The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating 2011 to 2015 Ford Explorers for potentially dangerous defects with the exhaust system. Additional model years 2016 and 2017 may also be defective.
Hundreds of consumers filed complaints after noticing a sulfur smell in the cabin of their vehicles. Investigators are unsure of how many people have suffered injury from the exposure to exhaust fumes, but numerous people have filed lawsuits against Ford Motors for injuries and collisions linked to the defect.
What is wrong with the Ford Explorer exhaust system?
The NHTSA opened an investigation after receiving over 150 complaints of “occupants smelling exhaust odors in the occupant compartment.” People were concerned about exposure to fumes in their cars. Exhaust fumes contain various harmful elements such as acetaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. In properly designed vehicles, toxic exhaust fumes are vented outside, away from the cabin of the car.
The leak seems to occur when the Ford Explorer’s climate control system is in circulation mode, the driver is accelerating, and all of the windows are closed. With this restricted ventilation, the gases enter the vehicle through the air vents and stay contained. Occupants report odors of “gas,” “sulfur,” “burnt hair,” and “rotten eggs” inside of their vehicles. The leak likely results from unsealed seams in the SUV.
Police Officer Passes Out and Crashes from His Explorer’s Fumes
Police officer Brian McDowell was responding to a call when he suddenly passed out behind the wheel of his 2014 Ford Explorer police cruiser and crashed into a tree, reports CBS News. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, a dislocated shoulder, and a fractured eye socket. Medical tests and toxicology reports revealed no health issues or controlled substances that could have caused him to faint. “I just had that nauseous feeling and just feeling like I had a headache,” he said. “I just went out. Just like that.”
When Officer McDowell learned of the defect, he realized that exposure to the exhaust is what had caused him to pass out, crash, and nearly lose his life. He is suing Ford over his injuries.
Complaints Against Ford Motors are Pouring In
Officer McDowell’s case is just one of many. Hundreds of thousands of people own model year 2011 to 2015 Ford Explorers, and it is unclear how many of them are defective. The NHTSA is currently only investigating 2011 to 2015 model years, but consumers have also began filing complaints for model years 2016 and 2017.
Below are some of the complaints consumers have left on CarComplaints.com regarding Ford Explorer leaky exhaust systems:
- “When I accelerate fast, the exhaust enters the vehicle from the AC unit…Can’t even imagine hooking up our boat to this vehicle as it will probably kill us with Carbon Monoxide poisoning. My 10-year-old son has had bronchitis four times since we have had this vehicle… possibly related! The smell is extremely worse in the back seat, never mind sitting in the third row! You would probably die a silent death rather quickly! And the worst part of all… Ford’s CEO Mr. Mullaly and Ford as a whole is very aware of this issue.”
- “The car cannot exceed 3,000-3,500 RPM. If you exceed it, a strong exhaust stinking smell comes through the A/C-ventilation system. It seems like the exhaust fumes go directly to the A/C system.”
- “Rotten egg smell is exhaust that flows into the air conditioning ducts and poisons you inside the car. Ford Dealer says they know about problem. My child was injured by fumes. Very dangerous.”
Injured in a Ford Explorer accident? Call Coffey Trial Law or fill out the form below.
If you have been injured in an accident resulting from a defect in a 2011-2017 Ford Explorer, or if you or your family members have been harmed by exposure to exhaust fumes, you may be entitled to compensation. Reports indicate that Ford has known about the issue since 2012 and has failed to fix it or to notify owners. Furthermore, the manufacturer has yet to issue a recall, despite the complaints.
Consumers harmed by defective cars have the right to file a claim for financial recovery. If you believe your Ford Explorer might be leaking exhaust, or for more information about whether you have a valid claim, call Coffey Trial Law and speak to our product liability lawyers today: 954-541-3194.