Staying safe from carbon monoxide in your car

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- If your vehicle was leaking carbon monoxide, how would you know? The winter can be especially dangerous when you've got the heat on, the defrost going and the windows up, but if you have a leak in your exhaust system you could be breathing toxic fumes.

Experts say an exhaust leak could expose you to carbon monoxide.

"We see a lot of problems-- everything from rust out, to broken pipes,
to broken exhaust manifold pipes and studs and things of that nature
where we're bringing carbon monoxide into the vehicle," Scotty’s
Muffler owner Rodney Snider said.

Snider said if your exhaust system hasn't been inspected lately,
winter can be a dangerous time of year because most modern cars have cabin air filters that bring outside air into your car.

"If we have an exhaust leak or something like that, we're bringing
that odor and that smell into the vehicle, we're physically drawing
that into the vehicle, so one of the things we can do if there's any
question at all is don't run the heater or the defroster," he said.

Snider said it depends on the size of the car and the size of the
exhaust leak, but carbon monoxide could flood the inside fast.

"A safe bet would be ten minutes, you would be in a dangerous
situation," he said.

Experts said carbon monoxide is extremely difficult to detect, so they
stress the importance of getting an inspection every time the seasons
change. So in the winter when you're getting your wiper blades, tires
and washer fluid checked out, don't forget to have the exhaust looked
at, too.

Scotty’s Muffler techs said that in Grand Junction, your exhaust isn't
exposed to as many exterior elements that cause it to rust from the
outside in. Instead, daily driving causes the system to rust from the
inside out, causing holes and leaks, on average after only 7 1/2 years.

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