Explorer’s Leaky Exhaust Making Owners Sick?

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Explorer's Leaky Exhaust

Potential Issue with Models from 2011 to 2017 Leads to Hundreds of Complaints, Could Prove Dangerous

Hundreds of Ford Explorer owners have already complained about exhaust leaks entering the cabin of the vehicle while driving. And Ford has released a total of three repair bulletins regarding the issue. But as CBS News is reporting, the problem hasn’t been fixed and could prove potentially dangerous.

Owners claim that a rotten egg or sulfur smell enters the vehicle while driving. The problem specifically occurs under acceleration while the air conditioning is in circulation mode. CBS reports that at least 450 complaints have been filed, covering Explorers produced between 2011 and 2017. Owners claim that fumes enter the vehicle through unsealed seams in the rear.


At least one of those complaints resulted from what could have been a fatal crash. Newport Beach police officer Brian McDowell was behind the wheel of his 2014 Explorer when, without explanation, he suddenly passed out and crashed into a tree. McDowell has no memory of the accident, and toxicology reports show that he had no drugs or alcohol in his system.

Doctors couldn’t explain it at first, as multiple tests showed no medical reason why McDowell had passed out. Then he remembered hearing about the complaints regarding the Explorer’s leaky exhaust. And, of course, exhaust fumes can easily make someone pass out, so it could possibly explain what happened that ill fated day.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation in July. But the Administration states that no injuries have occurred as a result of the exhaust leaks. Ford acknowledges the problem but hasn’t notified customers and can’t seem to come up with a fix. CBS references a deposition from 2015, when a Ford representative called it a “design issue” and said “we’re working on it.”

Ford reportedly also told CBS News that “in rare circumstances, there have been instances where customers detected an exhaust odor in Explorers,” adding the issue “poses no safety risk.” McDowell certainly disagrees, and has filed a lawsuit against the automaker. The Newport Beach Police has since installed carbon monoxide detectors in all of their patrol cars.

Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other sites.

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