How does carbon monoxide get in cars?

How do carbon monoxide leaks happen in cars? And how can you detect them?

Five Austin police cars were reported for carbon monoxide in one weekend, but Austin officers aren't the only ones with concerns.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating 154 complaints from Ford Explorer owners smelling exhaust fumes inside of their vehicles. Some had concerns about exposure to carbon monoxide.

NHTSA says Ford Motor Company did issue two service bulletins to technicians to help fix what they believe is causing the problem.

Some vehicle owners reported little or no improvement after their car was serviced.

KVUE reached out to Ford for their response on the government investigation. A representative said they take the safety of their customers very seriously and are cooperating with the investigation.

So we wanted to know, does this happen to other cars, too? If so, how does it happen?

Henry Lewis King Jr. is an Assistant Professor in the Automotive Technology department at Austin Community College.

He says an air conditioner sucking in gas from an exhaust leak under the car is actually the most common way dangerous gases can get inside.

"The places where you can actually get an exhaust leak are in these little junctions called gaskets. You can also have splits in the actual metal. Let's say you get into a fender bender or jump over a curb you can actually bend the exhaust system to where you're gonna get a leak," King explained. 

King says dangerous gases can also leak into your car if water gets inside and a mechanic needs to pull the car's drain caps out. It can pose a real problem if they are not replaced properly.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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