Economy In Gear

Record-breaking Takata airbag recall expands again

Takata recalls pushed well over the 1-million mark, with 816,000 Ford, Lincoln, Mercury vehicles added.

Child seats manufactured by Takata Corp. are displayed at a Toyota Motor Corp.'s showroom in Tokyo. Scientists hired by the auto industry have determined the circumstances that cause Takata air bags to explode violently.
Shizuo Kambayashi/AP/File

It's been a very busy week in the auto world–and it's not over yet.

Over the past few days, the 2017 North American International Auto Show kicked off in Detroit; Volkswagen's ongoing Dieselgate scandal reached a massively important milestone; and one of the largest recalls in history–the one involving Takata's fatally flawed airbag inflators–added hundreds of thousands of vehicles to its repair list. 

Now, Ford has pushed this week's Takata additions well over the one-million mark. This morning, the automaker said that it was recalling more than 816,000 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles in North America to replace potentially dangerous airbag inflators.

Recall details

As with the Honda and Acura recall we reported on yesterday, today's action from Ford addresses passenger-side airbags. Those devices are equipped with inflators that make use of ammonium nitrate–a compound that can become highly unstable in the presence of heat and moisture.

When that happens, those inflators can deploy with too much force during collisions, ripping airbags and showering vehicle occupants with hot shrapnel. (For a full explanation of the problem, click here.) 

To date, Takata airbags have been conclusively linked to 16 deaths and well over 100 injuries worldwide. Most of those incidents have occurred in Honda vehicles, which isn't surprising considering that Honda was, until fairly recently, Takata's biggest client.

However, at least one driver of a Ford vehicle has been killed by the faulty inflators. That incident sparked a new sense of urgency among U.S. regulators and automakers, who subsequently accelerated the pace of recalls.  

That brings us to today and Ford's recall of the following makes and models:

  • 2007-09 Ford Edge
  • 2005-06 Ford GT
  • 2006-09 and 2012 Ford Fusion
  • 2005-09 and 2012 Ford Mustang
  • 2007-09 Ford Ranger
  • 2006-09 and 2012 Lincoln Zephyr
  • 2007-09 Lincoln MKX
  • 2006-09 and 2012 Lincoln MKZ
  • 2006-09 Mercury Milan

Despite the aforementioned death of a driver in a Ford Ranger pickup, Ford says that it has received no reports of passengers being injured or killed by airbag inflators on the vehicles recalled today.

The recall affects 816,309 vehicles in North America, 654,695 of which are registered in the U.S. and 161,174 of which are registered in Canada. Owners of those vehicles will receive recall notices from Ford by mail. The notices will explain when and how owners should schedule service with their local dealers. According to Ford, that service will involve replacement of the passenger-side frontal airbag inflator–a fix that will be carried out at no charge to owners.

If you own one of the vehicles listed above and have further questions, Ford has set up a special "Frequently Asked Questions" page on its website, where you can find answers to some of the most common questions about Takata airbags and the recall.

To find out whether your vehicle is included in today's recall–or any other Ford recall, for that matter–visit the recalls section of Ford's website for owners and enter your car's vehicle identification number in the search bar at the bottom of the page. Those who prefer communicating by phone can also call Ford's customer service line at 800-392-3673 and ask about safety recall #17S01.

This story originally appeared on The Car Connection.

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