Ford has issued a huge recall of almost three million Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln vehicles. It is part of a Takata recall that Ford petitioned the NHTSA to exempt back in January. The models Ford wanted to exempt included vehicles built between 2006-2011. These models had always been part of a larger Takata recall that included 19 different auto manufacturers. It has been called “the largest and most complex safety recall in US history.”
NHTSA denied Ford’s petition resulting in this latest airbag recall
Ford originally told the NHTSA that it “believes its extensive data demonstrates that a safety recall is not warranted for the driver-side airbag.” But the NHTSA denied the petition which has resulted in this latest airbag recall. The Mazda pickup trucks involved are twins to the Ford Ranger. There are almost 6,000 of these 2007-2009 Mazda B-Series trucks as part of the recall.
Other vehicles involved in the recall include 2006-2012 Ford Fusion, 2007-2010 Ford Edge, 2007-2011 Ford Ranger, 2006-2011 Mercury Milan, 2006-2012 Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ, 2007-2010 Lincoln MKX.
The problem all along with these Takata airbags has been the metal cartridge that is loaded with propellant. It can ignite causing metal shards to be launched in the passenger compartment. The metal shards can cause severe and sometimes fatal injuries.
There have been 18 deaths and over 400 injuries in the US
Specifically, the NHTSA says that the ammonium-nitrate-based propellant does not contain a chemical drying agent. So moisture in the air, high temperatures, and/or age can cause the airbag to inflate spontaneously. There have been 18 deaths and over 400 injuries in the US alone. Worldwide there have been 26 deaths.
As part of the recall, the “NHTSA advises that owners not drive these vehicles and seek immediate repairs.” The NHTSA has even prioritized the delivery of replacement airbags or components to areas with the highest concentration of Takata airbag failures. “It was not possible for all replacement parts to be available right away, and some vehicles were at much higher risk of a dangerous airbag explosion than others,” agency spokeswoman Karen Aldana told Consumer Reports.
Takata airbag problems go back to before November 2014
News of the Takata airbag problems goes all of the way back to before November 2014. That is when the New York Times published an article saying Takata was aware of defects years before the company filed paperwork with the US feds. Later that month the NHTSA called on automakers to recall its Takata airbags in a national recall.
Within a few months, a fifth US driver was killed from shrapnel expelled from a Takata airbag. In June 2017 Takata filed for bankruptcy after pleading guilty in February to essentially deceiving automakers about the safety of its airbags and components. A year later a trust fund was set up by Takata’s creditors to compensate airbag victims.
For this latest recall dealers will replace the airbags free of charge. Should you have concerns or questions you can call Ford at 800-392-3673 or Mazda at 800-222-5500. Refer to Ford’s recall number 21S12. Or you can check the NHTSA’s website for any open recalls for your vehicle.