Back in December, 52-year-old Joel Knight was plodding along in his 2006 Ford Ranger when he crashed into a cow and a fence. The odd part, according to the law firm representing his family, is that the crash didn’t kill him. The airbag did.
On top of the massive heap of recalls related to faulty Takata airbags, and as part of the 5 million more recalls additional recalls you heard about even more recently, Ford has just announced that they’re recalling every 2004 to 2006 Ford Ranger in the United States and Canada, which they say is a total of 391,394 vehicles.
So suddenly Ford has to prepare to fix almost 400,000 trucks with the ‘06 body style that have been out of production for a decade. This was the company’s response when asked about the timetable for repairs:
“We plan to notify customers of the safety recall by mail the week of Feb 22, and they can also go to ford.com and click on “safety recalls” to see open recalls for their vehicles before then. We do have some parts available now and are working with our suppliers to develop additional replacement service inflators as quickly as possible.”
I don’t know how to read “as quickly as possible” any way other than “we don’t know,” which is alarming but shouldn’t be surprising. Theoretically, the company should never have to suddenly stock the parts to repair every single example of a model they built more than ten years ago.
Then again, how many 04-06 Ranger owners are going to bring their trucks in to get this problem corrected at all?
To be specific, the problem we’re talking about here is that the explosive chemical meant to inflate Takata’s airbags has been deteriorating over time, which has resulted in the explosion of metal canisters designed containing it. This is apparently exactly what happened to Mr. Knight, the 10th known death in such an incident on top of “more than 100" known injuries according to The Detroit News.
“If not for the inflator rupture, the crash would have been moderate and wouldn’t have killed him,” as The Detroit News quotes Amanda Dotter, spokeswoman for the Elrod Pope Law Firm representing Knight’s family.
14 car companies have been affected by these issues so far, and with the count climbing, at this rate I’m seriously considering getting a bomb squad to dismantle the airbags on my Toyota truck and Acura sedan.
Image via Ford