Leaving Garage Door Shut With the Car Running

A heated garage in Fairbanks…He must have a GOOD job…he should be smarter than this…

Thirty years ago, perhaps, I had an old Dodge car. My kids came from another state to visit me. We went for a drive one warm day, and when we got home, they were both asleep in the car. I chose to let them sleep, and kept the car running to keep the a/c going.

After a while, they woke up, so I got out of the car to go in the house.

The windows of the house were all open, since the car had a/c, but the house didn’t.

When I walked in, our early generation smoke/gas detector was ringing. Enough stuff from the exhaust made it into the house, and it was parked in an open driveway, not in a garage, to set the detector off. A car need not be in a garage to make a problem.

I love the Mexican people, but they don’t know about heating houses because it’s not something they normally do, thus they don’t know about CO either.

Every year in northern Mexico, when it gets really cold a family dies because someone builds a charcoal fire in the house to keep them warm. And, once in a while, illegals in the US die from the same cause.

When we built our house, the builder was going to install the gas water heater in the house with no venting. AKKKK!!! He, um, knows better now, heh, heh.

I think I heard the discussion on Car Talk that new cars are so emission controlled that there is not enough carbon monoxide coming out to kill anyone anymore. If that’s true, then perhaps our fears are a little out of date. There’s no reason to experiment, and it still makes absolute sense to leave a running car outside, but this discussion made me wonder how much carbon monoxide comes from cooking on a gas stove. That takes place in a closed up house all the time. Just because we are used to seeing gas stoves does not mean they are safe, and with well insulated and sealed houses is this a real concern? I don’t know. Does anyone here have any info?

Not all people with good jobs are as smart as you would assume. They may be geniuses when it comes to house building or computers, but when it comes to money, they just don’t know a darned thing.

No, it’s not true. My cars (2004 & 2006) have LEV stickers. My wife idled her car in the garage (while doing some paper work) with the garage door open one morning. After several minutes, it set off the CO alarms.

Also, running in a closed garage puts all the #s out the window, so to speak - engines are not set up to run correctly on exhaust.

This moron wants to START a cold vehicle and let it warm up in a closed garage. I don’t care how clean they are, when you first start a car, when the converter is cold and the mixture is full rich, there is PLENTY of CO coming out the tailpipe…DON"T DO IT…!

Like Caddyman sez, even the cleanest engines put out the most pollution the first minutes after a cold start.

I think the person starts the car to warm up the heater itself. I have a single car garage that stays 50F all winter and the heat does work right away. I am thankful for heated seats. At least the car warms up faster and then the heat starts blowing then.

Even a warmed up car won’t idle cleanly for more than a minute because the catalytic converter cools off. It only works well when the car has been moving and the engine RPMs are raised, heating the converter. At idle, it’s a polluter.

The son-in-law, good lad that he is, has agreed to never warm the car up, even for just a few minutes, with the garage door shut. He knows about CO fumes, he has a block on the engine, so I think he was just trying to get the interior warmed up a bit. It gets really, really, really cold, they have already hit zero degrees, and it is just the beginning of winter. He just didn’t think a couple of minutes would matter. Before he was stationed up there we ask this web site for recommendations on the best type of car to buy, he followed your advice then and promises to follow your directions now. He thanks you all for your concern (as do both my daughter and me).

Great, sounds like a good guy. And yes, it’ll get COLD…-40F isn’t uncommon. I was in ‘toasty’ Anchorage…

I think there was a caller on the show once who used to kill gophers by pumping exhaust into their burrows, but was complaining that it wasn’t working with his new truck.

It’s certainly safer than it used to be, but it’s still nothing to fool around with. To look at it another way, it’s probably a lot more dangerous now because the unburnt hydrocarbons that are mostly what you smell are so much lower, the CO levels are probably a lot more likely to build up before you notice any exhaust smell.

Here’s another idea: get a remote starter for this car, or buy a newer car or truck with a remote starter. GM offers it as an option; I imagine that other manufacturers do, too.

What could this guy possibly do for a liveing when he apparently has no brains?

Is he a politician? Govt.employee lol

Tardis says: That’s better, but “never to warm the car up while in the garage.” would be good. Depending on conditions, with the door open can be just as bad as with the door closed.

This is absolutely correct. It may be even worse considering air flow into the garage may just improve the flow of CO into the house through the leaks around the ajoining walk through door. If this is the son in laws final word, then a CO% tester in the house near the door is a must.

Good attitude change on son in laws part…maybe a few comments here have saved a life or a few brain cells.

Glad to hear you resolved the problem. I worked in the arctic for some time and all our cars had INTERIOR CAR WARMERS. Those are little electric heaters mounted on the floor or under the dash, with the cord sticking out the front, just like the block heater cord.

If you put those two on a timer for 2 hours prior to leaving, the car will warm as toast inside. There is a safe solution to every problem.

"has agreed to never warm the car up, even for just a few minutes, with the garage door shut."
That’s better, but “never to warm the car up while in the garage.” would be good. Depending on conditions, with the door open can be just as bad as with the door closed. Do a Google search on CO poisoning cases, you’ll find many cases where it happened in three-wall spaces.

I really couldnt believe this,we were excavating a basement under a home with a small gasoline powered skid steer loader and we nearly died,Carbon monoxide is nothing to gamble with-EXTREMELY DANGEROUS! -Kevin P.S read “ALONE!” BY Richard Byrd

Maybe he’s driving a Tesla.