Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Can Exhaust Get Into a Car's Interior?

Can Exhaust Get Into a Car's Interior?

exhaust in car

There’s a very simple answer to the question of whether or not exhaust fumes can ever get into a car’s interior – yes they can. This happens more often than you might think, and it’s never a good thing. If you’ve noticed the smell of exhaust in your car and the door isn’t open while the engine is running or you’re not parked in a garage, it’s a sign that you need exhaust system repair.

The potential causes

Before we touch on repair-related problems, let’s look at a couple of other potential reasons you might be smelling exhaust inside the car.

  • Door open, engine running: If you’re sitting in your driveway or a parking lot with the engine running and the door open, there’s always a chance that the wind will blow your car’s exhaust into the interior. However, the smell should dissipate quickly once you start driving. If it does not, this isn’t your issue.

  • Parked in the garage: If you’ve parked the car in the garage and the engine is still running, it’s possible for exhaust fumes to get into the car’s interior. Car cabins are not airtight, and if the engine is running in an enclosed space (even if the garage door is open), it’s very possible for some exhaust fumes to make their way inside.

However, if you smell exhaust in the cabin while the car is running, then neither of the previously mentioned issues is what’s wrong. Chances are good that there’s a leak somewhere in your exhaust system. There are two possible locations:

  • The exhaust manifold: The exhaust manifold connects your engine with the exhaust pipes under the car. However, over time, it expands and contracts a great deal with engine heating and cooling. This can lead to cracking, which will release exhaust into the engine bay and the car’s cabin. It’s also possible that the manifold gasket has failed, which will have the same result.

  • The exhaust pipes: Exhaust pipes are made of metal, and while they’re durable, they are susceptible to rust and other damage. Over time, they’ll deteriorate, and holes can actually form in the pipes. These can release exhaust from under the car rather than out the muffler, and those fumes can enter the car’s interior.

If you smell exhaust inside your car’s cabin, there’s a chance that you have a leak. It should be inspected and repaired immediately. Exposure to high concentrations of carbon monoxide (found in exhaust) can be lethal.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...

Related questions

Q: Q: How do I recline the rear seats?

You can recline the rear seats very easily to increase comfort: 1. Locate the lever at the top of the seatback that you wish to recline. 2. Lift the seatback lever. 3. Recline the seatback to the desired position. 4....

Q: After valve cover gasket replacement, compressor broke

Hi there. Thanks for writing in about your 2000 Lexus GS400. Compressors can go bad due to oil saturation. It is likely that the technician spilled additional oil on the compressor when replacing the valve cover. The technician may have...

Q: Q: How do I install the head restraints?

It is very easy to install the heat restraints after you have removed them. To do so, simply place the restraint legs into the installation holes, and push down until the restraint locks into place. Then press and hold the...