Mystery Motoring Malady - A Serious Problem

We bought a 2010 Prius a few months ago and almost from the start, my

>> wife has complained of becoming physically ill whenever she rides in

>> it. No, it is not because she is sitting next to me. Almost as soon

>> as we take off, she feels pain in her jaw and ears, develops an upset

>> stomach, and feels nauseous. I am not kidding. Speed is not a factor.

>> You should know that she is highly sensitive to many stimuli. For

>> example, she has hyperacusis, is a super-smeller, and is affected by

>> changes in barometric pressure (“It will rain in the next few

>> minutes.”).

>> We also own an Audi All-Road wagon and have previously owned all

>> sorts of wagons and sedans, and this has never happened to her

>> before. This is the first hybrid we have owned, however. She

>> refuses to ride in the car anymore.


>> Being a typically sensitive, compassionate, and thoughtful husband, I

>> am considering selling the car and buying something else.

>> But, I am hoping that you may have come across similar situations and

>> have an explanation that might lead to a remedy. Is it possible, for

>> example, that due to the large battery and extensive electronic

>> mechanisms, there is an EMF that might affect her autonomic nervous

>> system? Could it be the high pitched whine from the engine that

>> might just have a different frequency pattern from any other car and

>> have a major effect?


>> I look forward to your diagnosis but please make it quick. I am

>> agonizing on whether to keep the car or the wife.


>> Sincerely,


Sincerely, try driving with the front windows rolled down a bit. I would hate to suffer the collateral damage of trading in a new car, been married too long to give any response on wife vs car.

Your wife is probably suffering the effects of outgassing, the process where adhesives and synthetic materials give off solvents for quite some time. New cars all do it (like Tom Magliozzi). The solution, whether it is a car, a brother-in-law or your dog, is to open the windows while driving and when parked in your garage. If you park outside you might be able to leave a back window open just a bit.

This is the same process that puts a sticky haze on the inside of the windows of a new car.

Thanks. Good idea. I do leave the windows open as much as possible, but I wonder if there is a more aggressive way to accelerate the purging of volatiles. Driving with the windows open with the wife in the car, especially on her side, is out of the question. She hates that too!
Pollen, dust, etc. seem to do a number on her.


I was wondering about the outgassing also. Consider doing a test drive with her breathing from a hose running to the outside (or maybe even borrow an oxygen tank from a medical supply place).

I’ve Almost Got This One Sorted Out. One More Thing, Is She A Good Cook ?



Definitively diagnosing this sort of thing over the internet is impossible. Although outgassing sounds like a really good guess.

But it doesn’t matter. Sell the car and buy something else. You have little choice. The only suggetion I can make is to spend some testdrive time onn the candidate vehicles with her in the passenger seat. Hopefully you’ll find one that won’t affect her in this way.

Hybrid Makes You Sick ?

Links to articles:


What happens if she sits in the car, engine off, parked?

As for predicting it’s going to rain in a couple minutes…

anyone can do it.

ZW, “What happens if she sits in the car, engine off, parked?”

Oh sure, that takes care of the problem when He’s not going anywhere, but He wants to know how to handle this when they’re driving somewhere, together. Besides, that borders on down right cruelty.

If anyone can predict rain then how come 2 canoes pulled up to my dock yesterday and 3 strangers got up there, ran like mad across my yard to escape the the sudden pouring down rain ? Do you suppose they weren’t anyone ?


Simply a question to help with a diagnosis,did she get sick on the test drive?