After a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation, Ford has reportedly agreed to recall 144,000 F-150 pickup trucks from the 2005-2006 model years. The NHTSA investigation found 238 cases in which airbags from 2004-2006 F-150s deployed unexpectedly, causing 77 injuries.
According to the Detroit News report, 135,000 trucks in the U.S. and 9000 trucks in Canada are affected by the recall, which Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood told the publication involves “a relatively low risk of inadvertent air bag deployments.” The issue has been under investigation by the NHTSA since late 2009.
Meanwhile, the NHTSA is reviewing the recall to determine if it is adequate to meet safety needs. According to the Detroit News, Ford is recalling just one for every 10 vehicles the NHTSA originally requested be recalled. The NHTSA’s request was reportedly issued following Ford’s refusal to issue a voluntary recall. Ford’s reason for not issuing a recall was due to the minor nature of the sustained injuries and the fact that air bag warning lights were lit on affected vehicles. Injuries are said to have included broken teeth, lacerations, and minor cuts and burns.
The root of the issue lies in wiring for the airbag.
“During assembly, a specific air bag wire located in the steering wheel could have been improperly positioned so that it may chafe, expose bare copper and create the potential for a short circuit that would illuminate the warning lamp,” Sherwood told the Detroit News.
Ford says it will work with the NHTSA to correct the issue. An official NHTSA recall alert has not been issued at the time this was published. Recently, the NHTSA also began investigating 1997-2001 F-150s for corroding fuel tank straps.
Source: Detroit News, NHTSA, Ford