— Alleged Ford Explorer Police Interceptor carbon monoxide problems have caused a New York police officer to file a lawsuit against the automaker concerning 2011-2017 models.
The proposed class-action lawsuit alleges Ford knew or should have known the SUVs emitted exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide into the cabins, making the Explorers unsafe to drive.
According to the lawsuit, Ford designed the bumpers and tailpipes in a way that allow exhaust fumes to accumulate behind the bumpers and within the interior and exterior panels. Ford also allegedly used defective rear air extractors, liftgates and drain valves that allow fumes to enter the SUVs.
The plaintiff further claims the sheet metal panels, joints and seams allow exhaust fumes to poison Explorer occupants. In addition, parts of the auxiliary air conditioning systems are supposedly defective and located too close to the driver-side rear air extractors.
Plaintiff Peter Lake says he was given a 2016 Ford Explorer police vehicle to drive by the Nassau County Police Department, one of about 120 Explorers used by the department. After carbon monoxide problems were reported in August 2017, the department allegedly gave officers carbon monoxide detectors for the SUVs.
Lake says the detectors routinely activated and each time officers reported the incidents to supervisors.
On February 19, 2018, Lake was involved in a crash allegedly caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, a condition allegedly confirmed by a hospital. The police department contacted Ford, but the lawsuit alleges the exhaust and carbon monoxide fumes continue.
The plaintiff says he is still driving a 2016 Explorer and remains in danger because Ford allegedly won't fix the problems.
The Police Interceptor lawsuit alleges Ford must have known about the dangers to officers because the automaker sent technical service bulletins (TSBs) to dealerships about the issues. However, Lake claims none of the suggested repairs fixed the carbon monoxide problems.
In one bulletin, TSB 12-12-4 titled “Explorer Exhaust Odor in Vehicle,” acknowledges that “[s]ome 2011-2013 Explorer vehicles may exhibit an exhaust odor in the vehicle with the auxiliary climate control system on. Customers may indicate the odor smells like sulfur.”
Another TSB (14-0130) is titled “Exhaust Odor in Vehicle” and adds model years 2014 and 2015 to the previous TSB.
Due to complaints, lawsuits and investigations, Ford announced a program to allegedly prevent carbon monoxide and exhaust fumes from entering the cabins of police vehicles.
Ford says the vehicles aren't defective, but modifications made by law enforcement agencies can cause gaps that allow fumes to enter the vehicles. The automaker said in July 2017 it would begin sending repair teams to police agencies to inspect and repair the vehicles, although Ford denied the problems were the fault of the automaker.
The Ford Explorer Police Interceptor carbon monoxide class-action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York - Peter Lake, et al., v. Ford Motor Company.
CarComplaints.com has owner-reported complaints about Ford Explorers.