NHTSA examining data on exhaust leak in 2011-2014 Ford Explorer

NHTSA stopped short of calling its effort a defect investigation. Pictured is a 2011 Explorer.

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into complaints that exhaust may be building up inside the cabins of Ford Motor Co.'s 2011-2014 Explorer SUVs.

NHTSA is aware of complaints that “owners are experiencing exhaust fumes or strange oders in the cabin,” spokesman Jose Alberto Ucles said in an e-mailed statement. “The agency is reviewing all available data and will take appropriate action as warranted.”

The agency stopped short of calling its effort a defect investigation, and no formal probe is listed on its Web site.

“We are confident in our current methods for quickly identifying and addressing potential vehicle issues,” Ford spokeswoman Kristina Adamski said in an e-mail. “Our decisions are driven by the data available. When the data indicates a safety recall is needed, we move quickly on behalf of our customers.”

Earlier this week, NHTSA closed a 2-year-old probe into power steering glitches in late-model Ford Explorers, signaling that they are satisfied with the automaker’s recent decision to recall the SUV. Ford said May 29 it would recall 195,527 Explorers from the 2011-13 model years as part of a sweeping campaign that included nearly 1.39 million vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closed its “preliminary evaluation” of the Explorer on June 12, a document posted June 16 on the agency’s Web site said.

Gabe Nelson contributed to this report.

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