Do you drive a Ford Explorer? If so, you could be endangered by deadly carbon monoxide (CO) leaking from the engine. The Explorers’ defect has spurred federal probes, and Ford already has settled a class action carbon monoxide lawsuit.
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Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning from any source can be dangerous — even fatal. Because the gas is colorless and odorless, it is difficult to detect.
Symptoms from inhaling CO can include nausea, light-headedness, drowsiness and headaches. Inhaling carbon monoxide can cause long-term and debilitating neurological ailments.
Austin Police Wary of Explorers
In late March, Austin police began installing carbon monoxide detectors in all 361 of their Ford Explorers after a police officer likely suffered CO poisoning. (Some Explorers also are used by Houston, Dallas and San Antonio police, along with many other types of vehicles.)
Austin police said Ford notified them of the problem last December. Three CO poisoning incidents have occurred in APD cars since then, and APD has sent two of the vehicles back to Ford.
In the March incident, an officer fell ill while driving an Explorer — which hit a curb — and had to be hospitalized.
450 Explorer Carbon Monoxide Complaints Nationwide
In a similar incident in Newport Beach, CA, a police officer passed out while driving a Ford Explorer and crashed into a tree.
Indeed, the problem is nationwide. For over two years the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has amassed such complaints, which now total more than 450.
Drivers have reported smelling exhaust inside their vehicles. Though CO is odorless, it is part of exhaust and can kill if inhaled.
As the nation’s best-selling mid-size SUV, around one million Explorers are on U.S. roads. Among Explorers from 2011 to 2017 model years, it’s believed CO can leak into passenger compartments via unsealed seams in the rear of the vehicles.
says customer complaints and Ford’s own documents indicate such leaks can happen when the air conditioning is on and the SUV accelerates.
Ford Explorer Recall for Carbon Monoxide?
Despite hundreds of complaints, Ford has not yet issued an Explorer recall for carbon monoxide poisoning.
CBS News says Ford has been aware of the problem since at least 2012, when it issued the first of three repair bulletins to dealers aimed at correcting the problem. Ford instructed dealers to try to repair the defect if motorists brought their Explorer in for other repairs by applying undercoating and sealant to certain parts. A software upgrade also was advised.
However, NHTSA investigators said some owners reported “little or no improvement” after the repairs.
Ford revealed in a 2015 deposition that the problem appears to be a design issue.
Ford Explorer Lawsuits for Carbon Monoxide
The automaker’s inability to fix the problem, failure to alert consumers about it and inaction in terms of an Explorer recall has spurred Ford Explorer lawsuits for carbon monoxide leaks.
One such lawsuit was filed by the Newport Beach police officer who was injured in a CO-related crash. He is claiming compensation for his injuries.
Ford also reportedly has agreed to a settlement in a class action lawsuit in Florida over exhaust fumes leaking into its vehicles. The terms of that settlement are expected to be finalized this month. Also, another class action Explorer lawsuit is pending in New Jersey.
If someone in your family has suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning in a Ford Explorer, notify a motor vehicle product liability lawyer with Jim Adler & Associates. Your family may be entitled to substantial payments for your carbon monoxide injury.