Repaired Ford police SUV likely didn’t fail CO test

Associated Press

Correction: An earlier version of this article quoted the Austin police chief saying a repaired Ford SUV flunked a carbon monoxide test. He later contradicted that previous statement. This story has been updated to reflect this change.

Austin, Texas — The Austin police chief says a Ford Explorer SUV that the auto company repaired for a return to service with his department actually doesn’t appear to have had exhaust containing carbon monoxide seeping into it — despite his saying earlier that it did.

Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said Friday that during a test of three SUVs repaired by Ford Motor Company, one tested positive for carbon monoxide.

But Manley told The Austin American-Statesman hours later that additional testing revealed alarms may have activated for some other reason.

He says: “We do not believe this issue is a Ford issue or related to the repairs they have done.”

Ford responded to Manley’s original comments by saying the methods it used to address Austin’s carbon monoxide problem “have worked well.”

The story was first reported by The Austin American-Statesman. A police department spokeswoman subsequently confirmed the chief’s comments for The Associated Press.

Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt initially said Friday in an emailed statement that, “Ford was not provided with information on the levels of CO detected but we are ready to inspect any vehicle.”

She also said the automaker has “been happy to collaborate with” Austin police on repairs and added: “The methods and parts we’ve utilized to repair Austin’s vehicles have worked well to address the concern.”

Austin police pulled nearly 400 Explorers off patrol in July because of carbon monoxide concerns. Police departments across the country use Explorers and several also took them out of service.

Ford has previously blamed the issue on non-factory outfitters that drill holes into police SUVs to install extra equipment like lights and radios.

But Ford was also investigating why many non-police consumers have also complained to the automaker and the government about exhaust fumes — which contain odorless, colorless carbon monoxide as well as sulfur and other chemicals — in their vehicles.