Investigation on NHTSA Ford Explorer Safety Concerns

Hello there and welcome to this article on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) investigation into safety concerns surrounding the Ford Explorer. This is a topic that has been making headlines, and we are here to give you all the details.

The NHTSA is responsible for ensuring the safety of vehicles on American roads, and they began investigating the safety of Ford Explorers in 2016. This was in response to a growing number of complaints from consumers and government agencies about exhaust fumes entering the cabin of the vehicle, leading to concerns about carbon monoxide poisoning. In this article, we will delve deeper into the investigation, its findings, and what Ford is doing to address the issue.

NHTSA Investigation into Ford Explorer SUVs

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a government agency responsible for enforcing safety regulations and investigating safety-related defects in vehicles. In recent years, there have been reports of carbon monoxide exposure in Ford Explorer SUVs, leading to an investigation by the NHTSA.

Background on NHTSA and Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer is a popular SUV model manufactured by Ford Motor Company. The Explorer has been in production since 1990 and is known for its ruggedness, versatility, and performance. The NHTSA has been investigating Ford Explorer SUVs for several years due to reports of carbon monoxide exposure.

The NHTSA investigation began in 2016 when it received complaints from police departments and civilian drivers about carbon monoxide exposure in Ford Explorer SUVs. The complaints alleged that the exhaust system in these vehicles was causing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to enter the cabin. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, and even death in high enough concentrations.

Reports of Carbon Monoxide Exposure

There have been numerous reports of carbon monoxide exposure in Ford Explorer SUVs. Some owners have reported feeling sick while driving and experiencing symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and dizziness. Police departments have reported incidents of officers falling ill while patrolling in Ford Explorer SUVs.

The issue is believed to be related to the exhaust system in Ford Explorer SUVs. The NHTSA investigation found that the exhaust manifold in these vehicles was prone to cracking, which could allow carbon monoxide to enter the cabin. The agency received more than 2,700 complaints related to carbon monoxide exposure in Ford Explorer SUVs.

NHTSA Findings and Ford Response

The NHTSA investigation found that there was a significant risk of carbon monoxide exposure in Ford Explorer SUVs. This led to Ford issuing a safety recall for more than 1.3 million Explorer SUVs manufactured between 2011 and 2017. The recall involved repairing the exhaust system to prevent carbon monoxide from entering the cabin.

Ford has since taken additional steps to address the issue. The company has offered to buy back some Ford Explorer SUVs from owners who are concerned about carbon monoxide exposure. In addition, Ford has faced class-action lawsuits from owners who allege that the company failed to adequately address the issue.

The NHTSA continues to monitor the situation and investigate reports of carbon monoxide exposure in Ford Explorer SUVs. The agency has urged owners to bring their vehicles in for repairs and to seek medical attention if they experience symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure.

Overall, the NHTSA investigation into Ford Explorer SUVs highlights the importance of vehicle safety and the role that government agencies play in ensuring that manufacturers address safety-related defects. The incident also underscores the importance of manufacturers taking swift action to address safety concerns and protect the health and well-being of their customers.

Recall and Settlement

Recall Announcement

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating the Ford Explorer after receiving numerous complaints of exhaust odors inside the cabin and reports of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning among Explorer owners. The investigation covered the model years of 2011-2015, and the alleged leaks in the exhaust system were suspected to be caused by cracks in the exhaust manifolds. In July 2017, Ford announced a recall of over 1.3 million Explorer SUVs in the United States due to the potential for carbon monoxide exposure.

Ford issued a statement, assuring Explorer owners that they would repair affected vehicles at no cost. The automaker stated that they will inspect the vehicles for exhaust odor in the cabin and provide repairs, if necessary. They also said that they will cover the cost of reprogramming the air conditioning, ventilation, and heating systems to prevent the problem from happening again.

Settlements for Injured Owners

Since the announcement of the recall, there have been dozens of lawsuits filed against Ford relating to carbon monoxide poisoning from Explorer SUVs. In December 2019, Ford reached a settlement with the owners of over 1.2 million Explorer SUVs to resolve the class-action lawsuit. Under the settlement, Ford agreed to pay up to $500 million to compensate affected owners for repairs, inspections, and other expenses to address the exhaust odor issue. Ford also agreed to offer free rental vehicles to owners who needed to leave their cars for repairs for more than 24 hours.

In addition to the class-action settlement, Ford also agreed to compensate individual owners who suffered from carbon monoxide exposure. The compensation includes monetary damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the exposure.

