What is the best and longest-lasting car air freshener?

For some, car air fresheners are remnants of the past because many newer cars are made to include many different sorts of fragrance dispensers. Mercedes calls it an Air Balance system, and it includes a glovebox-mounted air freshener that is emitted through the A/C vents.

However, the vast majority of car owners these days are not yet acquainted with such luxury, and a regular air freshener is still the most common mean of masking unpleasant car odors. Between such a wide variety of available types of air fresheners, some of them are better than others.

The most common and iconic type of air freshener is a good old little tree hanging from your rearview mirror. Besides these, many liquid air fresheners are also available either as A/C vent mounted or just hanging from your rearview mirror.

Nowadays you can also opt for canned fragrances which are made to be sprayed onto the upholstery. Another fairly popular type of air freshener is a plug-in air freshener that plugs into your cigarette lighter.

In-car fragrance dispensers

There are a few car brands out there that take advantage of this method, but Mercedes was the one to kickstart the trend.  A few years back Mercedes has decided to invest in olfactory goodness, and an entire department was born to come up with interesting and charming fragrances.

Mercedes usually ships the car with only a single fragrance, but you can opt to buy more through a Mercedes dealership for around $100-150. Some fragrances such as Downtown Mood, Sports Mood, or Nightlife Mood are the famous ones.

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The Mercedes Air Balance Package costs around $350, but it also includes the air purification system. It seems like many Mercedes owners out there opted for this option as it does not cost as much as Mercedes tends to charge you for ‘’unnecessary, yet luxurious’’ options.

It’s worth mentioning that many car brands are either already doing this, or they are going to. Even Toyota stated a few years back that they are planning to include air fragrance dispensers into their newer cars.

Cardboard and vent clip air fresheners

A cardboard air freshener is by far the most famous type of car air freshener, and pretty much everyone remembers seeing these throughout their childhood. That being said, nowadays these types of air fresheners are not as common as they used to be, but there are a few of these still knocking about.

A great thing about cardboard air fresheners is that they don’t cost all that much. Furthermore, they can be easily installed and de-installed. However, they don’t last all that much, and they tend to be overly aggressive because they don’t last too much.

On the other hand, a vent clip air freshener is most likely the most discrete and easiest way of blocking unwanted A/C odors. These types of air fresheners are compact and not too overly aggressive, and they also tend to last a long time.

Whenever you start you’re A/C, the fragrance is then released. However, if you want your A/C blowing without emitting the scent, you can just easily remove it.

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Can/spray air fresheners and plug-in air fresheners

Can air fresheners are a bit of a pain to use because they require you to precisely decide how much scent do you want to release.  They can also sometimes be too fidgety to use, and can even spill onto your interior.

Even though, if you do invest in a relatively high-quality well-though after can air freshener, these can last you a long time. More often than not, these types of air fresheners are placed into a cupholder, but you can also relocate it somewhere else if want.

Plug-in air fresheners are designed to heat up the scented liquid before the scent is released. This means that these types of air fresheners usually only work while your car engine is running. A great drawback of these is the fact that you cant use your cigarette lighter for anything else while you use your air freshener.

Spray air fresheners are also sometimes made specifically for cars. These should be used on-demand, which means that you ought to spray the area which emits unwanted odors. These are known to be fairly aggressive so you better tread lightly.

FAQ Section

How often should I change my air freshener?

It all depends on the type of air freshener you are using. If you are using one of those cardboard air fresheners, chances are you are going to replace them in a month or two because they don’t last all that long.

Most air fresheners come with written instructions on how to use the air freshener and how long should the air freshener function. However, it’s sometimes best to just use your nose. So if you cant notice the scent anymore, you ought to change it or go ahead and do a Covid test.

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Is a rear-view mirror hanging air freshener illegal?

According to some states, it is illegal to hang anything onto the rearview mirror if it has the possibility of obstructing your view. As such, tree-like air fresheners are recognized as possible visibility obstructors, and they are illegal in states like Virginia.

However, some smaller rear-view mirror hanging air fresheners are not illegal. It’s always best to consult yourself with the regulation before you decide to invest in an air freshener of any sort. Even though hardly anyone knows this, it is still a fact.

Should I opt for a stronger car scent or a mild one?

More often than not, this is a personal preference. However, more aggressive scents are known to cause headaches, and they can also make you nauseous after long exposures. On the other hand, mild scents are almost unnoticeable after a few minutes inside the car. It’s always best to find a middle ground between these two.

Some air fresheners can also be regulated, and they let you decide how much fragrance do you want. As such, these are likely going to be your best bet, even though they do sometimes cost a bit more money.

Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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