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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just purchased a 2020 GMC Terrain Denali used. I also moved to a more rural area where my neighborhood is surrounded by farms and you have to drive past some of them to get to the highway.

From the second I brought the car home, I noticed that any time I drive in the rain it smells like there are a bunch of dead fish shoved in every outside crevice. It is horrendously strong. I do not smell it at all inside the car. I have never had this happen with any vehicle before, but I've also never lived in a more rural area either.

Is it possible that all the fertilizers and things from the farms get onto the pavement somehow and end up splashing up there when it's raining or is this something I should be worried about? It goes away when it dries off and does not smell that way when it is wet from going through a car wash.
 

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I just purchased a 2020 GMC Terrain Denali used. I also moved to a more rural area where my neighborhood is surrounded by farms and you have to drive past some of them to get to the highway.

From the second I brought the car home, I noticed that any time I drive in the rain it smells like there are a bunch of dead fish shoved in every outside crevice. It is horrendously strong. I do not smell it at all inside the car. I have never had this happen with any vehicle before, but I've also never lived in a more rural area either.

Is it possible that all the fertilizers and things from the farms get onto the pavement somehow and end up splashing up there when it's raining or is this something I should be worried about? It goes away when it dries off and does not smell that way when it is wet from going through a car wash.
LRE, I think you may have already figured it out. The fish smell, do you live in a coastal area where there may be a cannery located? That may be a possibility although most fish waste probably goes into pet food. Many metropolitan areas get rid of their sewage waste by drying it and trucking it to agricultural areas to be spread on the fields as fertilizer. The city of Seattle trucks their waste to the eastern part of the state to be used as fertilizer, think I read that in west Texas it comes in by rail car loads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No, I am in Indiana, but I did live near a coast for a while and it does remind me of the smell of the groups of sunbathing seals. I was assuming that is was probably the fertilizer making its way onto the roads, as I have to go down narrow rural roads if I want to head for the highway. I just wanted to check in with a forum to see if it was some kind of known issue that could be fixable because it is pretty strong and hard to even be anywhere near the vehicle until it dries off. I guess in my quest for peace and quiet I will have to have some tradeoffs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How is your coolant, brake fluid and trans fluid level? How deep of water are you driving through?
They should all be good, though I admittedly have not looked. I have had it for a little over 2 weeks with the dealership giving me a copy of their inspection where everything was good at that time.

Not deep water at all. The standard wet roads that just create a lot of spray during a steady rain and a few minor shallow puddles on the wavy asphalt of the more rural roads. Plenty of road kill to avoid.
 

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Might just be bug guts stuck to your rad or around your wheel wells. I live right on the Great Lakes and can tell you when it is May Fly season it smells like rotting fish everywhere near the shorelines. Those **** May Flies are nick named fish flies around here for a reason. Little bastards group by the thousands under street lamps and die off leaving piles of decaying bodies behind for all to enjoy.
 
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the bug thing , possibly for sure. Pressure wash rad , intercooler ( if equipped , at very lowest grille area) under carriage, front suspension , including rear air deflectors in front of rear tires ( you think they are mud flaps , GM calls them air deflectors ) a lot of "stuff" collects on them.
This is what I went thru after our first hiway run with bugs , garage had a horrible stink after what I thought was a great hand car wash with pressure.
10 times better after I had done the above procedure AGAIN
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I did some tests today since it is still raining. I washed the car thoroughly (got some funny looks in the rain), then I drove it down the highway in the rain, no smell. I took a much longer, less rural route to the highway, no smell. I took it on the faster route home through the farm land, horrific dead fish smell. So clearly the farmland roads are the problem. Probably fertilizer and bugs in a big stinky combo.
 

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Probably doesn't help you but...
I live in Nebraska, and most (not all) of the time I get the same smell after the car sits in the garage - wet from the rain. When things dry out, there is no smell. I'm not sure if it's the garage floor, the undercarriage of the car, or what. I never thought much about it, as I always thought it was from all the junk on the roads that gets splashed while driving in the rain/wet roads. I am a long ways from any water to speak of, so I don't believe fish have anything to do with it :). I wouldn't describe the smell as particularly strong, but it's noticeable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Mine is pretty potent. I’ll pull up to a business and open the door and it knocks me back. It smells like someone has dumped a bucket full of dead fish all over the outside. I’d swear I was at a wharf. I’ve seen people nearby look over and wrinkle up their nose when I pull up, but it does go away when it dries.

Good to know it’s a thing though. I think I’ll start having to allow more time and go the long way if it is raining.
 

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I'll second the bugs. Rain rehydrates the carcass's stuck on the condenser and radiator heat coming out of stopped engine just pushes out the aroma.
 
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That’s interesting. There are a ton of may flies here as well,
That was my guess, for some reason the may flies have returned somewhat here ( we border Lake Erie and Lake St Clair ). When we those things make everywhere smell like fish.
 

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. Pressure wash rad , intercooler ( if equipped , at very lowest grille area)
Do not use a pressure washer on the radiator, only use a garden hose.
A pressure wash can flatten the radiator fins.
 

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So have you checked with your neighbors? Have you talked to the farmers? They don't bite. I too have a house in rural Indiana (Cow Town) in the midst of several mega- and small farms and have never experienced this condition. Sometimes when the wind is right from the confined feed lot a few miles a way we get a manure smell but nothing lasting or permeating. Owning a small farm myself I cannot think of any chemical or fertilizer we use that could generate such a smell unless you have someone using a fish oil based product - which are outrageously expensive and from what I understand don't work worth a hoot. What part of the state are you in? Our place is very NE, Steuben County.

In my humble opinion, it has got to be the bugs.
 

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So have you checked with your neighbors? Have you talked to the farmers? They don't bite. I too have a house in rural Indiana (Cow Town) in the midst of several mega- and small farms and have never experienced this condition. Sometimes when the wind is right from the confined feed lot a few miles a way we get a manure smell but nothing lasting or permeating. Owning a small farm myself I cannot think of any chemical or fertilizer we use that could generate such a smell unless you have someone using a fish oil based product - which are outrageously expensive and from what I understand don't work worth a hoot. What part of the state are you in? Our place is very NE, Steuben County.

In my humble opinion, it has got to be the bugs.
I also live in a farming area, southwest Iowa, and can not think of any fertilizer that would end up on the roads except manure.
When I worked on flood protection projects I never noticed a fish smell when new projects were fertilized and seeded.
It's possible that manure could be spread instead of injected and then some of it tracked out to a road but it doesn't have a fish smell.
I don't notice it on the car but on our motorcycles I sometimes notice a smell from the dead bugs in the radiator fins when it's wet.
Anhydrous is injected and has a ammonia smell and is not tracked out of the field.
Granular fertilizer does not smell much different than the stuff you spread on your lawn.
Spray on insecticides have a funny smell to me but I would not consider it fishy.
 

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Pull up the carpet at the door sills and check for evidence of moisture or mud. Slide the seats back all the way too. Are the seat tracks rusty and dirty? This would also show signs of water intrusion.
Maybe there is a mouse nest under the carpet full of cat food????

Edit: just noticed you said only the exterior smells. Weird
 

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Wash it with a load of bugs in a warm radiator / condenser and you'll get the same smell.
 
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