There may be a burgeoning problem with exhaust leaks in the 2011-2014 model year Ford Explorer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is examining multiple complaints of a gasoline smell in the cabin of these SUVs. However, the exact cause of this problem is still unknown.

"The agency is reviewing all available data and will take appropriate action as warranted," said a NHTSA spokesperson in an email to Automotive News. Owners seem to generally complain on the regulator's website of the smell entering the cabin through the air vents. At this time, the government organization has not yet opened an official investigation into the problem, though. When it does begin inspecting vehicles, NHTSA posts a detailed breakdown of its public data online.

Similar problems have been reported about the Explorer in the past, though. In 2013, Ford issued a recall for the 2013 model year of the SUV due to a fuel leak that could cause drivers to smell a gasoline odor and repaired them again later for another possible leak. In response to Autoblog's questions, Ford responded via email: "We are not aware of a NHTSA investigation. We are currently reviewing the case and in the event that any action is required, we will address it promptly."


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  • 19 Comments
      Cirnek
      • 6 Months Ago
      I have a 2013 Explorer Sport with this issue. It has been an on going battle with Ford trying to get them to understand that I am not the only person with this issue, at least at the dealerships I have taken my Explorer to. I submit 61 pages of complaints dating back to 2011 as proof. http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=323597
      That Guy
      • 6 Months Ago
      Oh look, another problem from the Alan Mulally years. This guy is worse than Nasser.
        merlot066
        • 6 Months Ago
        @That Guy
        Hmmm. Nasser took over when Ford was quickly catching up to GM as the #1 automaker, had 5 or 6 best-selling vehicles, and was the most profitable automaker in the world and quickly caused tumbling sales, disastrous management policies, and horrible PR issues. Alan Mulally took over from Bill Ford who was trying to turn the company around from Nasser's mismanagement and couldn't. Mulally made huge capital investments to restructure the company in the middle of an economic crisis, oversaw the development of a dramatically more competitive lineup (although, like any human, every decision he made wasn't perfect), brought Ford back to dominance as the #1 brand in America for three straight years, and returned Ford to consistent profitability. Ummm how is he worse than Nasser again?
          That Guy
          • 6 Months Ago
          @merlot066
          Wow you really are a moron. And seriously, if you're going to post flat out lies, at least hide them a little better. There is so much ignorance in your post (as usual), that one really doesn't know where to begin. But, I'll try.why don't you research things before you make yourself look like a moron. I help you out, start with PAG.
          That Guy
          • 6 Months Ago
          @merlot066
          Or just start at Wikipedia. They have a pretty good, but light, summation of how bad Nasser was.
        Oscar
        • 6 Months Ago
        @That Guy
        Oh look, another lame comment.
        Oscar
        • 6 Months Ago
        @That Guy
        What are you doing loser, stuffing the "ballot box"?
      suprdvtx
      • 6 Months Ago
      Whats the worse thing that can happen.......they kill a few people like a chevrolet
      Titansfan1967
      • 6 Months Ago
      I believe that comes from overfilling your gas tank
        VroomVroom
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Titansfan1967
        I don't understand why people disliked this comment?? Oh wait, I forgot not many people on here no much about cars. Overfilling your gas tank can be a cause of gas vapors entering the cabin. Usually when somebody says they smell gas fumes in their car, it's usually the cause of the EVAP system. Overfilling a gas tank causes the evap charcoal canister to become saturated with gasoline. This causes the evap system to not work right which can cause fumes to enter the cabin. Do not overfill you tank. STOP at the FIRST click when filling up.
      FriscoKid
      • 6 Months Ago
      The smell is exhaust and not gasoline fumes. We have a 2013 and every time you go over 4000 RPM a sulfur smelling stench is pulled into the cabin. If you are curious about the smell, follow a Ford explorer accelerating onto the freeway and take a whiff. It is not pleasant. They had a TSB for this problem that involved sealing up joints in the rear of the car and replacing a plenum of some sort. It works for some, not for others. It didn't work for us.
        Scott A Bregi
        • 6 Months Ago
        @FriscoKid
        FriscoKid is correct. The issue stemmed from exhaust fumes getting trapped under the rear of the car and being pulled into the stand alone rear air conditioning system fresh air intake plenum which in turn entered the car thru the A/C vents. They changed out the intake with a newly modified one and sealed up all the body joints under the rear of the car. I only notice it under full throttle acceleration as when entering the freeway. This is because most cars have a fresh air intake system built into the door frames and when the car goes down the road there is a vacuum bubble that exists at the rear of the car. Exhaust gasses build up in the bubble and then enter the car thru an opening available.
      John
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is interesting, because my dad has an early 2000s Subaru that smells like someone cranked up a 2-stroke endure bike in the back seat every time you run it. There is obviously something wrong (I hope!), but it runs fine and gets normal mileage, so it hasn't seen a garage yet.
        zerofoo
        • 6 Months Ago
        @John
        This is a known problem with early 2000s subarus. It's a fuel line leak in the engine compartment. Happens most when it's cold out. There is probably a TSB for your car. Go to a dealer and get it fixed before you lose any brain cells.
      Oz
      • 6 Months Ago
      Gas or exhaust?
      Robert
      • 6 Months Ago
      When my 2001 Windstar went in for a recall on it's sub frame. They put large support clamps around it. These clamps are so close to the exhaust pipe that when I turn left, it rubs on the pipe. I'm worried it will rub through, and create a leak near the cabin. The dealer who did the work does not see any problem. I would like to know if this is occurring in other cases.
      Michael Nickel
      • 6 Months Ago
      I own a 97 and get exhaust fumes also in the cabin
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