It's been two years since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating complaints that some Ford Explorers were leaking carbon monoxide inside the vehicle. Since then, more than 40 people have reported suffering negative effects from the toxic fumes seeping into their SUVs.
One consumer described the fumes as having "a rotten egg smell" that caused headaches and nausea among family members, including his child. The problem became so concerning that multiple police departments around the country with Ford Explorers in their fleets took them out of service.
However, the NHTSA, which has reportedly received nearly 200 complaints about the leaks from consumers, says its investigation of more than 1.3 million 2011 through 2017 vehicles is ongoing.
Ford offered consumers a repair that the company says "effectively resolves" the problem. The automaker told CBS News, "Explorers are safe. Owner complaints to Ford and NHTSA have decreased since we announced our complimentary service for exhaust odor last fall."
However, the CBS News investigation found that almost 60 of the 200 complaints to the NHTSA came from those who had already had the "repairs" completed. Further, some complaints involved 2018 models, which the Administration didn't mention were included in its investigation. Ford says, "If an owner continues to have concerns after the service is performed, they should contact their dealer for further inspection."
With NHTSA not giving a timeline for when it expects its investigation to be completed, an independent, non-profit organization, Center for Auto Safety, is asking Ford to recall the vehicles. It remains to be seen whether NHTSA will move to recall the SUVs or if Ford itself will choose to do so.
Regardless of whether a recall of a defective vehicle or any other type of product is recalled or not, anyone who suffers injuries from defective products should determine their legal options for seeking compensation and justice.