Botched Recall Forces 100,000 Ford Rangers Off The Road

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Technicians who didn't read the instructions may have incorrectly installed some passenger-side airbags.

Ford has issued a recall for 98,550 Ranger midsize pickup trucks from the 2004-2006 model years due to potentially improperly installed front passenger airbag inflators from a previous recall. That's right - a recall to fix a recall.

In official documents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that technicians might have incorrectly installed airbag inflators in some of these recalled trucks. The situation is potentially deadly because these airbags might no longer deploy in a crash.

The original recall was issued as part of the massive Takata airbag scandal. The current saga began in November when it identified seven Rangers with improperly installed inflators.

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The Blue Oval immediately began investigating, and by January, it became apparent what had happened. Technicians involved in the repairs admitted they did not read the installation instructions beforehand. Recognizing this serious problem, Ford quickly improved its dealer messaging and technical service notifications to emphasize the importance of following instructions. It is also reworking service kits so that the replacement inflator can only be installed in the correct orientation.

An instruction sheet complete with visual aids showing the right and wrong installation method is also being added to the service kit. Fortunately, Ford remains unaware of any accidents or injuries related to this issue, including the seven Rangers mentioned earlier.

The Takata airbag scandal exploded in 2013 and has affected over 42 million vehicles. It's the largest automotive recall in US history.

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Automakers, including BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan, were affected. At least 22 people were killed in the US, and over 100 injuries were reported. The faulty airbags exploded and hurled shrapnel into the cabin.

Takata filed for bankruptcy and was ultimately ordered to pay a $1 billion settlement for its wrongdoings. It was also ordered to set up a separate $125 million fund to compensate victims and their families.

As for these double-recalled Rangers, Ford says it will begin notifying owners later this month, instructing them to take their Rangers to a Ford or Lincoln dealer for free repair. That might be easier said than done. In 2018, the automaker offered dealers a $1,000 bonus per truck they could locate and fix. The older the vehicle, the more difficult it can be to find and repair.

2006-2011 Ford Ranger Front Angle View Ford
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