1998 Saturn SL1, original owner, 77,000 miles. Painful toxic fumes

The fumes inside my car have no odor, but it stings my throat horribly and my eyes are stinging and watering. Even with the windows down, it’s awful. I don’t know what’s going on. Is this just an old car deteriorating? I’ve planned on having this car for many more years, despite the age. I’ve taken good care, and it’s been driven very little. Any help is appreciated.

Why are you not replacing this thing or at least have it in a shop to see what the problem is ? Do you have this problem in any other vehicle or any where else ? How long has this been a problem ?

Sound like a possible carbon monoxide leak have it checked [[[ASAP]]]


An overcharging battery due to a bad voltage regulator? Acid fumes are very stinging. Voltage regulators are usually in the alternator.

I agree with Renegade. Check for an exhaust leak immediately.


Might very well be exhaust manifold flange gaskets leaking, cracked exhaust manifold . . . something along those lines

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I’m on disability, 800 a month. This started today. I don’t know anyone that knows cars, that’s why I was hoping for some advice here.

Thank you, I really appreciate your prompt reply!

Thanks, I’ll have to get it in a shop somehow. Appreciate your reply!

If the charging voltage is good, check the battery for load capacity. If you have an older battery, it could have an internal short. It may not be bad enough yet to prevent the car from starting, but it will strain the alternator and could cost you more in the long run because then, you’d have to replace the alternator and the battery. But this is only if your battery does not have a passing load capacity.

If the exhaust looks good, then beside to check for any holes in the trunk and the trunk lid seal. Most likely case would be a rust hole under the spare tire. This will draw fumes back into the car even if the exhaust is not leaking. Also check the seals around the tail lights. They never seal completely but if the seal was completely gone, it could be the cause.