Repaired Ford Austin police SUV flunks carbon monoxide test

AUSTIN, Texas — A Ford Explorer SUV that the auto company repaired for a return to service with the Austin police department has again been pulled off the street because exhaust containing carbon monoxide was seeping into it, the city’s police chief said Friday.

Ford Motor Company responded by defending its repairs and saying it has yet to receive all the details about the new problem.

Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said that during a test of three repaired SUVs, one tested positive for carbon monoxide. The officer driving it was treated by medical personnel, but didn’t require hospitalization.

The story was first reported by The Austin American-Statesman. A police department spokeswoman subsequently confirmed the chief’s comments for The Associated Press.

Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said Friday in an emailed statement that, “Ford was not provided with information on the levels of CO detected but we are ready to inspect any vehicle.”

She also said the automaker has “been happy to collaborate with” Austin police on repairs and added: “The methods and parts we’ve utilized to repair Austin’s vehicles have worked well to address the concern.”

Austin police pulled nearly 400 Explorers off patrol in July because of carbon monoxide concerns. Police departments across the country use Explorers and several also took them out of service.

Ford has previously blamed the issue on non-factory outfitters that drill holes into police SUVs to install extra equipment like lights and radios.

But Ford was also investigating why many non-police consumers have also complained to the automaker and the government about exhaust fumes — which contain odourless, colorless carbon monoxide as well as sulfur and other chemicals — in their vehicles.

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