Ford Motor Co. has announced that they will offer free repairs for Explorer sport utility vehicles in North America with exhaust leaks. This means 1.4 million vehicles are up for repairs to ensure that carbon monoxide and other exhaust gases won’t get into the SUV.
This follows a decision by the U.S. government to upgrade an investigation that was launched in July, looking into concerns raised about potentially deadly carbon monoxide gas entering Ford Explorer cabins. The vehicles checked were adapted for law enforcement uses.
Following its own investigation, Ford said that the 1.4 million civilian vehicles that were tested for carbon monoxide levels are safe, as the numbers do not exceed what people are exposed to on a daily basis.
This is why the automaker is making an offer for free repairs rather than classify it as a recall.
The U.S government, however, does not have a standard as to what in-vehicle carbon monoxide levels are acceptable or not.
But federal regulators are linking more than 2,700 complaints, 41 injuries, and 3 crashes to carbon monoxide exposure among 2011-2017 explorer vehicles used by police and civilians.
In July of this year, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) upgraded and expanded a probe into reports of exposure to carbon monoxide and exhaust odors in vehicle compartments of 1.33 million Ford Explorer SUVs.
The agency is evaluating preliminary testing that suggests certain driving scenarios could elevate carbon monoxide levels.
To address complaints from vehicle owners and police fleets, Ford issued four technical service bulletins related to the issue of exhaust orders. They also promised to pay for the repairs to correct possible exhaust leaks in police versions of its Ford Explorer SUVs.
Some police have reportedly stopped the use of the Explorer SUVs temporarily over carbon monoxide concerns.
It was also in July when the city of Austin, Texas said that it would remove all 400 of the Ford Explorer SUVs that the city is using for additional testing and repairs. This comes after 20 police officers were found with elevated levels of carbon monoxide.
In addition to leak repairs, Ford is said to reprogram the air conditioner, inspect the sealing of the rear of the vehicle, and replace the liftgate drain valves starting November 1 for the 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S. and about 100,000 in Canada and Mexico.