Safety group urges Ford to recall Explorers over carbon monoxide issues


WASHINGTON (KXAN) — The Center for Auto Safety is calling on the Ford Motor Company, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to recall all Ford Explorers from 2011-2017.

The non-profit, described as the nation’s leading independent non-profit organization for auto safety, urged the recalls due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to drivers and occupants of the more than 1.3 million vehicles.

In July, the Austin Police Department pulled its nearly 400 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor units off the streets, following carbon monoxide-related issues that started in February 2017.

Ten interceptor units were returned to the streets this month after they were repaired by Ford, part of a wave of units slowly returning to service as the repairs are made. Carbon monoxide alarms going off in one of the repaired interceptors on Oct. 6 were determined to be a false alarm. The department said they did not believe the false alarm was related to Ford’s repairs and were investigating the cause.

On Oct. 13, Ford offered to inspect and repair more than 1.3 million Explorers after receiving more than 2,000 consumer complaints of carbon monoxide leaks. Starting in November, Ford dealers will start to check for leaks in rear lift gate gaskets and seal them if needed. They’ll also reprogram air conditioners to make sure more fresh air circulates in the cabin.

“Why is Ford trying to address a Carbon Monoxide issue in more than 1.3 million Explorers without recalling the vehicles?” Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, wrote.

“Instead of a patronizing suggestion that its customers are imagining things, what would actually provide consumers ‘peace of mind’ would be knowing that the interior of their vehicle provides a safe environment for themselves and their family. With something this potentially dangerous, the responsible step is a full recall – and if Ford will not do it, NHTSA should step in,” Levine said.

The non-profit says they have tried to get Ford to address the issue of reported carbon monoxide in Explorers for several years.

Ford says owners of Explorers made since 2011 should expect a letter in the mail with the information about free inspections and repairs.

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