Why Do VW Smell Like Crayons? Common Reasons and Best Fixes

Why do VW smell like crayons is one question you’ll find new Volkswagen owners asking after their purchase. The reasons could be melting wax and reaction to heat.

VW Smell Like Crayons

This article provides more reasons why VW cars smell like crayons and how to fix the issue.

Why Does Your Volkswagen Smell Like Crayons?

Your Volkswagen smells like crayons because of various reasons, including melting wax, odor from insulation coating, and reaction from heat and sunlight. This crayon odor can also occur whenever you use wax spray on the interior or exterior of your Volkswagen.

  • Odor From Melting Wax

Melting wax is the most common cause of crayon odors in Volkswagen vehicles. Wax is always used in the production process of a vehicle, as it provides protection and makes for a nice finish. Most vehicle manufacturers use a type of wax called carnauba wax. However, Volkswagen cars use paraffin wax, a petroleum product also used to manufacture crayons.

The paraffin wax melts when subjected to very high temperatures, and as it does so, it releases the distinctive smell of crayon. Paraffin wax is always used in the undercarriage of Volkswagen motors. The temperatures underneath your VW can go high on hot days or after a long ride, causing the wax to melt. If your vehicle’s wax is melting, it’ll give off a very strong crayon scent, and you’ll also find dirt stuck in the melted wax in the undercarriage of your vehicle.

  • Insulation Coating

Insulation coating in your car may also be responsible for the crayon odor. Insulation coatings in cars protect against rust and also protect against heat. These coatings are used in several parts of a vehicle, including the floor pan, firewall, and other internal vehicle surfaces. In Volkswagen motors, the insulation coating used is a paraffin wax coating.

Causes of Bad Smell in VW

Since the insulation coating is made from paraffin wax, it will naturally cause the interior of your Volkswagen car to smell like crayons. You can always confirm what material your car’s insulation coating is made of by removing the carpet covering the floor or underside of your car roof and inspecting the material or observing its smell.

  • Reaction to Heat and Sunlight

Reaction to heat and sunlight can also cause your Volkswagen car to smell like crayons. Most times, the paraffin wax used in a car may not be potent, and it may not create a strong smell unless it is exposed to heat or extreme sunlight.

Paraffin wax is very vulnerable to heat and even melts at 150°F. During the summer or when driving in hot climates, your Volkswagen car will always smell like crayons, even if you don’t find any wax melting.
  • Thermoplastic Adhesives

Thermoplastic adhesives can also be the reason for the crayon odor noticed in your car. Adhesives are a core necessity in car manufacturing, as they help create joints and fix certain parts in place. Adhesives are used in fixing AC pipes, bumpers, back doors, lamps, glass roofs, and dash panels.

Thermoplastic adhesives are hot-melt adhesives (HMAs). They are applied in their molten state and solidify upon cooling, forming a strong bond.
Thermoplastic adhesives are highly utilized in the automobile industry because they are environmentally friendly and effective. However, they smell like crayons. Depending on how much thermoplastic adhesive your car manufacturer uses, your car will always smell of crayons.

  • Use Spray Wax

Spray wax can also be the cause of the crayon odor coming from your car. Waxing or polishing is done to give a car paint job a nice shine and finish. Different base materials are used to manufacture spray wax used for polishing. Some are carnauba wax-based, but others are paraffin wax-based.

If you use a paraffin wax-based spray, your car exterior will mostly smell like crayons, especially under the sun. Some vehicle owners and mechanics also apply a special wax spray in car interiors to fight off rust and trapped moisture. These waxes can also cause the smell.

How To Get Rid of the Crayon Smell in Your Volkswagen

To get rid of the crayon smell in your Volkswagen, you can either change the wax coating, change the insulation material, or wipe your car surface with a cleaning agent like baking soda. You can also use an ozone car plugin or odor spray to eliminate the smell.

  • Change the Wax Coating

Changing the wax coating is the most effective and recommended way to eliminate crayon odors in Volkswagen motors. First, you have to remove the pre-installed paraffin wax coating. To get the wax coating off your VW, you’ll need a mild detergent and water. Make a detergent solution and scrub your car with the help of a sponge.

Get Rid of the Crayon Smell

Afterward, rinse off with clean water. If your car has a vinyl top, don’t use a sponge. Use a soft cloth instead to avoid scratching it. After rinsing, ensure to dry with a clean towel.
After removing the wax coating, apply another one in its place. Remember, wax coatings are vital to prevent rusting, so you shouldn’t leave your car surface bare. However, ensure you go for other forms of protective coating, like carnauba wax.

  • Check for Paraffin Wax Under Your Car and Carpet

The two places you’d mostly find paraffin wax in VW cars are the undercarriage of the car and beneath the floor carpet. You can also find it in your VW’s door panels. If the smell is stronger in any of these areas, then you can be sure paraffin wax was used heavily.

Once you remove the paraffin wax in these areas, the crayon odor will disappear. However, remember to replace the wax with a rubberized coating spray (for your vehicle’s underside) or any other effective rust protection product.

  • Install an Ozone Car Plugin

Installing an ozone car plugin can effectively remove the crayon odor from your VW, so you’ll never again have to ask, “Why do VW smell like crayons?” Ozone plugins are special devices that can eliminate cigarette smells and smoke from your car. These plugins generate ozone, a form of oxygen.

