Durham County

Are Ford Explorers poisoning Durham police, deputies?

Ford has repaired many 2011-17 Explorer models because of carbon monoxide leaks.
Ford has repaired many 2011-17 Explorer models because of carbon monoxide leaks. Ford Motor Company

The Durham Police Department and the Durham County Sheriff’s Office have been lucky with their Ford Explorers.

They have not had issues with carbon monoxide leaks in their vehicles, as have many other law enforcement departments across the country.

The sheriff’s department has eight Explorers in its fleet. They all are 2007-09 models, which pre-date the model years with reported problems. They’re also phasing those vehicles out of the fleet.

“We have not experienced any carbon monoxide issues with these vehicles to date,” said a Durham County sheriff’s spokeswoman.

The police department has 35 Explorers. Their spokeswoman said there have been no reported issues with their vehicles.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be lethal if too much is inhaled.

Concerns about carbon monoxide leaks in Explorers surfaced during the summer. More than a dozen departments reported issues to Ford, according to an NBC report in August. Federal regulators investigated more than 2,700 complaints of exhaust odors — including many from civilian vehicles from model years 2011-2017. Since the sheriff’s Explorers are not in that range, there is no plan to install carbon monoxide detectors in their vehicles, their spokeswoman said.

The police department in Austin, Texas, pulled its 400 Explorers off the road because of carbon monoxide concerns in August. Repairs were made but just this week, three of those vehicles there were again removed from service because exhaust containing carbon monoxide was seeping into it.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews