Ford IDs Possible Cause of Police Explorer Exhaust Leaks

2016 Explorer Ford Police Interceptor

Ford may now know why exhaust fumes are making their way into some Ford Explorer Police Interceptors.

The automaker says it’s linked the cause to modifications made to the vehicles to install customized police equipment after they leave the factory.

Ford Explorer Exhaust Leaks

Specifically, Ford believes the problem is due to unsealed holes left in the back of some of the vehicles its engineers inspected. The holes were made when aftermarket modification work was done to install things like strobe lights on the rear liftgate and taillights.

Ford says those unsealed gaps could allow carbon monoxide fumes to leak into the cabins. Ford outlines the problem extensively in the video below. It even used thermal imaging to detect fume leak paths in vehicles improperly modified.

Ford ID’d the problem after inspecting Police Explorers throughout the country. Engineers consistently found similar types of unsealed holes and spaces in the back of vehicles part of the investigation. Tuesday, NBC News reported Ford investigators discovered the issue on Police Interceptors while visiting more than a dozen departments in the last week alone.


Ford says it has worked with more than a dozen police agencies nationwide to inspect and repair more than 50 vehicles in cities that include Auburn, Massachusetts, where three officers were hospitalized last week due to high carbon monoxide levels in their vehicles.

While the police modifications were not made by Ford, the automaker says it will cover the cost of fixing the vehicles which includes:

  1. Check and seal off the rear of the vehicle where exhaust can enter.
  2. Provide a new air conditioning calibration that brings in more fresh air during heavy acceleration typical of police driving.
  3. Check for engine codes that could indicate a damaged exhaust manifold.

While there have also been some reports of Explorer Police Utilities experiencing cracked engine manifolds, Ford says all testing to date has not shown this issue as a contributing factor to carbon monoxide leaks inside the vehicle.

Not Related to Non-Police Explorers Exhaust Reports

It’s important to note that this is unrelated to other reports of exhaust odors in non-police Explorers.  Customers who are experiencing exhaust fume issues should bring their vehicle to a Ford Dealer.

You can read Ford’s Press Release Here.

Photo Credit: Ford

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