Carbon Monoxide or CO is no joke. The gas some call the “Silent Killer” is odorless, tasteless and colorless and claims the lives of some 400 Americans each year. CO is heavily concentrated in engine exhaust fumes, and for years people have been complaining of exhaust odors in the 2011-2017 Ford Explorer. Although Ford denies that CO levels are elevated in the cabin of these Explorers, the company has recently sent out Customer Satisfaction Program Letters to owners informing them of a free inspection and free repairs provided at the dealership.
In my latest video on the LegitStreetCars YouTube channel, we take a look at the whole picture including a story of a man who was sent to the ER with CO poisoning after drivng his 2015 Explorer for only two weeks. I go over how even after thousands of complaints and many injuries and crashes, an offical recall has not yet been issued.
I was able to get my hands on a 2015 Explorer, along with the exact repair instructions given to Ford dealership technicians for the Customer Satisfaction Program. In the video, I show you what really gets fixed on these SUVs when you bring it in for the program which begins with reprogramming the climate control module. This new software allows fresh air to be brought into the cabin while in recirculation mode, but only at wide open throttle. This may be included in the repairs due to many complaints of exhaust odor when driving aggressively. Some have pointed out that cracked or leaking exhaust manifolds are to blame, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has since launched an investigation into the issue.
The rest of repairs are very similar to a repair bulletin issued in 2012 on the Police Interceptor version of the Explorer. Ford found that 3rd party upfitters were damaging seals and grommets when installing lights and brackets normally associated with police vehicles. This may have been true for Police units, but even after repairs police departements still complain. Nonetheless, the customer satisfaction program has the technician replace various body plugs and drain valves in the rear of the Explorer. They can also repalce the liftgate seal if damaged, and replace two air extractors behind the rear bumper. Its worth noting that Ford does not instruct the technicians to inspect the exhaust manifolds, and that they do not have access to carbon monoxide detectors at the dealers. Basically after you bring your Explorer in for the “repair” the tech has no idea if they’ve made a differenace in CO levels in the cabin.
In the video I also show you an easy way that anyone can monitor CO levels in their cars with an in-car carbon monoxide detector that sells on Amazon for $30. If you own one of these Explorers definitely bring it to the dealership immediately for their repair, but also be mindful that CO exposure symtoms start off with head ache and fatigue. Get a detector, but pay attention to how you feel. For more on CO poisoning and how to win a CO detector for your car, check out the video description box.