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What Is the Ford Diesel Emissions Scandal?

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Jun 05, 2023
7 minutes read
  • Details about my diesel claim for a Ford
  • Why my Ford diesel claim is different to others
  • Information about the thermal window loophole for my diesel claim against Ford
  • How to start a diesel claim against Ford

Car manufacturers are under an increasing amount of scrutiny since the VW dieselgate scandal. When questioned, companies have denied fitting emissions defeating devices, either because they rely on software instead or abuse what’s known as thermal windows. Can my diesel claim be for a Ford? In short, yes. This article will explain why you will be able to make a diesel claim against Ford.

Why is my diesel claim over Ford different to other manufacturers? Volkswagen admitted to installing emissions cheating devices to their vehicles and BMW admitted to fitting software to some of its cars by accident. Unlike either of these manufacturers, a diesel claim for Ford looks at how a loophole in permitted temperature changes affects a vehicle’s behaviour.

A Ford badge on the front of a blue Ranger SUV

What Is a Diesel Emissions Claim?

Making a diesel emissions claim against a car manufacturer is all about receiving compensation for a car that produces more emissions than specified. Whether manufacturers like Ford, Mercedes, BMW or otherwise made use of defeat devices or software to lower emissions in a testing environment, you could be owed for this behaviour. If no such devices were used, an abuse in the thermal window for cars could be grounds to make a claim.

Why is my Ford diesel claim an issue? The greater level of emissions from diesel vehicles is cause for concern on several levels. One of them is about the environmental pollution produced by excess nitrous oxide (NOₓ) emissions, which causes breathing problems as well as being responsible for acid rain, deplete the ozone layer and contaminate water sources.

Another issue associated with emissions tampering is that, when fixed, your vehicle may not have the same level of fuel efficiency that it used to. You will then be stuck with a car that takes much more to run and fill up than it did before.

How does this affect my diesel claim against Ford? This second issue could be what your vehicle will suffer from if the company is found guilty of emissions tampering.

How Is My Diesel Claim About Ford?

The case against Ford could open up new avenues for claims against other manufacturers as it is focusing on a different aspect of the emissions regulation process. When approached for comment after dieselgate, Ford came out with the following statement.

“As we said back in 2016, we did not and do not have what are commonly known as ‘illegal defeat devices’ in our vehicles, and our advanced diesel engines meet all applicable emissions requirements.”

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company World Headquarters
Ford Motor Company Headquarters in Michigan

How is my diesel claim against Ford special? Where car manufacturers are adamant that they do not have devices fitted that lower emissions, and that they meet requirements, it could be because they are abusing what’s known as the thermal window.

What Are Thermal Windows?

Low outside temperatures can cause issues to the internal parts of cars, permitting condensation to form. Thermal windows allow cars to alter how they perform in set temperatures. Some carmakers have made use of a loophole in emissions regulations in order to deceive its consumers. Thermal windows are widely used and are a perfectly legal way of preventing damage via rust and decay, as well as a buildup of condensation inside the vehicle’s engine. For some time, carmakers have stretched the boundaries of this grey area in order to hide how polluting their diesel engines really are.

Does this affect my diesel claim for Ford? Looking at the language in Ford’s response to fitting defeat devices, any abuse of the thermal window would not count as an illegal defeat device in their eyes, so the manufacturer can safely say they don’t use any devices. If Ford’s diesel engines meet all emissions requirements, it could simply be an indication of hiding their emissions a different way.

Are Manufacturers Abusing Thermal Windows to Cheat Emissions?

In all likelihood, the answer is yes. The laws are a bit of a grey area in this regard, so carmakers have probably been altering thermal windows to suit them for many years.

What’s the evidence to prove my diesel claim against Ford will go anywhere? Several studies have been conducted over the years into the varying levels of emissions from vehicles and how they are always different in a laboratory setting. All the signs point to emissions cheating.

Emissions Don’t Reflect Real World Conditions

Car Diagnostic Isometric

Germany 2016

The German organisation Kraftfarht-Bundesamt (KBA) has become one of the leading experts on thermal windows and diesel emissions, having tested 53 different vehicles from various manufacturers throughout 2016. KBA realised that cars demonstrated different levels of NOₓ emissions when under testing conditions that didn’t replicate real life driving conditions. Not only this, but there was no uniform temperature across manufacturers for utilising thermal windows. Some carmakers were making use of them at temperatures of 18°C, which is not what the thermal window is designed for.

Britain 2015

In 2015, British researchers conducted similar tests and found that BMW, Ford and Mercedes vehicles, among others, were polluting NOₓ levels far higher than the legally acceptable limit in European tests. They concluded that, while the disparity between real world and laboratory conditions was concerning, it demonstrated that car manufacturers were finding ways of passing emissions tests. Some vehicles were even capable of emitting more emissions than a double decker bus.

Busy Motorway Isometric

Ford Diesel Emissions

How does this affect my diesel claim against Ford? According to the British study, conducted by Doctor James Tate, Ford’s new diesel engines at the time were the worst offenders, emitting more NOₓ on average than all other manufacturers tested.

“This research shows that building cars so they perform well in laboratory emissions tests but emit high amounts of NOₓ in real urban driving is an endemic practice across the industry.”

Doctor James Tate - Associate Professor at the Institute for Transport Studies (University of Leeds)

Legal Case Against Thermal Window Loopholes

Has my Ford diesel claim got a legal precedent? It does.

In a legal case in 2020, the European Court of Justice made a statement against defeat devices on diesel engines. The case analysed the use of thermal windows and effectively laid down a precedent for manufacturers to stop relying on them. In the ruling, the court said that thermal windows were their own sort of defeat device, but were only acceptable if they were used to protect against sudden and extraordinary damage.

“The fact that it contributes to preventing the ageing or clogging up of the engine cannot justify the presence of such defeat devices.”

Press Release from the Court of Justice of the European Union

Some carmakers have been making use of thermal windows at 18°C since 2016, which demonstrates that manufacturers have not been using them as they were designed. Colder temperatures over the winter months are more of an issue for cars, so an unfair relationship has been built for a number of years.

Ford GT Vector

Does this affect my diesel claim with Ford? It does. The test conducted over the years point to car manufacturers like Ford trying to reduce their emissions in any permissible way. As the company itself said they have never used defeat devices, the thermal window loophole opens up the doors for claims against the carmaker.

Diesel Emissions Payout

How much compensation will my diesel claim for my Ford get me? As with all diesel claims against carmakers, it’s hard to estimate what the potential payout might be. VW settled its case out of court, which reduced the settlement total, but any ruling in court will make for a bigger payout. Some companies estimate that a potential return of up to 75% of the vehicle’s value will be seen per claimant, but this isn’t based on any evidence. In reality, the amount of compensation you could receive may be a couple of thousand pounds per affected vehicle.

How Do I Start My Diesel Claim Against Ford?

Ford Logo

Can my diesel claim against Ford be done myself? In taking Ford to court, any costs would likely end up being more than the payout you’d receive.

Claiming compensation yourself against a car manufacturer is not going to work. You will have to join a group claim, as has been the case with other car manufacturers. While there is currently no start date for proceedings against Ford, you can put your name down to register your interest in making a diesel emissions claim against them. Once enough people sign up, the manufacturer will be taken to court.

Where can I start my diesel claim against Ford? You can either approach a law firm yourself, in the hopes that they are taking on claimants against Ford, or you can make use of a claims management company. The easiest way to start your diesel claim for Ford is to fill in your details using the button below.

How do I know if my diesel claim against Ford is legit?

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