darn well that there is a problem with many of their models having a toxic smell that will not go away, even after they shampoo, ion clean, change your cabin filters, blow out your vents, etc.). Sad to inform you, but there are people who have reported living with this toxic smell for over a year already without it dissipating in the slightest. My dealership is Fitzgerald Hyundai in Gaithersburg, MD. Both the salesperson and the Assistant Service Manager lie through their teeth and tell me that they don't smell a thing. Seriously? (Of course, their service department also wrote up the last ticket saying that they thoroughly checked my floor mats -- haha, too bad my floor mats and cargo mat were sealed in a plastic bag in my basement while I was ruling out that they might be a cause of the stench (they weren't).) I am really not happy that I am paying off a $30K loan on a car that is probably giving me cancer when I'm in it, a car that my daughter will not let my grandchildren ride in because it reeks so badly, and that my internet searches show that Hyundai has no intention of doing anything about this problem, and that this smell will NEVER go away. What I'm interested to hear about is if anyone knows of any class action lawsuits that are out there, or if anyone has actually had this problem completely resolved.
 

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Agreed, why should we have this much work after paying 50k for a pilot vehicle
What is sad is that after so many cases, company didn't put out some sort of a solution bulletin, so dealers could follow and help all of us. Very sad... instead dealer told me that this a new car smell, common do you think we are stupid??
 

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Ok, I’m really curious now! Is anyone in the Bay Area peninsula area so I could smell this for myself??
I‘m a member of a lot of car forums and have been for over 18 years. This by far is my favorite post in years.

Hey forum members - who lives in the Bay Area that wouldn’t mind me smelling your seats. LOL
 

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Ok, I’m really curious now! Is anyone in the Bay Area peninsula area so I could smell this for myself??
friends, neighbors and family who have smelled my car have mostly come up with different descriptions: mildew, chemical, mold, dead animal, woodsy.... and I smell it loud and strong whenever I open my car door, yet if I squish a stinkbug, I don't smell anything :)
 

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Has anyone tried replacing headrests with aftermarket ones? And if yes, did it help?
I'm the Santa Fe owner with this problem. Can I ask if anyone removed their headrests from the vehicle and put them in a plastic trash bag for a few days? If it really is the headrests, then the smell in the car would go away and when you opened the plastic bag, you'd be knocked over by the odor. Just curious because I tried this with all my floor and cargo mats--didn't make any difference, and didn't smell in the plastic bag they lived in for a week.
 

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Right now I'm trying various things recommended to me in forums. Today was the second day I parked the car in the driveway for 5 hours with the windows down in the 94 degree heat with the sun beating down. I'll continue this all week. When I pulled it into the garage, I put 3 1-lb net bags of activated charcoal in the car (front, back and cargo area) and closed all the windows. Tomorrow I'm going to take it out for a drive with the A/C blasting, park it in the garage, and after an hour check to see if there's a puddle under it (if not that might prove that there's a problem with the way the hoses are installed and they are growing mold). The dealer is supposed to call this week when they have a mold test kit (which is what corporate asked them to get), and beyond that I'm going to ask Corporate to pay the cost for me to take it to a detailer to have an ionizer run (I don't trust the clowns at the dealership to do this properly, they'd be more likey to say they did it and didn't). Has anyone else heard of other possible fixes?
 
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