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When your car is recalled, the expectation is once it’s fixed, you never have to think about it again. Unfortunately, for Ford Ranger owners included in the recall back in 2017 and 2018, it’s time to re-acquaint themselves with their local dealership. That’s because Ford issued a second recall for the same thing supposedly fixed a few years ago. 

What year Rangers are in this recall?

Beige 2006 Ford Ranger
2006 Ford Ranger | Ford

The original recall was for 2004 to 2006 Ranger pickups. It was part of the massive Takata airbag recalls that seem like they never end. Takata’s airbag scandal forced a recall to replace 67 million airbags so far. There are also an additional 11 million still needing replacement, as of January 2023. But there was a problem. Ford now says that some of the airbag replacement installations were faulty. 

The recalls originated due to Takata’s inflators sending out metal fragments upon impact. This proved to be lethal for 235 drivers, with hundreds of injuries. Compounding the problem is that Takata airbags are sometimes activating under normal driving.

How many Rangers has Ford found with bad airbag installations?

Black 2004 Ford Ranger
2004 Ford Ranger | Ford

But an audit of the recall efforts has shown that some of the replacement airbags don’t deploy at all in an accident. Installations by both Ford service technicians and also third-party mobile repair companies are at issue. While instructions and diagrams were part of the recall replacement kits, many of the service techs admit they never looked at the instructions. 

Ford says that it is aware of only eight such instances of this occurring in Ranger trucks. But that is enough to initiate a new round of Ranger recalls. In all, 231,942 Ranger trucks are part of this new re-recall, making this the third airbag fitted into these pickups.

Of the over 400 deaths attributed to Takata airbags worldwide, 24 happened in the U.S. Some of the Takata airbags installed in cars go back to the 1998 Honda Accord. So this has been a long and gruesome chapter in safety recalls. And it also has the dubious record of being the largest vehicle recall in history.

Was anyone prosecuted over the Takata airbag scandal?

White 2004 Ford Ranger
2004 Ford Ranger | Ford

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other federal regulators found that the problem with the inflators was due to the propellant used in them. Inflation occurs when ammonium nitrate releases on impact in a crash. 

They found that the propellant burned too quickly, resulting in the inflators violently exploding, according to Automotive News. Wet, damp weather also plays a big part in these violent airbag inflations. With wet weather exposure and abrupt changes in temperatures, the ammonium nitrate has a tendency to explode in crashes. 

Once the error was found, federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Takata. And for concealing information about the problems, it was also ordered to pay $975 million in restitution and $25 million in fines. In all, it was a deadly episode that is still affecting the auto industry today.


The Ford Ranger Still Has Deadly Takata Airbags