Angela Knutson is suing Ford after discovering that their 2013 Explorer was leaking unsafe levels of carbon monoxide into the cabin. The couple is attempting to force the manufacturer to issue a recall on all 2011-2013 Ford Explorers.
Knutson's husband, a firefighter with the Sheriff's Office, measured the level of carbon monoxide in the passenger area after a 30 minute drive. The levels registered at 132 parts per million, far above the 100 parts per million considered to be hazardous to one's health. Knutson had previously reported smelling exhaust in the cabin during and after acceleration, and had taken the car to a Ford dealership on at least seven occasions to have the problem fixed. Mechanics were unable to repair it.
After measuring the carbon monoxide levels, Knutson issues a lawsuit claiming that a defect in hundreds of thousands of Ford Explorers could potentially cause lethal amounts of carbon monoxide to build up inside the vehicle. Knutson's family, including three small children, experienced headaches and other symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning while remaining in the Explorer for extended periods of time.
"The kids have thrown up on long trips and they were perfectly healthy," Knutson said. "There was nothing wrong with them and they don't experience motion sickness, so most likely it is caused by the car."
Knutson claims that Ford was aware of the problem, citing a service bulletin saying that "some 2011 through 2013 Explorer vehicles may exhibit an exhaust odor in the vehicle with the auxiliary climate control system on."
Ford's fix for the issue was an upgraded air extractor, but for Knutson, the repair did nothing to solve the problem. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration has taken an interest in the case, having received a number of reports citing an exhaust smell in the cabins of 2011-2014 Ford Explorers.
"The agency is reviewing all available data and will take appropriate action as warranted," said spokeswoman Karen Aldana in an email statement.
Ford declined to comment on the lawsuit, but Knutson is not backing down from the case, having enlisted the help of attorney John Uustal.
"A manufacturer has a responsibility to provide a safe vehicle, not one with deadly gas," Uustal told CBS Miami. "And once they knew they have to fix it."