EMF Measurements of Cars and Trucks

 

by Jens Bil

 

The levels of EMF vary greatly between different models and makes of vehicles. There are many sources of EMF in a vehicle, such as the alternator, ignition system, wiring harness, fuel pump, etc. The design and location of these determine the EMF radiation level at the driverís seat.

 

Measurements on a variety of vehicles were done using a gaussmeter, the TriField meter from Alpha Labs, which is widely available. Eight locations are selected to measure in all the vehicles, mostly where different body parts of the driver would be. The measurements were done with the engine running and unneeded equipment turned off.

 

It is important to understand that these measurements do not produce the full picture of the radiation in a given vehicle. First of all, the TriField meter does not measure frequencies beyond about 100 kilohertz, so radiation from onboard computer control systems are not included. The meter also does not measure below 50 hertz. Where some magnetized metal parts possibly may radiate. Also, the meter is calibrated for 60 hertz, and thus less accurate for the higher frequencies.

 

Some EMF is only generated while the car is moving, such a s from magnetized tires and transmission parts, anti-lock brakes, electronic speedometer, etc. These measurements were only done with the vehicle at a standstill. In ordinary cars, these types of EMF emissions do not make a significant contribution to the overall level of EMF at the driverís seat.

 

These measurements should not be used to choose which vehicle to buy, they are only a rough comparison. A low number is not a guarantee that a vehicle is suitable for a particular person, only that person can determine that through taking the vehicle for a test drive.

 

Also the meter is calibrated for 60 hertz, and thus less accurate for the higher frequencies.

 

Methodology

 

The measurements were done in a standardized way, following these guidelines:

 

 

 

(1)   Top of gas pedal

(2)   Top of brake pedal

(3)   Left-front corner of foot well

(4)   Middle of foot well

(5)   Highest measurement on seat

(6)   Location of driverís left knee

(7)   Location of driverís right knee

(8)   Highest measurement in passenger-side foot well, but only where a foot may actually be placed.

 

Reading the tables

 

For each vehicle, up to ten measurements are shown. The numbers are in the unit miligauss (10milligauss = 1 microtesla). The columns correspond to the eight locations, as shown on the diagram. Location 1 and 4 are done twice; with the engine idling and with the engine revved up.

 

Test point 1 through 7 are places where a driver would be exposed while driving the vehicle. For most people, the highest reading is the most significant.

 

Some electrically sensitive people may be more sensitive in some body parts than in others. In that case, give more weight to the appropriate measurement point.

 

Point eight is only of interest if a sensitive person is largely going to be a passenger, In that case, the back seat is usually better anyway.

 

The highest rating for any vehicle is usually test point 1, with eh engine revved up. This is the gas pedal, where the right foot will receive the measured level of EMF exposure continuously, while driving the car, unless using cruise control. However, cruise control can be problematic in itself.

 

Looking over the tables, a pattern emerges, with trucks tending to have lower readings that cars, Great variation is seen between models of trucks, however. Two model-years of the Ford F-150 V6 truck have very different values, with the 1993 model showing 35 milligauss as the highest reading, while the 2000 model only shows 7 milligauss. The F-150 was redesigned between those model years. The best truck is the Dodge Dakota V8 from 1997, with many close contenders.

 

Some specialty vehicles were measured. That a hybrid car shows up high is no surprise, and it probably would really light up when moving. Hybrid cars are partially electrically driven and have a lot of power-handling equipment on board, which a gaussmeter does not measure well. The author found this car the most bothersome to drive of all vehicles tested.

 

The number of cylinders in the engine do not seem to be significant which is surprising as there are more spark plugs to fire. Perhaps the reason is that the extra cylinders tend to be further from the driver.

 

The table does not show any measurement for the Prius with a revved up engine, as the computer control refuses to do that at a standstill.

 

The 1966 Volkswagen has the engine in the back and shows nice low numbers. Had the car been longer, it would have shown much better numbers yet. The EMF measured came largely from the battery cable under the rear seat, and the ignition key.

 

The best gasoline-powered cars are the 1987 Dodge Aries Wagon and the 1991 Cadillac Sedan deVille . The 1982 diesel Mercedes came in as the overall best, when the alternator and cruise control were disconnected. At those low levels, EMF from the speedometer and other moving pars become dominant when the car was running. With further work, that car got down to only 0.02 milligauss. More recent diesel vehicles are unlikely to get as good, as they have more electronics, including electronic fuel injectors.

 

Copyright © Jen Bil, 2002, 2007.†† May be reproduced for non-commercial use.

