Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that’s also highly toxic — and it’s becoming a serious issue for some sports utility vehicle (SUV) owners.
In particular, Ford Explorers have come under scrutiny lately after a Texas police department experienced several incidents they believe were related to carbon monoxide poisoning. As a result of the most recent event, in which an officer was treated at a hospital, the police department is installing carbon monoxide detectors in all 360 Ford Explorers used by the department.
Issues with carbon monoxide toxicity aren’t unknown with Ford Explorers — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into the issue back in 2016, after receiving more than 150 complaints from drivers about exhaust fumes entering the vehicles’ cabins while in operation.
Carbon monoxide actually replaces the oxygen in your blood, which means that exposure can become deadly within minutes. Low-level exposure may just sicken you or make you dizzy — but the consequences of long-term exposure to even small amounts of carbon monoxide can be serious. The lack of adequate oxygen to your body’s cells can cause issues like severe heart problems and brain damage.
What may be most troubling for those who own an Explorer is that Ford has apparently been aware of the problem for a long time.
The automaker began sending out technical service bulletins to dealerships concerning exhaust fumes all the way back in 2012. Dealerships were first instructed to seal and undercoat certain areas of the floor pans and body seams, among other modifications. Then they were instructed to add changes to the recirculation mode of the air conditioning system during full throttle events.
Despite these instructions to dealers, however, there’s been no mass recall of the vehicles and no nationwide alert given to consumers — and the most recent round of consumer complaints comes well after the SUVs were supposedly repaired.
If you believe that you may be a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning because of the faulty design of your SUV, consider contacting an attorney for advice.
Source: carcomplaints.com, “Ford Explorer Police Vehicles Get Carbon Monoxide Detectors,” David A Wood, March 20, 2017