Ford Faces Lawsuit Over Dangerous Exhaust Fumes Leaking Inside Explorer SUVs

Feb 15, 2017 08:10 AM EST | JP Olvido

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A lawsuit against American company Ford Motor Co. is claiming that the Explorer SUV has a defect. The lawsuit explains the defect as a flaw in the SUV's exhaust system which causes poisonous fumes to leak inside the vehicle.

Ford Explorer exhaust system causes poisonous gas leaks. 154 people have already filed complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over exhaust fumes leaking into the SUV. The complaints are alleging that fumes that have somehow made them all sick and at times incapacitated.

The lawsuit has Brian McDowell, a police officer from Newport Beach, California, claiming that he suffered a traumatic brain injury after passing out inside an Explorer he was driving. Officer McDowell apparently felt sick and nauseous while responding to a call and eventually lost consciousness. He does not remember anything after that until after getting cut out of the vehicle. A dashcam on a patrol vehicle following Officer McDowell's Explorer recorded the accident.

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigative report has stated that driving the vehicle full throttle with the air con in recirculation mode would contribute to an exhaust smell in the car. In addition, the same situation will occur when driving full throttle on a steep climb or when simply just getting onto the freeway.

Officer McDowell's attorney claims that "the defect is in every Explorer on the road". 2011 to 2015 Explorer models are allegedly affected. After the accident, the officer underwent a battery of tests to find out what exactly happened. The results proved nothing was wrong and that the "only thing that makes sense is that he got carbon monoxide poisoning".

Following the incident, the American car manufacturer issued a statement saying, "We take the safety of our customers very seriously and will cooperate with NHTSA on this investigation, as we always do. In rare circumstances, there have been instances where customers detected an exhaust odor in Explorers. While it poses no safety risk, customers can and are encouraged to contact their local Ford dealer to address any concerns."

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