“U.S. Government Concludes Ford Explorer Exhaust Probe Without Issuing Recall”

The U.S. auto safety regulators closed a six-year-old investigation into 1.47 million Ford Explorers over reports of exhaust odors in vehicle compartments and exposure to carbon monoxide. After an in-depth investigation that included review of more than 6,500 consumer complaints from 2011-2017 model year vehicles – including police versions of the large crossover – no evidence of a safety issue was found. However, issues with dealers, government fleets and others modifying the Police Interceptor vehicles were discovered. This so-called “upfitting” of sirens, lights, cages, and auxiliary power was found to be the cause of the highest measured carbon monoxide levels in tested vehicles. In 2017, Ford agreed to cover the costs of specific repairs in every Police Interceptor Explorer that may be tied to after-market installation of police equipment. Ford also issued a procedure in 2017 as part of a Field Service Action that includes a heating and cooling reprogramming operation as part of a field service action. Tests demonstrated a substantial reduction of carbon monoxide levels due solely to reprogramming. Even without FSA repairs, no vehicles unaffected by upfitter issues or prior crash damage were identified with carbon monoxide levels that exceed accepted occupational exposure levels. The city of Austin, Texas in 2017 temporarily removed all 400 of the city’s Ford Explorers from use, all of which were repaired and returned to service after getting FSA repairs.

The investigation into the Ford Explorers conducted by the U.S. auto safety regulators is a prime example of the importance of consumer safety. Despite the reports of exhaust odors and exposure to carbon monoxide, the investigation found no evidence of a safety issue in the vehicles. However, issues with dealers, government fleets, and others modifying the Police Interceptor vehicles were discovered. This so-called “upfitting” of sirens, lights, cages, and auxiliary power was found to be the cause of the highest measured carbon monoxide levels in tested vehicles. Ford agreed to cover the costs of specific repairs in every Police Interceptor Explorer that may be tied to after-market installation of police equipment. Ford also issued a procedure in 2017 as part of a Field Service Action that includes a heating and cooling reprogramming operation as part of a field service action. Tests demonstrated a substantial reduction of carbon monoxide levels due solely to reprogramming. Even without FSA repairs, no vehicles unaffected by upfitter issues or prior crash damage were identified with carbon monoxide levels that exceed accepted occupational exposure levels.

The importance of consumer safety is paramount, and the investigation into the Ford Explorers conducted by the U.S. auto safety regulators is a prime example of that. Consumer safety should always be the top priority, and it is reassuring to know that the investigation found no evidence of a safety issue in the vehicles. However, the investigation did find issues with dealers, government fleets, and others modifying the Police Interceptor vehicles, which was found to be the cause of the highest measured carbon monoxide levels in tested vehicles. Ford took the appropriate steps to address this issue, and the city of Austin, Texas was able to repair and return all 400 of their Ford Explorers back to service. It is important to always be aware of potential safety issues, and to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of consumers.