The nonprofit made its latest request via a letter sent to Ford CEO Jim Hackett this week. The agency tells The Associated Press it found 44 complaints in a government database about fumes and potential carbon monoxide after customers had taken their Explorers in for free repairs after Ford began a service campaign last October that goes through the end of 2018. It said the complaints suggest the problem may be continuing with the 2018 Explorer.
The letter comes on the second anniversary of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opening an investigation into the issue.
"With all due respect to the efforts undertaken by Ford, and NHTSA, over these last two years, the continued complaints and corresponding reports of incidents and injuries demonstrate the problem of carbon monoxide exposure inside Ford Explorers has not been resolved," Jason Levine, the center's executive director, said in the letter. "We urge you, on behalf of Ford's customers, and everyone with whom they share the road, to act before tragedy strikes."
Ford says the Explorers are safe, owner complaints have decreased and its service campaign, which reprogrammed air conditioners, replaced lift gate drain valves and inspected the sealing on the rear of the vehicle, has addressed the issue. It says anyone who isn't satisfied should contact their dealership for further inspection, and it has set up a dedicated hotline for the issue at 888-260-5575.
Last summer, Ford said it discovered the suspected source of the leaks in police cruiser versions of the SUV: unsealed holes drilled in the body of the vehicle for wiring emergency lights and radios done by third parties. Ford offered to make the repairs free of charge.