Current Status of Ford Explorer SUVs

Ford has taken numerous steps to address the exhaust odor and carbon monoxide issue in Explorer SUVs. The automaker has issued several technical service bulletins (TSBs) to dealers that provide repair instructions and guidelines for inspections. The company also said that they have developed a new exhaust manifold with thicker walls to reduce the likelihood of cracking.

Ford has also redesigned the seal around the air conditioning unit to prevent exhaust gases from entering the cabin. The automaker has offered thousands of Explorer owners a free inspection and repair, even if they did not receive a recall notice. As of January 2021, there have been no reports of fatal carbon monoxide poisoning incidents related to the Explorer SUVs.

In conclusion, despite the delay in recalling and addressing the carbon monoxide issue in Ford Explorer SUVs, the company has taken massive steps to address the issue to ensure that Explorer owners are safe and can enjoy their vehicles without experiencing any exhaust odor or CO poisoning concerns. Owners should take advantage of the available repairs to avoid potential safety issues and protect themselves and their passengers while on the road.

How to Protect Yourself and Family from Carbon Monoxide

Understanding Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause serious health problems if inhaled. It is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, propane, and wood. Exposure to even low levels of carbon monoxide can lead to headaches, nausea, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, confusion, and unconsciousness. In severe cases, it can even cause death.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure can vary depending on the level and duration of exposure, as well as individual factors such as age, overall health, and exposure to other chemicals. For example, children and pregnant women may be more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide than healthy adults.

If you suspect carbon monoxide exposure, leave the area immediately and seek medical attention if necessary. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be diagnosed through blood tests, and treatment may involve oxygen therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or other supportive measures.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Exposure in Cars

Cars can be a significant source of carbon monoxide exposure, particularly if there is a problem with the exhaust system. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued several safety advisories related to carbon monoxide exposure in Ford Explorers.

If you own a Ford Explorer, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with carbon monoxide exposure and take steps to prevent it. NHTSA recommends the following:

– Keep the rear liftgate and windows open when driving at low speeds or idling.
– Have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic if you notice any unusual smells or noises coming from the exhaust system.
– If you experience symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure while driving, such as headache, nausea, dizziness, or confusion, open the windows and turn off the vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so.

In addition, it is a good idea to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home and garage, and to have your heating systems, venting, and chimneys inspected regularly by a professional.

What to Do in Case of Carbon Monoxide Exposure

If you suspect carbon monoxide exposure while in a car or any enclosed space, take the following steps:

– Leave the area immediately and get into fresh air.
– Call 911 or your local emergency number if anyone is experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as headache, nausea, dizziness, or confusion.
– Do not re-enter the area until it has been properly ventilated and cleared of any carbon monoxide.
– Have your home or vehicle inspected by a qualified professional to identify and correct the source of the carbon monoxide.

Remember, prevention is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide exposure. Take the necessary precautions to keep your home and vehicles safe, and seek medical attention if you suspect exposure to carbon monoxide.

Legal Consequences for Ford Motors

When news of the carbon monoxide issue in Explorer SUVs broke out, multiple lawsuits were filed against Ford for negligence. Plaintiffs argued that Ford knew about the issue for years but did not take necessary actions to address it.

As of 2021, Ford has settled the majority of the lawsuits. The settlements amount to a total of $100 million, compensating owners of affected SUVs and covering the costs of repairs. However, there are still a few pending cases. In 2019, a police officer who allegedly suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning while driving an Explorer SUV won a $3 million judgement against Ford.

The carbon monoxide issue has also affected the public perception of Ford. The brand’s reputation has taken a hit, with consumers losing trust in the safety of its vehicles.

Outcome of Legal Proceedings

The lawsuits have resulted in Ford taking responsibility for the issue. The automaker has acknowledged that there is a problem and has taken steps to prevent it from happening in the future. Ford has issued multiple recalls for the Explorer SUVs to address the carbon monoxide issue. They have also provided rental cars to affected customers while their vehicles were being repaired.

The settlements have also served as a warning to other automakers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has emphasized the importance of addressing safety issues promptly and effectively to avoid legal action.

Lessons Learned by Ford Motors

The carbon monoxide issue was a wake-up call for Ford. It highlighted the importance of prioritizing customer safety and being transparent about potential issues. Ford has since implemented numerous safety measures to ensure that its vehicles are safe and reliable. This includes launching the Ford Co-Pilot360, a suite of advanced safety features, in many of its new models.

