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Ford Motor Company Will Repair but Not Recall Cars for Carbon Monoxide Leaks

Wednesday, March 07, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

Complaints from police agencies and civilians related to Ford Explorers vehicles led to an investigation by federal regulators in 2017. More than 2700 complaints about lethal carbon monoxide gases entering the car cabins were made. The leaking gases have been linked to three crashes and 41 injuries among police and civilian drivers in Explorer vehicles manufactured between 2011 and 2017.

Repairs, But No Recall

Initial complaints were focused on Explorers that were used as police vehicles. But civilians reported symptoms related to inhalation of noxious gases, such as nausea and headaches. Over several years, the government received more than 1000 civilian complaints about exposure to exhaust fumes. Ford itself received almost 2000 similar complaints. The number of complaints is concerning especially because it is unusual for exhaust fumes to drift into the passenger area.

Ford said it did not detect carbon monoxide levels that exceed normal exposure levels in the affected cars. Ford offered to repair the defect free of charge for owners of more than 1.4 million cars in North America. The company is taking action to address customer concerns, but maintains that there is no safety issue. Instead of issuing a recall, Ford promised to reset the air conditioning system, change the liftgate drain valves, and inspect the sealing in the rear to prevent carbon monoxide and other gases from getting into the car.

NHTSA Investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) enlarged its investigation of exhaust odors and exposure to carbon monoxide months ago. NHTSA has done preliminary testing and found that carbon monoxide may be present in certain cases. While the NTHSA investigation remains open, Ford’s action has been undertaken voluntarily. Still, NHTSA could advocate a future recall if these issues persist.

Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Exposure to carbon monoxide is a serious health concern. It is a colorless, odorless, virtually undetectable gas. Approximately 150 people die yearly from accidental carbon dioxide poisoning from consumer products.

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