The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday it is reviewing complaints that exhaust fumes could build up in the cabins of newer Ford Explorer SUVs and cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
The auto safety agency hasn’t opened a formal investigation.
“NHTSA is aware of the complaints involving 2011-2014 Ford Explorers whose owners are experiencing exhaust fumes or strange odors in the cabin,” NHTSA said in a statement.
“The agency is reviewing all available data and will take appropriate action as warranted,” the statement said.
There are more than a dozen complaints posted on the NHTSA website about the smell of exhaust in Ford Explorer cabins.
In early June, a Florida woman filed a lawsuit against the Dearborn automaker, alleging she found deadly levels of carbon monoxide in her Ford Explorer.
The lawsuit alleges Angela Sanchez Knutson purchased a 2013 Explorer in March 2012 from a Gainesville, Fla., dealership and almost immediately began smelling exhaust in the passenger compartment and experiencing headaches.
Ford issued a technical service bulletin about the issue in December 2012, acknowledging “some 2011-13 Explorer vehicles may exhibit an exhaust odor in the vehicle with the auxiliary climate-control systems on.”
Knutson’s lawsuit claims the remedy in service bulletin — a 12-step process to seal the exhaust system — “does not correct the condition, and it fails to acknowledge that carbon monoxide may enter the passenger compartment of affected vehicles.”
Ford spokeswoman Kristina Adamski said the automaker is “currently reviewing the case and in the event that any action is required, we will address it promptly.”