Ford Explorer Carbon Monoxide Lawsuit Filed As NHTSA Expands Investigation
Federal traffic safety officials have expanded an investigation into carbon monoxide leaks with Ford Explorer SUVs, indicating that nearly 800 complaints of problems have been received.
The expanded Ford Explorer carbon monoxide investigation (PDF) was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on July 27, week after an Austin, Texas police officer filed a carbon monoxide lawsuit indicating that the problems have affected a number of police vehicles as well.
Sergeant Zachary LaHood filed the complaint against Ford Motor Company and Leif Johnson Ford in late June, seeking more than $1 million for carbon monoxide poisoning injuries he suffered in March. According to LaHood, he became nauseous and almost passed out, nearly resulting in an auto accident, after carbon monoxide filled the cabin of the vehicle. He suffers from headaches, blurred vision and cognitive problems as a result.
The NHTSA first began investigating carbon monoxide leaks in model year 2011 through 2017 Ford Explorer SUVs in July 2016, after receiving 154 reports of exhaust odors permeating the vehicles. The expanded investigation by the Office of Defect Investigations (ODI) indicates that it has now received a total of 791 such reports. Those include 11 reports involving Ford Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles.
Once the NHTSA looked at all of Ford’s records, it determined that there have been at least 2,400 owner complaints, warranty claims, dealer field reports and legal claims involving 2,051 vehicles.
According to the NHTSA, there have been at least three auto accidents and 41 injuries linked to the problem, with those injuries including loss of consciousness, nausea, headaches and light-headedness.
“Through cooperation with police agencies, ODI recently learned that the Police Interceptor version of the Ford Explorer is experiencing exhaust manifold cracks, which appear to present a low level of detectability, and may explain the exhaust odor,” the investigation update states. “During the EA (engineering analysis), the root cause, frequency, and safety consequence of these manifold cracks will be evaluated, as will the extent to which non-police Ford Explorers are experiencing cracked exhaust manifolds.”
In addition to LaHood’s lawsuit, at least one other class action lawsuit over Ford Explorer carbon monoxide leaks has been filed.
Ford appears to have been aware of the problem for some time. The NHTSA and the class action lawsuit note that in December 2012 and July 2014, the company issued two “technical service bulletins” instructing dealers on ways to address the problem. However, some owners reported that the repairs did not alleviate the issue.
Carbon monoxide is one of the leading causes of poisoning deaths in the U.S., since the toxic gas has no color, odor or taste, lacking irritating factors that typically allow someone to detect it’s presence. While the vehicle fumes containing carbon monoxide should be more apparent, if individuals fail to leave the vehicle or promptly recognize symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, they may suffer severe injury.
Prolonged exposure to the gas could potentially lead to loss of consciousness, death or permanent brain damage from carbon monoxide poisoning.
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SidneyAugust 2, 2017 at 2:59 pm
I have a 2011 model, and within the first year of ownership, we brought the car in 3 times for the exhaust odor during acceleration, and the dealership said they couldn't replicate the claim, and that I should always run the a/c on recirculate, which would prevent any outside air from entering the cabin. They were being told by Ford to avoid agreeing with the customer on the claims due to the stag[Show More]I have a 2011 model, and within the first year of ownership, we brought the car in 3 times for the exhaust odor during acceleration, and the dealership said they couldn't replicate the claim, and that I should always run the a/c on recirculate, which would prevent any outside air from entering the cabin. They were being told by Ford to avoid agreeing with the customer on the claims due to the staggering amount it will cost them to correct the issue on 1.5 million cars.
JerryJuly 31, 2017 at 5:02 pm
I have a 2016 Ford Explorer. There's approximately 22,000 miles on the odometer. There's no frequency in the use of this vehicle, there has been less since I have learned of the possible carbon monoxide leak. Have the dealership service departments been advised to notify clients? I have ordered a battery operated co2 detector...
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