Ford offering to pay for repairs to all police Explorers with carbon monoxide leaks

Still image from Ford video

DEARBORN, Mi. — Ford Motor Company, facing a growing problem with its police version of the popular Explorer, said it will cover the specific costs to repair all vehicles “regardless of age, mileage or aftermarket modifications made after purchase.”

Police departments around the country have complained about high levels of carbon monoxide in the Police Interceptor version of the Explorer.

Ford said the investigation leads it to believe that the problem may be with aftermarket modifications for equipment like light bars and antennas that may not have been sealed properly and allows CO to enter the vehicle. “When a police or fire department routinely installs customized emergency lighting, radios and other equipment, they have to drill wiring access holes into the rear of the vehicle. If the holes are not properly sealed, it creates openings where exhaust could enter the cabin,” the company said in a statement.

Ford said it will cover the specific costs of repairs in every Police Interceptor Utility of concern, regardless of age, mileage or aftermarket modifications made after purchase, which would include:

  1. Check and seal off the rear of the vehicle where exhaust can enter
  2. Provide a new air conditioning calibration that brings in more fresh air during heavy acceleration typical of police driving, and
  3. Check for engine codes that could indicate a damaged exhaust manifold.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in July their investigation of the issue  covers more than 1.3 million Explorers from the 2011 through 2017 model years. The agency made the move after finding more than 2,700 complaints about exhaust odors and fears of carbon monoxide in an investigation started last year. Among the complaints were three crashes and 41 injuries, mostly loss of consciousness, nausea and headaches.

Police in Austin Texas pulled it’s 400 vehicles off the road for repairs. In Auburn Mass., a crash involving an officer last week may have been related to exposure to carbon monoxide in the vehicle. Fairfield installed carbon monoxide detectors in its Explorers. New Britain performed a proactive inspection and found “no vehicles were found to be at risk of excessive CO exposure.”

Ford said a separate similar problem on the consumer version of the Explorer was related to the exhaust manifold. Customers who have this problem can call a dedicated hotline at 888-260-5575.

Ford produced this video about the problem and their plans to fix the vehicle.

Information from CNN is included in this story.