Reports of Exhaust Smell, Carbon Monoxide Concerns Prompt Investigation into Certain Ford Explorer Vehicles

An estimated 638,612 Ford Explorers could be impacted

Reports of Exhaust Smell, Carbon Monoxide Concerns Prompt Investigation into Certain Ford Explorer Vehicles
Image: Ford
July 12, 2016

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation into reports of exhaust entering the occupant compartment of certain model year 2011-2015 Ford Explorer vehicles.

NHTSA says that it has identified 154 complaints from Ford Explorer owners which report the smell of exhaust inside the vehicle. A number of the complaints also express concerns about exposure to carbon monoxide. One of the complaints alleges a low speed crash incident relating to this issue—no injuries were reported.

An estimated 638,612 Ford Explorers could be impacted by this investigation.

In the complaints submitted to NHTSA, vehicle owners indicate that operating the vehicle with full throttle applications (e.g., climbing steep grades or merging onto freeway ramps) and using the air conditioning system in recirculation mode both seem to contribute to the exhaust smell.

According to NHTSA, Ford has previously issued two Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) related to this issue. Ford TSB 12-12-4, dated December 10, 2012, specified sealing and undercoating of certain areas of the rear floor pan and body seams, replacement of the left-side air extractor, and installation of rear lift gate drain valves. It was superseded by TSB 14-0130, dated July 22, 2014, which added additional software changes to the recirculation mode operation of the air conditioning system during full throttle application events. Some vehicle owners report little or no improvement after the TSB remedy.

NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) will evaluate any potential driver related safety concerns caused by this issue. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, ODI will make a determination as to what, if any, additional steps need to be taken in this matter. These steps could include a safety recall of all affected vehicles.

Vehicle owners with questions about the safety of their vehicle should contact their local Ford dealer.

If you believe that your Ford Explorer may be affected by this issue, you can file a complaint to assist in the investigation here.