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Are Ford Explorers Leaking Carbon Monoxide into Cabins?

Nov 17, 2017

Could your car make you ill?

Have you ever been so tired while driving that you almost nodded off at the wheel? Some reasons for this dangerous behavior might include a long work shift, sleep deprivation, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol—all things within the driver’s control.

But if you are driving certain Ford Explorers, there could be more to it.

Ford Explorer customers, including some police officers, have reportedly complained about “symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning including nausea, headaches and dizziness… and losing consciousness while driving”—issues that have Ford auto defects attorneys and consumers concerned.

Originally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) investigation of 2016 included 639,000 2011–2015 Explorers, but was expanded in 2017 to include 1.3 million SUVs spanning model years 2011-2017. Reportedly, complaints alleged “41 injuries and three crashes, with 11 reports coming from police departments” with respect to alleged carbon monoxide fumes in the Explorer and in Explorer Police Interceptor models.

As part of the investigation, Ford reportedly:

  • turned over “2,400 owner complaints, legal claims, and warranty claims”
  • hired third-party researchers to test four (4) Explorers to measure carbon monoxide levels under driving conditions and
  • issued technical service bulletins (“TSBs”) to dealers regarding repairs.

Ford allegedly stated that any carbon monoxide levels found in the tested vehicles were “well below any standards” and/or were “momentary” levels that dissipated quickly. Further, Ford reportedly claims that declining numbers of complaints indicate that repairs pursuant to the TSB’s worked and says “there is no evidence to show exhaust odors or carbon monoxide cause the problems”. It doesn’t appear that the NHTSA agrees.

It’s hard to say what caused the NHTSA to effectively dismiss Ford’s claims and instead upgrade the carbon monoxide investigation to “an engineering analysis of more than 839,635 model year 2011–2017 Ford Explorers”. Perhaps it had something to do with its reported investigation in July of 60 Ford Explorer police vehicles in Austin, Texas in which “carbon monoxide detectors activated in all 60 SUVs”, leading the police department to yank them off the streets. An additional 400 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor SUV’s may also be pulled from the streets.

It will be interesting to follow the investigation for a potential Ford Explorer auto recall.

If you are experiencing any exhaust system issues with a Ford Explorer, or feel you might be driving a “lemon” of any kind, Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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