Ford has been under scrutiny for a major problem related to exhaust fumes leaking into passenger cabins. Since October, 2017, Ford has addressed the issue by providing a “complimentary service” for affected car models, which includes 1.4 million model years 2011-2017 Explorers in North America that are not used for police purposes. This service, which is available until December, 2018, includes replacing liftgate drain valves, resetting air conditioning systems and sealing the SUV rears.
But the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) claims these measures are inadequate. CAS reports that complaints relating to carbon monoxide leaks have grown 900% since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched its investigation in July, 2016. This number may also be deceptively low because it excludes the 2000 complaints that were handled by Ford from its consumers. NHTSA reported 41 injuries and three crashes resulting from the carbon monoxide seepage. Those affected by the fumes have complained of nausea, headaches, and dizziness from alleged carbon monoxide exposure.
CAS has criticized Ford for failing to issue a true recall, which it believes is the proper means to remedy this defect. CAS has stated in its letter to Ford that exhaust leaks in Ford Explorers can be permanently repaired only through an official recall of the vehicles. CAS’s letter has requested that Ford make the necessary changes to remove and replace damaged exhaust manifolds that permit carbon monoxide to seep into the passenger cabin. NHTSA’s original 2016 investigation into Ford Explorers was expanded to include the exhaust manifolds in these cars.
Ford has issued technical service bulletins pertaining to exhaust fumes since 2012. Despite these bulletins, CAS says owners continue to complain about exhaust fumes even after their cars were brought to dealerships for repairs. Along with CAS, a number of organizations have issued complaints to the automaker. The letter submitted by CAS warns that the automaker is fortunate that no deaths from carbon monoxide have occurred yet, but is foolish to assume that there will be no serious injuries or deaths if immediate and decisive action is not taken immediately.
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