Ford has had some bad luck with recalls, racking up the most of any automaker for the last several years. Now, the company has to reinspect vehicles it's already fixed for incomplete and sloppy work related to the massive Takata airbag recall.

An investigation by The Detroit Free Press discovered that the Blue Oval faced an issue where dealership technicians failed to perform the fix and billed for it anyway, or completed the repair incorrectly. Ford told the publication that it knows of nearly 42,000 vehicles that could have issues with their airbags.

Ford initiated its re-inspection program in March 2022, covering a range of years, makes, and models. According to Ford’s filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the program runs through March 31, 2027. The report found that Ford allegedly issued fines to dealers for the improper work, at $10,000 for each violation.

The program covers the 2005-2014 Ford Mustang, 2005-2006 Ford GT, 2004-2011 Ford Ranger, 2006-2012 Ford Fusion, 2006-2012 Lincoln MKZ/Zephyr, 2006-2011 Mercury Milan, 2007-2010 Ford Edge, and 2007-2010 Ford MKX. Ford spokesperson T.R. Reid told the Freep that it’s found only 1.5 percent of reinspected cars to have issues.

Ford has had to fiddle with fixed vehicles in the past. Last year, the automaker recalled roughly 231,000 older Rangers that had their Takata airbag successfully removed. The company wanted to inspect the completed repair work because some of the pickups had their new front passenger airbag inflators installed incorrectly, which may not deploy as intended. 

The Takata airbag recall remains the most massive in US history, covering 67 million vehicles from over 30 automotive brands. Millions have yet to be replaced, and automakers have taken drastic action to remove the deadly inflators from cars. The faulty airbags have killed 26 people and injured more than 400 in the US alone.

Toyota, BMW, Honda, and others have gone as far as to issue do-not-drive orders for older vehicles with unrepaired airbags. Ford also issued two Takata-related do-not-drive orders six years ago, and it has completed 98.5 percent of those repairs. The company is continuing to reach out to the remaining customers. 

The cause of the exploding inflators is the propellant that can degrade over time when exposed to moisture and temperature fluctuations, making older vehicles especially dangerous. The degraded propellant can cause the inflator to explode, sending shrapnel into the cabin.

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