Ford Owners May Still Have Defective Air Bags: Report (Updated)

Automakers that installed Takata air bags in their vehicles have dealt with countless recalls in recent years after defective inflators were found to be responsible for a number of serious injuries and deaths. The resulting cumulative recall became the largest in history, covering roughly six million vehicles across a number of automakers, including three million Ford vehicles. Ford no longer uses Takata air bags in its vehicles, but is still facing legal repercussions from these issues, some of which stems from shoddy recall repairs that later prompted another recall for select Ford Ranger pickups, which was soon followed by yet another recall of that recall. In spite of all this action, it seems as if some Ford owners may still have defective airbags in their vehicles today, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Free Press recently reviewed a host of documents including some internal company memos, dealership notes, federal regulatory filings, and court papers, and found that Ford actually fined dealers that billed the automaker for replacing faulty airbags, even though in some cases, that work was either done incorrectly or not at all. Unfortunately, this has led to more injuries and deaths, this time, impacting owners that thought their vehicles had been repaired appropriately.

Problem is, no one – including Ford and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – truly knows how many vehicles have received faulty airbag repairs or no replacement at all, meaning that the automaker is forced to try and track down the owners of vehicles stretching back to the 2004 model year, even after many have changed hands multiple times since they were built. Regardless, the automaker is adamant that this is an isolated problem and that the majority of affected vehicles are covered by existing recalls.

Ford spokesman T.R. Reid noted that around 41,600 vehicles must be reinspected “where we believe there could be issues with repairs,” and around 11 percent of the total work has been completed thus far, of which around 1.5 percent were found to have botched repair work. Regardless, if that percentage holds true, it would mean that roughly 4,000 vehicles are affected – which could have devastating consequences if the poor repair work isn’t rectified before one of them is involved in an accident.

“I think Ford needs to go back and do a full audit to make sure no one has received a fake Takata repair, that they don’t miss anything,” said Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety. “They need to find every vehicle that hasn’t received the correct fix. They’re the ones ultimately responsible. These are consumers who presented their vehicles for repair and they weren’t repaired. After years of exposure, the failure rate of the air bags goes through the roof and becomes incredibly dangerous. If someone gets an incorrect repair, they’re going to be at risk. There’s no question. You literally have a ticking time bomb that can explode at any moment.”

We’ll have more on this soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for non-stop Ford news coverage.

Update: Ford has responded to the claims made in this Detroit Free Press report, which we’ve outlined here.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

Recent Posts