How can I prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in car? Carbon monoxide kills more than 50 people in Canada per year, and between 2000-2013, there were over 3,000 hospitalizations. Carbon monoxide poses a serious health risk when individuals are exposed to it in enclosed spaces. These spaces can include your home, garage, and even your car. How does carbon monoxide get into your car? How can you prevent it from happening? In this article, we will answer these questions and more to help you stay informed and stay safer on the road and in your car. If you need more information about vehicle safety and repairs, trust Hansma Automotive. Contact the professionals at Hansma today to have your car serviced.
How Does Carbon Monoxide Get Into My Car?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas. It is colourless, odourless, and tasteless, making it impossible to detect without a specialized device. But how exactly can it get into your car? As mentioned above, internal combustion engines, like the one found in your car, create carbon monoxide as a byproduct of burning fuel. Normally, carbon monoxide and other byproducts such as nitrogen and water vapour are released and quickly dissipated into the air.
Unfortunately, if your exhaust system is damaged or is not working as it should be, the carbon monoxide released from your tailpipe (and other dangerous gasses) may end up inside of your car, instead of outside into the air (source). In such a small, enclosed space, carbon monoxide can quickly cause serious harm.
How To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Car
Although fuel-burning cars run the risk of exposing individuals to carbon monoxide, there are many simple steps you can take to to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your car.
#1: Do not drive a car with holes in the floor or trunk
Holes in the floor or trunk can create openings for carbon monoxide and other gasses to enter your vehicle. This can become a more serious problem if your car is left idling for long periods of time (e.g heavy traffic) or if you have an issue with your exhaust system.
#2: Do not run your car inside an enclosed space (including your garage!)
Though it may be an attractive solution to the cold weather, avoid running your vehicle in an enclosed space - including your garage, even if the doors are open. According to an Iowa State study, it is never safe to warm your vehicle up in your garage. Even warming you car up for just two minutes can create 500 ppm of CO. A healthy, adult human should not be exposed to over 50 ppm of CO.
#3: Do not run your engine if it is covered in snow
If your tailpipe is obstructed by anything, including snow, it can cause gasses to back up into your car.
In the event of a heavy snowfall, make sure your tailpipe is clear before turning your vehicle on.
If your vehicle looks anything like the one pictured here, it's best to take the extra time, brave the cold, and clear away all obstructions away from your tailpipe before warming up your car.
#4: Install a CO detector
If you are concerned about carbon monoxide entering your car or feel your vehicle is at higher risk (for example, if you've had problems with your exhaust system in the past), you may want to install a CO detector. This is the only way to be 100% sure your car is safe from carbon monoxide.
#5: Regularly inspect and repair your vehicle
Regular inspection and maintenance of your exhaust system and ensuring it is repaired as soon as possible if something goes wrong is one of the best ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your car.
Exhaust system leaks can create serious health concerns, and many can be prevented with regular check ups. You should also regularly inspect your emissions system and ensure your engine is tuned.
If your engine is out of tune, the regularly low levels of CO that concentrate in the exhaust of modern vehicles can skyrocket seemingly out of nowhere.
Does your vehicle need an inspection or repair?
More About Carbon Monoxide
Still want to learn more about carbon monoxide? Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas. It is colourless, odourless, and tasteless, making it impossible to detect without a specialized device. Carbon monoxide is often produced by the incomplete burning of natural gas or other materials that contain carbon, including gasoline (source).
According to the OHSA Fact Sheet, the most common source of workplace exposure to carbon monoxide is due to internal combustion engines. Internal combustion engines are also found in most cars. Carbon monoxide is found in fumes that are produced when you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. Without ventilation, those who breathe in the fumes can quickly become sick.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
If you live in Ontario, you must have a carbon monoxide detector in your home - it's the law. However, detectors are not required for cars. Since humans cannot detect carbon monoxide in the air, it is important to know the symptoms. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Upset stomach/vomiting
- Chest pain
When breathed in, carbon monoxide displaces the oxygen in your blood and deprives your vital organs, such as the brain and heart, of oxygen. Breathing in carbon monoxide can quickly cause you to pass out. Very high levels can kill in under five minutes. If you suspect that you or someone you know has been poisoned, it is important to follow the steps and precautions outlined in the OHSA Fact Sheet.
Trust The Professionals at Hansma!
At Hansma we offer service with a difference. We have worked hard to gain a reputation for honesty and quality work. You can trust us to only recommend and carry out the repairs that you actually need. Whether you've been in an accident and are needing a place to send your car or if you are just looking for standard maintenance, we will let you know what you need done and when it should be done.
Our customers have come to consider us as their mechanic friend. And as your mechanic friend, we promise to give you top-notch service at reasonable and competitive rates. Click here to meet our friendly team, read our testimonials, and contact us today and find out about the Hansma service difference for yourself. We are open every weekday from 8 AM to 6 PM. Come see us at 88 Shoemaker St. in Kitchener, Ontario.