Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Cars

December, January, and February are the months when the most fatalities occur from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas formed during incomplete burning of fuels, such as gasoline, kerosene, natural gas, oil, coal, or wood. Wisconsin State Law now requires carbon monoxide detectors in all residences in Wisconsin. With the requirement of detectors in homes, fatalities have gone down. Even with the decrees of fatalities, every year a large number of incidences are reported with a running vehicle as the main culprit behind the poisoning.

Safety Precautions Installed

Since the 1980’s vehicle manufacturers have equipped vehicles with complex catalytic converters that convert carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, which is harmless. Vehicles are also equipped with computer technology and oxygen sensors that can detect leaks or other malfunctions. Even with today’s advances, you still need to play it safe when letting your vehicle run to warm up during the winter. Even the most efficient gas engines still create carbon monoxide. The good news, it’s easy to reduce your exposure to carbon monoxide by following a few simple tips.


Tips were found on Please visit for a more detailed explanation of each tip.

  1. Regularly inspect and repair your exhaust system
  2. Regularly inspect your emissions system and make sure your engine is tuned
  3. Avoid driving a car with holes in the floor or trunk, or with the trunk or liftgate open
  4. Never allow passengers to ride in a truck bed covered with a canopy
  5. Avoid running your car inside a garage or any other enclosed space
  6. Never run your engine if the vehicle is partially covered in snow
  7. Install a 12 vol or battery-powered carbon monoxide detector

Health Effects

Exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can produce headaches, dizziness, fatigue, confusion, and shortness of breath. Higher exposures result in a severe headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, irregular heartbeat, and unconsciousness.

If you think you are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning in your car, get to fresh air and seek medical help. We also recommend that you bring your vehicle in to be serviced to help determine where the leak is coming from.

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Posted in Safety, Service News