We start this week with yet another recall for airbags, this time focused on older Ford Ranger trucks. Specifically, Ford is recalling 231,942 Rangers from 2004 through 2006 to replace front passenger airbag inflators that could be installed incorrectly.
If you're experiencing some deja vu here, it's because this is an expansion of an earlier recall covering these trucks, and it all stems from the original recall issued in 2018. Back then, Rangers from these model years joined millions of other vehicles in the ever-expanding Takata airbag recall. Originally listed under Ford Field Service Actions 17S42 and 18S02, Ranger owners who heeded the recall had driver and passenger airbag inflators replaced.
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Flash forward to November 2022. According to a chronology of events posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reports of incorrectly installed passenger airbag inflators in some Rangers led to an official investigation. Back in the day, Ford dealers and a third-party mobile repair team were put into action to handle the original recall work. Now, a replacement inflator was recently found installed incorrectly by a third-party team while working on a truck with an open recall.
This prompted deeper investigations into third-party teams as well as select Ford dealers that have previously undergone recall repair audits. Eight Rangers were found to have passenger airbag inflators installed in an incorrect position. According to Ford, this could cause the airbag to not inflate properly in a collision, potentially leading to injury. The automaker states that, at this time, there are no known accidents or injuries relating to the problem.
Based on these findings, Ford has recalled all Rangers built between May 13, 2003, and May 2, 2006. The passenger airbag will be inspected by a Ford dealer, and if the inflator isn't positioned correctly, it will be reinstalled. Additionally, Ford is revising its airbag inflator kit with an inflator that can only be installed in the correct position. The automaker is also pumping up its messaging to dealers on making sure the inflators are properly installed, including an instruction sheet that shows correct and incorrect inflator positions.
The potential problem is only for passenger-side airbag inflators. Ford will begin notifying owners of affected vehicles on May 22.