You’ve cleared the snow off of your car. (check)
You’ve scraped your windows. (check)
You’ve made sure you have plenty of windshield wiper fluid. (check)
You’ve cleared the snow build up both in and around your tailpipe. (Wait… What?)
Every winter, when cleaning off our cars, we faithfully follow the same steps after a snowfall. Satisfied that we can see out of every window, and sure (I hope) that no snow will blow of of our roofs and into other cars on the highway, we head out to our various destinations.
One very important item that many of us forget, though, is to clean off the tailpipe of the car. Snow can not only surround the outside of a tailpipe, it can actually get inside due to plowing or when we back into snow drifts, etc. Snow and ice stuck inside a tailpipe can cause harmful carbon monoxide exhaust gas to seep into your car, causing headaches, dizziness and even death. For an eye-opening look at just how deadly this problem can be, take a look at an article printed about a related tragedy in last year’s Boston Globe.
Before starting your car this winter, please check for snow build up around your tailpipe and clear it, if needed – But don’t stop there. Next, start your engine and make sure you see vapor and some water escaping from the pipe; that’s how you’ll know if the inside of the pipe is clear, too.
I encourage you to add this very important step to your checklist when cleaning your car off this winter. It might not save you time, but it it could save your life or the life of someone you care about.