Ford Authority

Investigation Into Ford Explorer Underway For Exhaust Odor In Cabin

The 2011-2015 Ford Explorer crossover is being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a possible defect which allows exhaust fumes to leak into the vehicle’s interior, according to Automotive News.

The NHTSA’s investigation into the Ford Explorer for this possible exhaust leak fault was opened last Friday, in order to determine whether there is any need to issue a recall. The agency has said that it’s identified 154 similar consumer complaints relating to “occupants smelling exhaust odors in the occupant compartment,” and the issue has been the subject of two technical service bulletins in the past: one in 2012, and one in 2014. Some owners noted no improvement even after the specified dealer repairs were conducted.

Automotive News reports that owners have noted the smell of exhaust fumes in the Ford Explorer’s cabin particularly after the CUV had been driven at full throttle, like when climbing steep grades, or when the air-conditioning is recirculating cabin air. It’s unclear whether the issue can be linked to any specific powerplant or model year, nor whether it might affect refreshed 2016-and-newer Ford Explorer models.

The Ford Authority Take

It’s distressing that even after two technical service bulletins, this alleged exhaust leak issue is rearing its ugly head again. But, with more than 400,000 units sold in North America between 2014 and 2015 alone, the total of 154 complaints hardly sounds impressive. One crash has reportedly been linked to the potential defect, although no injuries resulted.

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

Subscribe to Ford Authority

For around-the-clock Ford news coverage

We'll send you one email per day with the latest Ford updates. It's totally free.


  1. Richard A Rocha

    I have a 2011 and the only time that smell gets in the cabin is if we have the hatch open. That’s if we haul anything…

  2. Mary Brinkley

    I got the 2017 Ford Explorer in Feburary and I also have exhaust fumes coming up into the cabin when the air is on and especially when pulling a hill.
    I hope Ford will correct this issue before someone is seriously injured or killed.


Leave a comment