We all love that smell of a new car. So much so, that when you jump into Google and type ‘new car smell’ the first suggestion would be ‘new car smell spray’. Yes, people are looking for ways to recreate that aroma even when it’s not actually coming from a new car.
But have you ever wondered where does it come from? I mean, why all new cars have that distinct smell? Well, we now know, and it’s not caused by a one single substance. It’s rather the combination of different smells.
Here’s how it goes. (the article continues after the ad)
The interior of a car is made from different materials. Just imagine how many plastics, paints, sealants, polyurethane and polyester materials are in there. These materials release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) during a process which most commonly known as “outgassing”.
These VOC molecules are what we call the ‘new car smell’. The fact that they are released in a confined space makes them 10 times more powerful than if they were released outdoors.
However, as attractive as this smell may be, scientists have warned that some of them can be hazardous. More specifically, formaldehyde, benzene and ethyl, which are found in glues and paints can cause headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions. That being said, they have to be inhaled in large quantities for a long period of time in order for you to seriously run the risk of getting affected. The good think is that they decrease over time.
Interestingly, several nonprofit groups release annual reports that list the toxic chemicals in cars in order to help consumers avoid indoor air pollution. One of them is the Ecology Center.
So, what is it with that smell that makes people fall in love with it?
Even though there’s no research on the subject, our addiction to it most probably comes from the fact that we associate the smell with a pleasant and positive experience – the experience of having a brand new car. Simply said, you like the smell because you like the car.
BONUS FACT: Because these VOCs are overpowering, they basically make the leather smell disappear. That’s why, before shipping the product, car manufacturers add that smell back so you can have both the lovely leather smell and the addictive new car smell.