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Carbon monoxide detectors and autos

Read a recent article in the CR health newsletter about a doctor who had a patient who had CO poisoning and almost died. It was due to a faulty muffler on his car. The article went on to push for CO detectors in homes.

But never mentioned CO detectors for the car.

I couldn’t any statistics, but I suspect a big portion of CO deaths are due to autos.

Why are CO detectors not standard in cars? It would cost pennies.

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You think there are lots of people who die of CO while in their car? I’d be surprised if that was true.

Some police departments around here have installed CO detectors in the Ford Explorers.

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'Cause they snooze in their cars. I bicycled from LA to NYC some 30 years ago. I spent a night in Ithaca under a parked truck trailer near the work shed of the parks department. I woke late at night to see a cop drive up and park right next to me. I figured somebody had noticed (I hadn’t seen anyone, but I had been asleep.) I got so nervous I put on my clothes and crawled out to surrender. The cop was sleeping. I went back to ‘bed’.

Naw, it’s because the Explorers have had some unresolved issues with the exhaust. I’ve never seen anyone sleeping in their patrol car. I would think the radio traffic would keep them awake. They are code now in Minnesota for every level in the home.

The vehicles I remember that had a serious problem with CO in the cabin were the 1961 and later Corvairs. This, IMHO, was more serious than the handling issues. There were reported incidents of CO poisoning of drivers and passengers in these vehicles. The problem was the heater that heated the.air.with the exhaust manifold. The 1960 Corvairs didn’t have the problem because a gasoline heater was used.

From what I’ve read…it was only related to the Explorers converted to Police vehicles. Something they did caused an exhaust leak.

OP here. Found the article on line. The point is that this was a difficult diagnosis. The guy was suffering from daily headaches for months, he attributed it to a new job with a 4 hour commute. Several doctors over those months were puzzled. Finally they asked him to stop in just after that long drive, and tests at that time indicated the problem

Point is, its not obvious that it’s the CO from the car that is causing the problem. It took months and 3 doctors (and some luck) for this guy to find the problem.

There are millions of cars with exhaust leaks. But no way to tell if you are getting poisoned except luck and a very good doctor.

PS, I did some searching to find CO poisoning cases in autos, but did not find anything.

edit: quote from article: “What probably helped save my patient’s life was his habit of driving with his window open a bit, even in cold weather.”

Or possibly that exacerbated the problem. I drove many times with a guy who smoked a pipe and always had his window open an inch or so. The pipe smoke was immediately sucked out that open slot meaning it produced a slight negative pressure in the cabin. This might pull in exhaust from a leaking system.

Why were you naked? :rofl:

I was a near victim of CO poisoning once.

I had exhaust work done that involved removing the exhaust manifold. They would up double-gasketing it. Alas, I had a trip lined up in advance and could not leave the car.

I drove with the window open until it got cold, and I closed it enough that I started to get light-headed and a distorted visual field. I’m not really proud of this fact, but it remains that I credit my “youthful indiscretions” for recognizing I was in an altered state, and needed to remedy it, pronto!

So ALL the windows went down, and I made it home without further incident.

texases-You think there are lots of people who die of CO while in their car? I’d be surprised if that was true.

Dosen’t everyone who commits suicide by running their car die of CO poisoning?

There are a few CO detectors for sale for cars, that plug into the cig lighter socket. In the $30 price range.

I’m not concerned about CO in my cars. If they were highly modified like the police Explorers, that might be different. The hypothesis I heard was that there were penetrations in the firewall and maybe other barriers to the cabin that allowed engine exhaust to get inside and poison the officers.

I actually heard that lots of owners of non-police Exploders are also experiencing problems with co getting into the cab, due the exhaust manifold problems

Isn’t anyone with an old car at risk? Exhaust systems rust. Holes develop.

Not as much as in the past, where the exhaust lasted a few years at best here in salt land.

Personally . . . as far as the well-being of the driver and passengers go . . . I’d be more worried about a cracked exhaust manifold, sheared off exhaust manifold bolts, or a leaking exhaust manifold gasket, versus a rusty exhaust tip at the back of the vehicle

I guess I was including all of those in my term “exhaust system”.