CSP, Aurora PD report exhaust issues with small number of Ford Explorers

Feds investigating 2,000+ complaints nationwide

DENVER -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating complaints about possible carbon monoxide leaks in Ford Explorers.

According to the NHTSA website, the agency received 791 direct complaints about exhaust odors covering model years 2011-2017. Investigators additionally identified 2,051 "unique vehicles" that appear to relate to the exhaust issue.

Many of the complaints come from law enforcement agencies.

In Austin, Texas, there are reports that measurable levels of carbon monoxide were found in 60 of the police department's 400 Ford Explorers that were tested with carbon monoxide alarms. 

"This is one that Ford Motor Company instinctively would want to get ahead of and get resolved," said Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, "because the Explorer is such an important vehicle for Ford."

It's such an important vehicle because of the numbers sold. More than 1.3 million have been sold since the model year 2011 began.

Minor issues in Colorado

Denver7 checked with several local law enforcement agencies to see if there are similar issues here.

The Colorado State Patrol said it had one Explorer, in its fleet of 16, that had an exhaust leak. Trooper Josh Lewis said the problem was fixed and that the driver never got sick.

Sgt. Chris Amsler, of the Aurora Police Department, said APD had only one or two Explorers affected by exhaust problems, "so there was no major impact to our operations."

None of the other agencies contacted by Denver7 --  Denver PD, Lakewood PD, Jefferson County Sheriff, Arapahoe County Sheriff or Colorado Springs PD reported any exhaust issues.

Explorer a top seller

The Explorer is one of the most popular SUVs on America's highways.

For the last few years, Ford Motor Company has sold well over 200,000 a year.

"I purchased my first one 13 years ago," said Dave Strong. "I owned it for 10 years, put 220,000 (miles) on it, traded it in and got another one."

Strong is now leasing a 2014 Explorer.  

"My lease is up in 30 days," he said. "I will purchase it and have it for another 7, 8 or 9 years."

When asked if he's had any exhaust issues, Strong replied, "Never."

He said he drives to the Midwest and to the Mountains quite a bit.

"If I'm driving back to Iowa in the winter time when the windows are up for 10 hours, I would notice," he said. "Like I said, I'm a heating contractor and I would notice that."

Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt told the Associated Press that Ford has a team working with police, customers and the NHTSA to investigate the reports and solve problems.

Customers with concerns can call a dedicated hotline at 888-260-5575 or contact their dealer. Ford has also set up a website for more information.

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