 

Vans and Wagons

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Engine Idling†††††††††††††††† †††††† Engine Revved

Type

Year

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

1

4

Chevy Astro

1992

110

40

20

12

3

4

8

100

120

20

Dodge Aries Wagon

1987

5

7

30

7

0.8

1

1

2

6

8

Dodge Caravan

1988

5

6

40

20

3

3

2

4

5

20

Dodge 1500V8 van

1998

60

22

10

20

2

28

4

14

100

30

Ford Econoline

1988

35

10

5

20

3

1

4

15

110

100

Ford Taurus SE Wagon

2000

14

6

90

20

9

15

6

4

50

50

Mercury Sable Wagon V6

1997

15

40

90

50

10

15

12

5

20

25

Toyota LE Van

1989

5

5

2

3

10

4

8

5

12

10

 


 

Cars

†††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††† Engine Idling†††††††††††††††† †† Engine Revved

Type of car

Year

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

1

4

Acura Integra

1990

15

13

22

8

1.5

1.5

1

5

25

20

Buick Century

1987

90

40

90

-

9

20

15

25

120

60

Cadillac Sedan deVille

1991

8

4.5

4

4

1

1

1.5

5

10

5

Dodge Intrepid

1998

40

50

90

25

20

22

22

6

40

30

Hyundai Accent

2005

9

20

90

25

8

14

6

6

40

25

Mazda Protťgť

1995

35

25

50

10

8

15

8

6

100

12

Olds Cutlass Ciera

1989

30

25

18

15

8

14

30

15

30

15

Toyota Avalon V6

2000

20

35

100

15

12

7

15

10

20

15

Toyota Camry 4 cyl.

1992

12

35

60

25

15

22

15

8

30

25

Toyota Corolla

1990

60

8

40

25

6

3.5

8

-

25

2.5

 

 

Special Vehicles

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Engine Idling†††† †††††††††† Engine Revved

Type of vehicle

Year

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

1

4

Dodge 2500 diesel V6

1994

3

3

4

2

0.4

0.4

0.6

2

3

2

Mercedes 240D diesel

1983

8

4

3

5

0.8

0.6

1.2

4

3

2

Mercedes 300SD turbo diesel

1982

1.8

1

0.6

0.8

0.3

0.6

0.8

1

1.8

0.8

Mercedes 300SD turbo diesel

(alternator disconnected)

1982

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0..2

0.2

0.4

0.2

Toyota Prius hybrid

2006

80

35

80

-

5

5

4

-

-

-

Volkswagen Beetle

1966

0.7

0.7

2

1.7

1.8

0.8

0.6

2

2

3

 

 


Trucks and SUVís

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Engine Idling†††† †††††††††† Engine Revved

Type of truck or SUV

Year

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

1

4

Chevy Suburban V8

2001

3.5

2.5

2.5

2.5

0.4

0.8

0.8

0.8

20

2.5

Chevy Suburban V8

2004

5

5

8

5

0.6

1

1

2

12

7

Chevy Silverado 2500

2004

4

3

3

3

1

1

0.6

1.5

8

3

Dodge Dakota V8

1997

2

2

2

1

0.1

0.2

0.2

2

3

1.5

Dodge 2500 turbo diesel V6

1994

3

3

4

2

0.4

0.4

0.6

2

3

2

Dodge Ram V8

1998

4

2

4

1.5

0.2

0.4

0.4

2

6

2.5

Ford F-150 V6

1993

14

6

8

2.5

1

1.8

1.8

-

35

6

Ford F-150 V8

1998

3

4

7

5

0.2

0.8

0.6

5

7

6

Ford F-150 V8

1999

4

10

25

15

0.6

1.5

1

3

5

20

Ford F-150 V6

2000

4

6

15

6

1.5

3

2

15

7

15

Ford F-350

1967

15

30

50

5

2

3

3

-

25

7

GMC Jimmy (350)

1989

15

3

2.5

7

0.6

0.8

0.8

2

15

7

Jeep Grand Cherokee

1995

35

90

110

16

12

12

15

12

35

16

Jeep Grand Wagoneer

1989

3

1.2

2.5

2

0.2

0.4

0.4

-

6

2

Jeep Wrangler 4 cyl.

1995

15

2.5

1.5

4

1.5

0.6

2.5

30

40

8

Mazda B2200

1990

3

3

15

2

1.5

1.5

1

3

8

5

Toyota Tacoma LX

1996

25

50

25

10

2.5

4

5

15

25

10