1.3M Ford Explorers investigated for carbon monoxide leaks

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It was a move, according to national reports, that came as USA auto safety regulators investigate complaints of exhaust fume problems in more than 1.3 million Explorers from 2011 through 2017 model years.

This announcement came after the police department in Austin, Texas pulled all of their Explorers from their police fleet following several complaints.

The possible carbon monoxide exposure in the SUVs has been an ongoing issue for the Austin Police Department. "However, the company has discovered holes and unsealed spaces in the back of some Police Interceptor Utilities that had police equipment installed after leaving Ford's factory", Ford said.

NHTSA says that more than 2,700 complaints have been filed by those concerned they've been exposed to carbon monoxide while in the vehicles.

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Police departments in the Greater Cincinnati area are inspecting their fleets as hundreds of police cruisers across the country are parked due to carbon monoxide concerns.

Each of the unmarked vehicles will have several lights, "It'll look absolutely like a police auto", Manley said. The alarms were installed after officers reported becoming sick while in the vehicles.

Ford Motor Co. responded by promising to fix the vehicles, even as it continues to investigate the cause of the problem.

The City of Wausau's fleet and facility manager, Mark Hanson, states there have been no problems with the Wausau Police Department vehicles yet. NHTSA said the issue may be linked to three crashes and 41 injuries.

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"Safety is our top priority", Ford said in a statement.

The process to change over the vehicles starts Saturday as teams from the City's Fleet and IT departments begin removing computers, weapons, and other equipment from the Explorer Interceptors. Each complaint said exhaust fumes leaked into the cabin, resulting in officers becoming ill.

Despite the lack of conclusive and documented linkage between injury reports and carbon monoxide poisoning, the NHTSA notes that carbon monoxide levels "may be elevated in certain driving scenarios". If a vehicle has such an odor, customers should bring it to a Ford dealer to address that issue.

The NHTSA also said that the Police Interceptor version of the Explorer is experiencing exhaust manifold cracks that are hard to detect and may explain exhaust odours. Customers with concerns can call a dedicated hotline at (888) 260-5575 or visit their local dealer.

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