Q: Can Exhaust Fumes Get Inside My Car?

asked by on November 24, 2015

Can exhaust fumes get inside my car?

Yes, exhaust fumes can get into your vehicle in a multitude of ways.

The first way exhaust fumes could get in your car is just by sitting in traffic with your windows down, especially if you’re in traffic in a tunnel or a somewhat enclosed area. If you roll the windows up when you have your AC on, it could pull exhaust fumes in from the outside and into your vehicle. It may not be very noticeable but you will be able to smell it. Air that comes into the car is filtered by a cabin air filter, so it will not be a potent or as bad for you, but some fumes can still get into your car. Most times, a vehicle does get exhaust fumes in it without the driver even knowing. If you have issues with rust holes in the floorboards or in a panel of the vehicle, exhaust fumes can get in.

Sometimes the owner of a car that has a faulty exhaust system does not want to repair it right away. This could be a deadly mistake. All automotive engines create exhaust gasses but there are some deadlier than others. The government has set emission standards for cars on the road today to help prevent people from getting sick and to reduce damage to our environment.

Hydrocarbons are emissions that are principal pollutants of concern; they are a class of burned or partially burned fuel that are toxic. Hydrocarbons are a major contributor to smog, which can be a major problem in urban areas. Prolonged exposure to hydrocarbons contributes to asthma, liver disease, lung disease, and cancer. Regulations governing hydrocarbons vary according to type of engine and jurisdiction; in some cases, "non-methane hydrocarbons" are regulated, while in other cases, "total hydrocarbons" are regulated. Methane is not directly toxic, but is more difficult to break down in a catalytic converter, so in effect "non-methane hydrocarbon" regulation can be considered easier to meet. Since methane is a greenhouse gas, interest is rising in how to eliminate emissions of it.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a product of incomplete combustion. Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen; overexposure (carbon monoxide poisoning) may be fatal. NOx is generated when nitrogen in the air reacts with oxygen at the high temperature and pressure inside the engine. NOx is a precursor to smog and acid rain. NOx is created by the combination of NO and NO2, which is extremely reactive. NOx production is increased when an engine runs at its most efficient or it hottest part of the cycle; when you are exposed to it for a long time, it will stay in your body indefinitely.

Sulfur oxide (SOx) is a general term for oxides of sulfur, which are emitted from motor vehicles burning fuel containing sulfur. Reducing the level of fuel sulfur reduces the level of Sulfur oxide emitted from the tailpipe.

There is no escaping exhaust fumes but if your car is well maintained and free from rot and your exhaust system is in good working order then your chances of overexposure are very miniscule.

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