Some 2,900 Ford Ranger pickups from the 2006 model year pose such a high risk to their owners, Ford Motor Company wants those people to stop driving them immediately. So great is the concern, Ford is recalling vehicles already named in an earlier recall, just so it can identify who the owners are.
Of the 21 deaths and hundreds of injuries reported from exploding Takata airbags, only two fatalities occurred in vehicles not built by Honda. A Ranger airbag explosion in 2015 killed a female driver. Now, the automaker claims it has discovered the July 2017 death of a West Virginia driver was also the result of a Takata inflator — and that both victims’ inflators were manufactured on the same day.
In 2016, Ford recalled 391,000 2004-2006 Rangers to remove potentially deadly Takata airbag inflators. Of that group, the new recall affects 2,700 2006 Rangers in the U.S. and 200 in Canada. Given the age of the vehicles, it’s likely many have gone to the crusher or scrapyard. Still, extreme danger exists in those still left on the road.
Takata inflators, composed of volatile ammonium nitrate (the same material used in truck bombs), can degrade over the passage of time, leading to instability. The inflator can then detonate with too much force in the event of an accident, sending metal shrapnel into the face and torso of the victim. High heat and humidity are known to speed up the chemical’s breakdown.
These 2,900 vehicles represent the model’s highest risk pool. The situation is similar to an urgent notice sent out in 2016 for a group of 2001-2003 Honda vehicles, all of which were determined to have a 50-percent chance of airbag detonation.
Meanwhile, Mazda said Thursday it would conduct its own recall of 2006 B-Series trucks containing the same inflator.
“It is extremely important that all high-risk air bags are tracked down and replaced immediately,” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spokeswoman Karen Aldana said in a statement.
Ford says it will tow any impacted owner’s vehicle to a dealer to fix the issue, or send a mobile team to the owner’s home for on-site repairs. Free loaners can be had, if needed.
The Takata scandal led to the largest automotive safety recall in history and forced the company to file for bankruptcy protection last year (as well as pay $1 billion in penalties). Some 25 million vehicles will be recalled worldwide by 2019, more than 60 million of them in the United States.
[Image: Ford Motor Company]
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