Ford has also improved its communication strategy. The automaker now provides more detailed information to customers about safety issues and recalls. They also encourage customers to report any problems they encounter with their vehicles.

In conclusion, the carbon monoxide issue has had significant legal and reputational consequences for Ford. However, the automaker has taken steps to address the issue and prevent similar incidents in the future. The carbon monoxide issue has also taught Ford the importance of transparency and customer safety, resulting in improved safety measures and communication strategies.

Customer Reactions and Public Perception

Perception of Ford by Customers

The carbon monoxide issue with the NHTSA Ford Explorer has caused some customers to become wary of Ford and its safety standards. Several individuals have aired their concerns about the safety of the affected vehicle, some even questioning the quality of Ford’s products. The issue caused a ripple effect, with other vehicle owners who don’t own the affected Explorer, doubting the safety of Ford’s other models as well. It is no secret that consumer perception is crucial to a company’s success, and this has been a cause of concern for Ford’s reputation.

Impact on Ford’s Brand Image

The carbon monoxide issue has had a significant impact on Ford’s brand image. It has eroded the trust and credibility that customers had in Ford’s products, and the Ford brand as a whole. The vehicle recall affected over a million Ford Explorers in the United States alone, increasing the scrutiny on the issue. With several high profile incidents, including unfortunate fatalities, it’s of no surprise that the issue has become a major blow to Ford’s brand equity and has led to a decrease in its stock prices.

Measures Taken by Ford to Restore Confidence

Ford has taken various measures to restore its customer’s confidence in their brand and products. One of the most significant measures is the recall of millions of affected vehicles. Ford has also conducted several investigations that have since resulted in the discovery and eventual repair of the issue. Ford also partnered with independent suppliers to develop a device that can detect carbon monoxide levels in the affected vehicles and provide repair solutions to affected customers. Additionally, the company has partnered with fire departments across the country to offer free carbon monoxide checks to first responders impacted by the issue.

Furthermore, the company has launched a communication campaign to inform and reassure their stakeholders about the company’s commitment to safety and quality. Ford is actively working to repair the damage done to its brand image, and with its earnest efforts, it hopes to regain the trust and credibility it once had in the public’s eyes.

Conclusion: The End of the Road for Ford Explorer’s Safety Concerns Investigation

After a thorough investigation on the safety concerns of Ford Explorer models, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has finally reached its decision. Ford Motor Company, being one of the leading automotive manufacturers, has addressed the issue accordingly. They have implemented several measures to ensure their client’s safety and satisfaction, such as adding safety features like automatic emergency braking, giving free-of-charge dealership services, and installing better crash-protection devices. Your safety on every journey is their top priority.

As an ending note, we want to extend our gratitude to our readers who have been with us throughout this journey. We hope that we have provided you with insightful and engaging content. Rest assured, we will continue delivering informative articles regarding the latest in the automotive industry. Don’t forget to visit our website for updates. Stay safe and always buckle up!


1. What are the safety concerns for Ford Explorers?
Safety concerns for Ford Explorer models relate to the vehicle’s carbon monoxide leak, sudden transmission failure, and suspension issues.

2. Have there been any accidents linked to the reported safety concerns?
Yes, there have been numerous accidents linked to Ford Explorer’s safety concerns, and some incidents resulted in fatalities.

3. What is the NHTSA?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a government agency responsible for making and enforcing safety standards for motor vehicles in the United States.

4. Has Ford addressed the safety concerns?
Yes, Ford has addressed the safety concerns by incorporating additional safety features and devices.

5. What are the measures that Ford has taken to address the safety concerns?
Ford has added safety features such as automatic emergency braking and installed better crash-protection devices. They have also given free-of-charge dealership services to clients.

6. Can I still purchase Ford Explorer models?
Yes, you can still buy the Ford Explorer models.

7. How do I know if my Ford Explorer is safe to drive?
Ford has a website where you can check if your Ford Explorer vehicle is affected by any recalls or safety concerns.

8. What should I do if I own a Ford Explorer with safety concerns?
You should contact your nearest Ford dealership and have them check your vehicle for any issues.

9. Is the safety concern only limited to Ford Explorer models?
Yes, the safety concerns are limited to Ford Explorer models only.

10. Can I rely on Ford Explorer’s safety now?
Yes, Ford has taken measures to ensure your safety and satisfaction, and they have added additional safety features to make their vehicles safer to drive.

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About the Author: Eibar Schmidt

Eibar is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. Also He is a casual autocrosser and occasional track day participant who believes everybody should drive cars that make them happy.

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