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Carbon Monoxide Hazard in Cars

Discussion in 'Technical' started by ramjn, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    I was going through the owner's manual of my 04 Civic and got to see this piece of information. It is clearly mentioned that Carbon Monoxide will enter the vehicle but should not pose any issues if the car is maintained properly. The warning in the box says that it can cause unconsciousness and even kill the occupants. This is something I am not aware of. I was of the impression that this toxic gas entering the car may be due to some issues in the car itself.

    Any thoughts, guys?

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
    5 people like this.
  2. sungoa2010


    Valid points ram. You might have remembering an incident at chennai where the occupant in santro died because of exhaust gas entered in cabin where the vehicle was completely closed in and AC was in recirculation mode.

    1. I always park with rear side towards the open area in garrage.
    2. Never allow my kid/wife to stand near the rear side while idling the car especially during cold start
    3. Rear boot door shouldn't be open while engine on. This will alow the gas to enter the cabin and if we are using AC then it gets recirculated inside.
    2 people like this.
  3. Only with trunk lid open or a damage to exhaust pipe.

    Other thing to note is even when every thing fine i.e no trunk lid open or damage to Exhaust,still CO can get in via open windows in far higher quantity.
    I drive about 70 kms in B2B traffic every day, some times unknowingly I put on ac mode to take out side air and I have fallen sick by the time I reached office or home.

    Same effect happens when driven with windows down,I am not big fan on of AC and closed windows but current pollution levels forbids me from downing windows.
  4. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Yes. I remember that incident and there were couple of more incidents like this. One in Indica and another in an Alto. There were no clear explanation for the reason behind those incidents.
  5. fiatlover

    fiatlover Esperto

    Grande Punto 1.4
    One such incident recently happened in Trivandrum in a hospital compound. A person died in an Alto or 800 and was noticed only on the third day. This was not accidental as per reports. In this case, police was suspecting murder because the exhaust was connected to the cabin using some pipe and the car was locked from inside.
  6. saroshmk


    It is amazing how little we are aware of some of the dangers lurking around us.
  7. Surya

    Surya Superiore

    Namma Bengaluru
    Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs after enough inhalation of carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas, but, being colorless, odorless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating, it is very difficult to detect. Carbon monoxide is a product of incomplete combustion of organic matter due to insufficient oxygen supply to enable complete oxidation to carbon dioxide (CO2). It is often produced in domestic or industrial settings by motor vehicles and other gasoline-powered tools, heaters, and cooking equipment. Exposures at 100 ppm or greater can be dangerous to human health.

    Symptoms of mild acute poisoning include lightheadedness, confusion, headaches, vertigo, and flu-like effects; larger exposures can lead to significant toxicity of the central nervous system and heart, and even death. Following acute poisoning, long-term sequelae often occur. Carbon monoxide can also have severe effects on the fetus of a pregnant woman. Chronic exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can lead to depression, confusion, and memory loss. Carbon monoxide mainly causes adverse effects in humans by combining with hemoglobin to form carboxyhemoglobin (HbCO) in the blood. This prevents oxygen binding to hemoglobin, reducing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, leading to hypoxia. Additionally, myoglobin and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase are thought to be adversely affected. Carboxyhemoglobin can revert to hemoglobin, but the recovery takes time because the HbCO complex is fairly stable.

    Treatment of poisoning largely consists of administering 100% oxygen or providing hyperbaric oxygen therapy, although the optimum treatment remains controversial.[2] Oxygen works as an antidote as it increases the removal of carbon monoxide from hemoglobin, in turn providing the body with normal levels of oxygen. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common type of fatal poisoning in many countries. Historically, it was also commonly used as a method to commit suicide, usually by deliberately inhaling the exhaust fumes of a running car engine. Modern automobiles, even with electronically-controlled combustion and catalytic converters, can still produce levels of carbon monoxide which will kill if enclosed within a garage or if the tailpipe is obstructed and exhaust gas cannot escape normally.

    DON’T idle the car in a garage or enclosure -- Fumes can build up very quickly always open up and give sufficient time for oxygen mixing in the air .
  8. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Thanks for this post, Surya. That is some more information about CO which is more frightening. :(

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