We’ve all found ourselves there, riding in a car reeking of a smell that tickles your nose in not-so-pleasant ways. Or worse, we’ve found ourselves as the owners of said car, looking for a cure to what we hope isn’t a permanent scent. Take for example my new-to-me Stormtrooper 4Runner, which upon purchase had some kind smell that was seemingly soaked into the leather, carpet, and plastic that makes up the interior; while it wasn’t bad enough to qualify as painful, the smell was certainly irksome and in need of attention before I truly started to spend road-trip levels of time in the vehicle.
Luckily, Meguiar’s has a remedy with their Whole Car Air Re-Fresher Odor Eliminator. The product claims to remove odors and unwanted scents from tough-to-reach spots and the more open areas alike, in turn leaving the interior of your car smelling fresh and free of that unwanted funk. Does it function as intended and advertised? Read on to see if the product’s claim are supported by its functionality.
Full disclosure: Meguiar’s wanted me to test their Whole Car Air Re-Fresher so badly that they sent me a sample can for use on the the Stormtrooper 4Runner. Happily, I gave it a shot to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be.
Upon purchase the 4Runner still had one of the generic vent-mounted “scent improvers,” which was likely utilized in hopes of making the cabin smell of vanilla rather than of the scents associated with off-roading (mud; dirt) as well as with those of a ten-plus-year-old interior. The vent-scent thing worked…not so great. It didn’t smell terrible by any means, but it certainly wasn’t inviting. To help with this I enlisted the Meguiar’s Air Re-Fresher, looking for it to leave the interior smelling delightfully pleasant. Having had good luck with Meguiar’s products in the past, I went in with high hopes.
The Air Re-Fresher is a one-time use item, and comes with simple packaging and instructions. It is, without question, extraordinarily easy to use. You begin by vacuuming the interior of your vehicle to rid it of any possible odor sources, and then remove any miscellaneous items that don’t need to be in there. Next you start the vehicle and select the highest HVAC fan speed, setting it to recirculation. Now it’s time to set the Meguiar’s product to work. Use of the Air Re-Fresher is as easy as popping off the cap and pushing the lever down far enough so that it locks, and then placing it in the center of the vehicle (which they suggest as the floor between the front and rear seats, of course contingent on your vehicle actually having rear seats). After that you close the doors, and let it go to work. Fifteen minutes later you shut the vehicle off and open all the doors so the interior can breathe. Simple as that. No fuss, no manual labor, no headache. It’s as simple as simple gets.
The key to the Air Re-Fresher is that it uses the HVAC system to push it through the vent channels while simultaneously setting into the carpets and headliner. Ultimately, the product would be nothing if it couldn’t back up its claims with functionality and ability to improve the smell of one’s vehicle. After letting the Air Re-Fresher do its job I can report that it works, and quite well at that. The interior of my 4Runner went from smelling questionable to genuinely fresh and clean, in the process making it a much more pleasant place to be. It’s not so strong a smell that it’s overpowering, though admittedly the 4R is a large truck and has a lot of space for the spray to spread. That being said, it has a good scent to it and is a nice way to rejuvenate the interior.
The bottom line is that the Meguiar’s Whole Car Air Re-Fresher is exceptionally easy to use, does exactly what it advertises, doesn’t need to be re-applied, and requires only a half-hour-ish time investment. It’s as simple a way to create long-lasting positive effects as I can imagine, and for that it’s a worthy way to spend money should you want (or need) to make your car’s interior smell better.