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232K 2004-2006 Ford Ranger Pickups Recalled Again As Part Of Takata Recall

In another of the many continuing chapters of the Takata airbag recall and scandal, Ford has announced it is recalling 232,000 2004-2006 Ranger pickups to replace improperly installed front airbag inflators.

Following last week’s “do not drive” order of 90,000 2003-2006 BMW models because they were equipped with faulty Takata airbags, Ford joined the parade today with a recall of 232,000 2004-2006 compact Ranger pickups. The Ranger has grown into an intermediate pickup now.

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Second Recall For These Airbag Inflators

The issue today isn’t a “do not drive” order. Instead, it is a warning that the airbags installed as frontal replacement devices for the Rangers were installed incorrectly. According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Ford investigators found eight vehicles with front passenger airbag inflators that were incorrectly installed.

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Ford’s action follows two earlier recalls in 2017 and 2018. The earlier recalls were part of the ongoing Takata safety airbag inflator recalls. The Takata recalls began as early as 2001-2003 when Honda Civics and Accords were called back to have their front airbag inflators replaced.

The Honda and Ford recalls were part of the earliest pieces of this massive safety scandal. At that time, the manufacturer, Takata, was trying to find the issues that kept recalls hitting the manufacturer. Indeed, the manufacturer tried to come up with changes to its airbag inflators four times between 2001 and 2017 when Takata went under. The airbag manufacturer was a victim of this recall. This recall involved primary probes by NHTSA that resulted in the safety agency's most significant fines ever levied. The fines were more than $300 million. In 2017, the agency worked out a schedule with the manufacturer – and its successors – to the point that the whole issue should have been decided by this year. It has not been decided, as Ford and BMW found by this past weekend.

70 Million Vehicles, 100 Million Inflators Involved

The total recall involved about 70 million vehicles and 100 million airbag inflators. Over 32 drivers have been victims of exploding Takata airbag inflators made at the former manufacturer’s plants in Mexico. The problem involves the propellant used to deploy the frontal airbags, ammonium nitrate. When ammonium nitrate is exposed over time to moisture, it becomes spoiled. In turn, the spoiled ammonium nitrate becomes more robust so that the blasts involved in deployment become fatal as the inflator housings blow apart. The shards scythe through the vehicle interiors like shrapnel from an exploding shell. More than 400 drivers have been seriously hurt.

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NHTSA found that because of the warm environment where the inflators were built, vehicles housed in these areas tended to have problems more often than vehicles housed in more excellent areas of the country. When the safety agency made its findings about six years ago, it determined that it was a regional, not a national, recall. It said vehicles in the South, Southeast, and West would likely have problems. Further, they said that Hawaii, U.S. Pacific Trust, and Trust Territories were more likely to feel this recall.

The agency also announced six years ago that there were three significant clusters of vehicles involved, including 2001-2003 Hondas (the automaker owned a minority stake in Takata and used its products exclusively until it cut the cord in 2016), 2003-2006 Ford Ranger trucks, and vehicles that were sold in Indonesia.

The new Ford recall is for replacements for Takata-made airbag inflators that were poorly installed.

Consumer Information Listed

Owners of the affected vehicles will be notified beginning May 23, 2023, when they can bring their vehicles into dealerships to inspect and replace the airbag inflators if needed. The repairs are free of charge.

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For more information, owners can contact Ford customer service at 866-436-7332 and ask about recall 23S08. Or, owners can contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4326 or visit the safety agency’s website at and inquire about recall 23V306.

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Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, “You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent many misspent hours hanging out at gas stations (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Only a few people know that I also handled computer documentation for most of my earnings while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.