Odorless toxic fumes



Another idea from an article previously quotedhttp://www.menshealth.com/health/the-10-most-toxic-cars-on-the-road
Change your air filter. All cars have two to three air filters, including an in-dash filter for your A/C and heating vents. That filter is usually made from cloth or paper, Gearhart says, but you can ask your mechanic to install (or buy for yourself) an activated carbon filter. “If it’s just paper or fabric, the filter will just catch particles, but carbon absorbs VOCs,” he says, such as phthalates from vinyl materials.


I recommend against getting car information from a men’s health magazine writer.
Many cars have in-dash filters… many do not. Mine does not.
Where he thinks cars’ third air filters are is beyond me.

He does make an interesting point about the activated charcoal filters, however check carefully to find out what they actually capture. They will capture carbon monoxide, but you shouldn’t have that in your passenger cabin anyway. I’d do a bit of research before assuming they’ll capture outgassing from the polymers in your interior. I’d want to hear from a chemist on this one.


I stopped getting headaches, nausea, dizziness when I drained synthetic oil.

If I sit in car with engine off I get minor respiratory irritations. With blower on still minor irritations. With engine on slightly more irritations. Worst respiratory irritations when driving.

Checked fuel vapor canister. No fuel smells. No CEL.

Checked sunroof drains and AC drain. No carpet moisture.

I’ll pass on the ozone treatment. Thanks.

To clean AC compartment I disassembled vent openings, removed blower motors, and cabin filter to try to clean ducts. It was pretty difficult. Only found small traces of dust/dirt.

Right, car is not worth much so don’t want to throw money away repairing everything.

Please excuse the confusion.

Yes, I wear a face mask. No good! Perhaps I should complain to 3M.

Changed filters. They don’t really work on chemicals. It’s just misleading marketing.


@Barkydog Thank you for your helpful insights!!!

Also, thank you CarTalk community for your feedback. For those that are interested I will update you with some interesting articles I found online regarding engine oil and lead acid batteries.

So far I have not been able to do any car repairs due to my respiratory illness. It’s gotten pretty bad. Perhaps next week I can share more results.


What mask do you wear? A surgical mask won’t do the trick, if that is what you wear. The mask has to force you to breath through the filters and the filters have to trap the offending gases. You might be using an appropriate mask, but you didn’t describe it fully.



Need oxygen tank.


I read most of this and was wondering if something else could be causing the OP to get sick…only in this car.

I know some people will get sick watching a spinning object, or watching certain types of lights.
I know the Op is not watching anything spinning in the car, but that was just an example.

I actually know someone who cannot drive, or even ride as a passenger(with her eyes open if it is snowing large flakes.
The large flakes racing toward the windshield make her so dizzy that she will get sick.

My whole point is " maybe it is not anything toxic.

Has the OP tried to just sit in the car without the keys in the ignition and see what reaction there is.



To be clear I now only have respiratory symptoms including irritation of nose, throat, lungs, coughing. It happens with engine off and more extreme with driving.


Toxic oil fumes causes aerotoxic syndrome. It’s been found on airplanes.

Very interesting no one has ever bothered to test cars which exposes millions of drivers daily.


Maybe because 99% (or more) of people are unaffected? Yours is the first complaint of this type we’ve had here in the years I’ve been reading. Not to say you aren’t affected. Just that if it’s not a problem to the vast majority of people, why would we want to spend $$$ on it?


More likely because it is not a medically-recognized condition and instead is to be found only on health-conspiracy websites.


I originally found cartalk community because I saw other similar complaints that car owners never solved but seemed to be linked to leaking oil seals.


Give it up . you have a problem that can’t be solved on a forum such as this. You were advised to replace your vehicle with one that did not make you sick. I can’t think of anything else but seeking medical help.


You mean lawyers’ websites?


Not even that good. We’re talking the same kinds of sites that talk about the vaccine/autism coverup and how fluoridated water is killing our kids.


If I had seen this earlier I would have recommended 113 posts ago to do a simple test. Form a small dish/cup with a small section of aluminum foil. Extract a small qty of oil from your engine and place it into the cup. Heat the bottom of the cup with a bic lighter until fumes are generated and breathe a bit of it in. Symptoms appear? End all this speculation with a simple test…

Wife doesn’t appreciate the smell of high octane fuel, a high compression ratio and incomplete combustion. Smells like perfume to me :wink:


@TwinTurbo excellent idea!!


Oamadrigal - I just found and read your January 2017 Cartalk.com post entitled “Odorless toxic fumes” yesterday (2/20/18).

Your story sounds very much like what we’ve experienced with several vehicles over the last 10 years or so. Our symptoms are almost identical! And, no mechanic can find anything wrong. We test 0.0 ppm on a professional grade Carbon Monoxide sensor/guage. Some of our problem vehicles have been well-maintained older cars with average mileage for their age, while others have been only 2-3 years old with low mileage, under 30,000 miles in one instance.

We currently have a 2014 Nissan Armada that was “fume-free” until it went to the dealer for a 60,000-mile service the week after Thanksgiving 2017. After this routine service, we cannot stand to drive the vehicle because it is making us sick.

Did you ever find a solution to your problem? This is a real problem–some people are more sensitive to it than others–people like us–but the long-term toxic effect of the fumes on people’s bodies and minds is likely the same.

Regardless, I would like to correspond with you directly or talk to you by phone about this problem. Comparing notes may help both of us find an answer. I’d like to send you the letter that I’ve sent to the lab which worked on the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal as a starting point. If you’re interested, please let me know.


I don’t think Oamadrigal has posted since last year. You would be better off clicking on her avatar and utilizing the message function. I would also strongly recommend you edit your email address out of your post on an open forum


Thank you very much. I’m new to this interface and didn’t know how to use the message function or I would have used it. Again, much obliged!