This ozone reacts with the gas molecules causing the bad smell, and neutralizes them. Ozone car plugins are available in car parts stores or online. Their prices range from $28 to $50. To use this device, simply plug it into the compartment where your car charger fits.

When using an ozone plugin, remember that it is most effective when the windows are closed. This is why it isn’t advisable to use this tool while driving. Rather, put it on for a few minutes with every door and window shut, then drive your vehicle with all the windows open to allow for a constant supply of fresh air.

  • Use Duct Tape

Duct tape can be a good substitute for an ozone plugin. Duck tapes are adhesive tapes made from PVC and are often used for repairs. They are very durable and have a strong odor. You can use this odor to neutralize the smell of crayons coming from your car.

All you have to do is cut off some duct tape and place it in the areas where the bad odor seems stronger. You may have to leave the duct tape in place for several days so it can remove the smell completely. Also, put some duct tape over your car’s air vent so that it can spread faster.

  • Use Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)

Baking soda can come in handy when removing paraffin wax coating. The advantage of using this over regular soap and water is that it can naturally absorb bad smells. You can use a baking soda and water solution to scrub your car interior (and exterior if necessary).

Alternatively, you can place a concentrated baking soda solution in a bowl and let it sit in your car for about four to five hours. The baking soda solution will absorb all odors in your car. Adding some drops of essential oil into the baking soda solution can also give your car interior a pleasant smell.

  • Use an Air Freshener Spray

An air freshener spray is a cheap way to eliminate the crayon odor in your Volkswagen car. Simply buy one from any car parts shop near you and spray it all over your vehicle’s interior before driving. The spray will give fragrance to your vehicle while canceling out the bad smell.

One of the most effective and widely used car air freshener sprays amongst vehicle owners is Febreze. However, any good air freshener will do.

  • Open Your Car Windows for Aeration

Opening your car windows while driving will cause fresh air to enter your car, eliminating any bad crayon odors from the interior. It is important to note that your car’s AC system won’t work here because even the AC pipes in your car may be installed with paraffin wax-based adhesive, making the air coming out of your vents smell like crayons. So, it’s advisable to turn off the AC and open all the windows, especially when driving in hot weather.

  • Drive in Cool Weather

Driving in cool weather is a good and cheap way to minimize the offensive crayon smell emanating from your VW. The smell is always stronger when your car is exposed to extreme heat and sunlight, but for most VW cars, it’s almost unnoticeable when driving in cool weather. This is why it’s advisable not to use VW cars in hot climates.

  • Remove Thermoplastic Adhesives

Removing thermoplastic adhesives in your car can adequately eliminate the crayon odor. You should start by trying to find out the specific parts of your car where the smell seems stronger. Some likely places in a VW are the trunk, rear dash, door handles, and under the carpet. You’ll often find that these adhesives were used excessively, so carefully scrape out the excess adhesive.

However, removing the adhesives may be a problem for some Volkswagen models because they’re used all over the car’s interior. You may have to fully revamp your car interior if you wish to eliminate the smell completely. This will require a mechanic and will be very expensive. So, your best option is to inspect your car, determine where the odor is coming from, then change the adhesive in those places.


– How Do You Clear Up Mold Smell From Your Volkswagen?

To clear up the mold smell from your Volkswagen, clean the entire interior with soap and water (especially hidden corners where mold is likely to grow). Next, use a vacuum cleaner to dry the car interior. Finally, use an ozone generator to kill mold spores and clear the bad odors.

– Can You Use Vinegar To Remove Car Odors?

Yes, you can use vinegar to remove car odors. To do this, place a bowl of concentrated vinegar in your car and allow it to sit for a couple of hours. The active agents in vinegar will neutralize all bad smells in your car. Afterward, dispose of the used vinegar.

– Is the Crayon Smell in Your Car Harmful?

Yes, the crayon smell in your car is harmful. You may experience nausea, eye irritation, dizziness, headaches, and respiratory problems. However, your reaction to the smell largely depends on your tolerance for the gas and the concentration or amount of it you inhale.

Air Freshener Spray on Car

Can Diesel Fuel Color Cause VW Cars to Smell Like Crayons?

The significance of diesel fuel colors plays a role as some VW car owners have noticed a peculiar smell resembling crayons. While fuel colors are typically regulated and should not affect a vehicle’s odor, it is important to address any strong or unusual smells as they may be indicative of a bigger issue with the car’s engine or exhaust system.


Having your car smell like crayons can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to confidently deal with this problem without a mechanic.

Let’s review some of the major points one more time:

  • The crayon scent/smell in your VW is likely caused by melting paraffin wax, thermoplastic adhesives, or insulation coating.
  • Exposing your car to too much heat and sunlight will make the smell even stronger.
  • To eliminate the smell from your car, you can change the wax coating or thermoplastic adhesives, install an ozone plugin, or install duct tape in your car.
  • Air fresheners and baking soda can also absorb bad crayon odors in your car, though it’ll take a few hours.
  • Always keep your windows down while driving in hot weather for proper aeration.

If you can’t get rid of the smell in your car’s interior or you find that your interior is full of paraffin wax coating and thermoplastic adhesives, see a mechanic for a complete car makeover.

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