Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Forward or Back?

For years, I have endured unsightly scratches on the sliding door of my 2001 Honda Odyssey minivan caused by frequent kid-caused collisions between door and garbage cans. I discovered TODAY that if I back into the garage, the cans are not in the way of anything and my sliding door is obstruction-free.

The problem is that I was taught to always park nose first to minimize exhaust fumes in the garage.

Are there any potential health hazards to backing into my garage on a regular basis? Should I really worry about fumes, since today’s cars probably emit less exhaust than those my parents drove?

We don’t “hang out” in our garage - no workshops or play spaces there. I don’t idle the van in the garage, but my family room is just through the back garage wall. In the summer, we leave the garage doors open frequently, but in the cold Ohio winters, we shut them immediately when we’ve turned off the car.

Your thoughts?

I really don't think the exhaust is a problem assuming you are not warming up the car in there.  

It seem few people realize it, but backing into a parking lot parking spot is easier and safer than pulling in front first.  With a few exceptions when you pull in you will back out.  That means backing out into traffic when you have the least amount of vision.  Backing into a parking spot usually means parking between non-moving cars.

So moving the cans is out of the question ?

You don’t hang out in your garage, but the longer your van runs within the confines of your house, the more exhaust fumes you and your family breath. If your garage is attached to your house, as it obviously is, you should minimize the exhaust fumes inside the garage.

I suppose one could ask, “Which is more important? Scratches on the door or kids breathing automotive exhaust fumes?” Only you can answer for your family.

Dagosa asked, “Can’t you relocate the garbage cans?” I ask, “Can’t you teach the kids not to scratch the van?”

Don’t raise the draw bridge! Lower the river!

Or, to put it more directly as dagosa and mcparadise asked: Why can’t you relocate the garbage cans and/or teach the children to be more responsible?

People–and this includes children–almost always rise to the standards that we set for them. If you explain to them that it is their responsibility to keep the cans from being in the way of the van, this is surely not something that is beyond their abilities to comprehend and to do. I think that you are letting your kids off too easily.

There are a few people in my neighborhood that back their cars into the garage. If you continue to do it, I’d only start the car to move it out.

I love backing in. It makes pulling out into my busy street, through my six foot cedar fence gate, so much more safe and quick. But all three trucks are parked outside, not enclosed.
A quick little self-test would tell if CO ( carbon monoxide )accumulation occurs when backed in.
Take the CO detector/alarm from inside your house and set it by the most inside wall of the garage. If, when you’re backing in and when you’re pulling out, the alarm goes off…it’s not a good idea.

Don’t have a CO detector in your house…uh, why not ? go get one. And buy a second smoke detector while you’re at it.

Nope - no where else to move them.

I cannot relocate the cans, which would obviously be the easiest alternative, as our garage is too small. (I’m not stupid!)

There is often second car in the garage, so it IS tricky sometimes to get to my car (about 6 inches of clearance), which is why the cans get moved too close. They can also be closer or further by several inches depending on how I pull into the garage. If the kids are opening the door from the inside, they cannot first get out to move the cans! (And sometimes can’t move them at all if they are heavy - they are 7 and 9).

Thanks for your assessment of my parenting, VDCdriver. I’ll be sure to take your wisdom into account. (I’m no stranger to high standards, BTW - my 7 yo has played violin for 4 years!) But let’s stick to the gist of my question, which was the potential health hazards of backing into the garage versus pulling in nose first.

That’s what I’m thinking…

Ken - Thanks for the CONSTRUCTIVE advice! That’s a great idea and I shall give it a whirl. We actually have TWO CO2 detectors in the basement - along with smoke detectors on every floor (and yes, we change the batteries when we change our clocks back or forward).

So now your kids will be able to scratch up the good side and both sides will match. Problem solved!

And you didn’t ask for CONSTRUCTIVE advice. You didn’t even ask for advice. You asked for our thoughts…and now you have mine.

There was this trash can, a minivan and a violin that walked into a bar. Bartender says, may I help you. Trash can says “The minivan and the violin are beyond help; as for me, I’ll have a Coke”.

"…and both sides will match."
now that there’s funny. I can picture it now. :slight_smile: :)… Yes I’ve gone through two kids. Whom, by the way will grow up to DRIVE said minivan ! Think you’ve got scratches now >:0

Excuse me but, I’m old school and have a hard time letting trash cans control my personal space and health decisions.I had a small garage in previous house where car had to share space with bikes and kids…so I know where you’re coming from.
My cans went outside…
Rubbermaid makes excellent plastic lockable trash sheds.
LL Bean and Cabelas sell pulley kits for raising boats and bikes in garage above cars that could easily raise a large box with the cans.
Use plastic non marring cans.
Smaller rectangular cans that fit.
Assume cans can’t go into the end…then a platform on wall above hood level you could drive under.
All I would consider before backing in…I would want to be able to do both with my kids safety always in mind.
Good luck.

For gosh sakes, just back in.

Too many children are hit every year by cars backing out of garages and driveways. And too many accidents happen from someone backing into the street. Families with young children should all back into the garage. Lives would be saved that way.

Just think how much farther you will be ahead when you leave in the morning,a real jump on the day,back in.