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July 29, 2017

UPDATED: 2011-2017 Ford Explorer Probed for Exhaust Odors, Excessive Carbon Monoxide - Report

UPDATE: Ford is now offering to fix the 2011-17 Explorers for free (10/14).

Reuters via Automotive News reports that the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA is now upgrading and expanding a probe into 1.33 million 2011-2017 Ford Explorer SUVs over reports of “exhaust odors in vehicle compartments and exposure to carbon monoxide that may be linked to crashes and injuries.”

Though Ford has issued multiple technical service bulletins (TSBs) related to the odor issue, the exhaust odor issue complaints continues to surface on both police and civilian Explorer units. The NHTSA said it was aware of more than 2,700 complaints and three crashes that may be linked to exposure to carbon monoxide.

The NHTSA opened a probe in 2016 and then upgraded it to an “engineering analysis”, a step before the agency can formally demand an automaker to conduct a recall if it believes vehicles pose an unreasonable risk to safety.

The NHTSA has yet to find substantial or actual evidence such as a blood test to support claims of alleged injury or crashes due to carbon monoxide poisoning, although the agency, through preliminary testing, has uncovered that carbon monoxide levels in the Explorer may be elevated during certain driving scenarios. However, they are quick to say that “the significance and effect of those levels remains under evaluation.”

This move comes after the Austin, Texas police department pulled 40 Explorers from service after more than half a dozen officers became ill after reporting exposure to carbon monoxide.

NHTSA has conducted field inspections of vehicles and crashes involving police units that occurred while the officers were on duty.

NHTSA also said it recently learned that the Police Interceptor version of the Ford Explorer was experiencing exhaust manifold cracks, “which appear to present a low level of detectability, and may explain the exhaust odor.”

The agency said the reported injuries include “loss of consciousness, with the majority indicating nausea, headaches, or light-headedness.”

Police have reported two crashes that may be linked to carbon monoxide exposure, including a rollover incident, and a third incident involving injuries related to carbon monoxide exposure.

Though CarGuide.PH hasn’t encountered this problem with the Explorer (2012, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2016) but since these units are all built at Illinois Assembly plant, it could be surmised that Philippine-spec units of the Ford Explorer may be affected as well. We have reached out to Ford Philippines regarding this report and we’ll update this page as soon as we get a statement from them.

Source: Automotive News


  1. There is a person who is affected with this. Check out the link to his facebook page

  2. Mine has it. I have a 2013 ford explorer v6 limited. When I accelerate wide open throttle and steady rpm at 3500, that very pungent smell enters the cabin. Dealers know of this but cant address it since it is an engineering issue. Ive done all the service bulletins but to no avail. Buyer beware.

  3. Just had mine serviced to what they call relation to that explorer 2013 2.0 four cylinders.

  4. the priest who got caught recently had no qualms about his ford tho...

  5. Guys, Explorer owners are now gathering to file a formal complaint against Ford regarding this smell. Please follow

    For details. I'm a follower of his page and we also share the same steering problem that Ford does not recognize as dangerous. Im filing a complaint with DTI.

    You may believe you dont have these issues but trust us when we say its there. Sorry but Ford has to own up to its engineering flaw.

  6. I was reading your article and wondered if you had considered creating an ebook on this subject. Your writing would sell it fast. You have a lot of writing talent. GLM aftermarket Mercruiser manifold kits


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