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Ford Explorer Lawsuit Alleges Vehicles Suffer Exhaust Leak Problem

This Alert Affects:

Anyone who purchased or leased a 2010 – 2015 Ford Explorer.

Why Was This Alert Posted?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org want to hear from people who owned or leased these vehicles following reports that some models may suffer from an issue with their exhaust systems.
What Are Signs of a Possible Exhaust Problem?
Consumers have reported that their vehicles smelled like "burnt hair," "rotten eggs," "gas," or "sulfur."

A number of class action lawsuits have been filed alleging that a defect in certain Ford Explorer models allows dangerous gases – including “lethal quantities” of carbon monoxide – to enter and build up inside the vehicles’ passenger cabins. The suits say that, as a result, the cars are “unsafe to drive.”

What’s Causing the Alleged Defect?

The lawsuit claims that certain Ford Explorers suffer from a design defect that allows dangerous exhaust gases, which may contain carcinogens including benzene, to enter the vehicles.

According to the suit, this typically occurs when the vehicles’ climate control systems and/or air conditioners are turned on and all of the windows are closed. These conditions – the closed windows restricting ventilation and the climate control allegedly allowing exhaust gases to enter the vehicles – may prompt a strong smell of fumes. Drivers have reported that their vehicles smelled like “burned hair,” “rotten eggs,” “gas,” or “sulfur.” This problem has been reported by multiple Ford Explorer owners:

“When I accelerate fast, the exhaust enters the vehicle from the AC unit. My car was in 3 times before the prescribed Technical Service Bulletin (12-12-4) was performed, which by the way does not fix the issue. Cant [sic] even imagine hooking up our boat to this vehicle as it will probably kill us with Carbon Monoxide poisoning. My 10 year old son has had bronchitis 4 times since we have had this vehicle.. hmmm possibly related!!”

“The car cannot exceed 3000-3500 RPM. If you exceed it, a strong exhaust stinking smell comes through the A/C-ventilation system. It seems like the exhaust fumes go directly to the A/C system. We went to the distributor to present the complaint and the response was vage [sic]. They acknowledge that there were several Explorers-2013 with the same problem, and there is no idea of how to solve it.”

“Rotten Egg Smell is exhaust that flows into the Air Conditioning ducts and poisons you inside the car. Ford dealer says they know about problem. My child was injured by fumes. Very dangerous.”

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is toxic to humans. Exhaust fumes may also contain acetaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, and formaldehyde, all of which can be harmful and should, in properly designed vehicles, be vented outside the passenger cabin and into the atmosphere. According to Environment and Human Health, Inc., vehicle fumes have been linked to asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

How Can a Class Action Help? 

In a successful case, Ford could be ordered to:

  • Repair or replace the affected vehicles
  • Reimburse customers for the cost of their vehicles
  • Issue a recall of the vehicles
  • Provide notice to consumers with the affected models
  • Provide compensation to drivers for repairs that were already performed
  • Provide compensation to drivers for the loss of their vehicles’ value 

What Is Ford Accused Of?

Ford faces, but denies, allegations that it:

  • Knew or should have known that the vehicles were dangerous and defective
  • Fails to acknowledge the problem and refuses to fix it despite numerous complaints from consumers
  • Misled consumers about the nature and severity of the problem and/or failed to inform customers who purchased or leased the Ford Explorers that they are unsafe for operation

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Case Resources

Sanchez-Knutson v. Ford Motor Company Complaint
Case number 0:14-cv-61344, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
The Harmful Effects of Vehicle Exhaust
Findings from the non-profit organization Environmental and Human Health, Inc.'s report on the harmful health and environmental effects of vehicle exhaust.