Is It Safe to Drive My Car With an Exhaust Leak?

QuestionsCategory: Ask An ExpertIs It Safe to Drive My Car With an Exhaust Leak?
Linda Emma Martin asked 8 months ago
Recently, my 2009 Honda CRV started making a loud noise, particularly when accelerating. I suspect it's an exhaust leak. I have a mechanic appointment in a couple of days, but I need to drive to work tomorrow, which is a 20-minute trip each way. I'm concerned about carbon monoxide (CO) leaking into the cabin, although I haven't smelled exhaust fumes yet. Is it unsafe to drive my car for these short 20-minute commutes? I'm trying to avoid the cost of an Uber, and I can't really skip work. Am I risking my safety by driving to work with this suspected exhaust leak?
1 Answers
Zack Norman Staff answered 8 months ago
Hi there, Linda! Great question, and it's good to see you're prioritizing your personal safety. Driving with an exhaust leak, especially in a vehicle like your '09 Honda CRV, does pose some risks, primarily due to the potential for carbon monoxide (CO) exposure. Here's what you need to know:
  1. Short-Term Driving: For short commutes like yours, the risk is lower, especially if you take certain precautions. However, it's not entirely safe.
  2. Ventilation is Key: Ensure all your windows are open to allow fresh air circulation. CO is odorless and can be present even if you don't smell exhaust fumes.
  3. Monitor Symptoms: Be aware of symptoms of CO exposure, like dizziness, headache, or nausea. If you feel any of these, stop driving immediately.
  4. Urgency in Repair: While you might be okay for a couple of days, don't delay the repair. Prolonged driving with an exhaust leak can lead to more significant problems, including severe health risks and damage to your vehicle.
  5. Alternative Transportation: If possible, consider alternative means of transport for these two days. It might be inconvenient, but it's safer.
  6. Inspection Location: The risk level also depends on where the leak is. If it's near the front of the car, CO might more easily enter the cabin.
Remember, while driving to work might be necessary, your health and safety are paramount. If you choose to drive, take all the precautions mentioned, and keep your trip as brief as possible. Zack - Motor Verso Mechanics Team