Under pressure from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford Motor Co. has expanded a recall of the F-150 pickup trucks to include nearly 1.2 million vehicles that may have defective air bags. The expanded recall is for a possible short-circuit that could cause airbags to deploy unexpectedly, and involves nearly 1.2 million F-150 pickup trucks and 16,000 Lincoln Mark LT vehicles
NHTSA reported in a January letter to Ford that the agency knew of 269 cases in which the air bags deployed inadvertently, resulting in 98 injuries, some serious. NHTSA stated that Ford made production changes to the trucks in 2006 and 2007 to fix the air bag wiring and other issues.
Ford said it will begin notifying vehicle owners in May to bring the pickup trucks or Lincolns into dealers for repair at no cost. Repairs will take less than half a day. However, owners are asked to bring in their vehicles right away if their airbag warning light is illuminated. If the light is ignored, in some circumstances, the driver’s side front airbag could deploy unexpectedly.
Ford said the airbag warning typically is illuminated for “an extended period” before the driver’s side front airbag surprises a driver by deploying. Drivers should have time to safely take the vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln/Mercury dealer if they do so when the warning signal is first lit, Ford said.
Ford said its field data indicates that drivers have maintained control of their vehicles if the front side airbag deploys.
Overall, the recall affects 1.32 million trucks from the model years 2004 to 2006.