This morning, Ford Motor Company issued four recalls affecting more than 143,000 late-model Ford vehicles, including the Mustang, Explorer, Focus, Taurus, and F-Series pickups.
RECALL #1: 2015-17 Ford F-150 Crew Cab, 2017 F-250 and F-350 Super Duty Crew Cab
UNITS AFFECTED: 141,340, including 117,423 in the U.S., 15,715 in Canada, and 8,202 in Mexico
This recall accounts for the majority of vehicles affected by today’s announcement and stems from a problem with a rear inflatable seatbelt. According to Ford, the rivet head that secures the left rear inflatable seatbelt buckle may not be thick enough to hold it in place during a collision. If the buckle separates from its mounting bracket, it won’t work as intended, increasing the risk of injury to the passenger.
The recall affects vehicles built on the following dates:
- 2015-17 Ford F-150 pickups manufactured at Ford’s Dearborn Assembly Plant and at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant between July 20, 2015 and June 16, 2017
- 2017 Ford Super Duty trucks manufactured at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant between October 20, 2015 and June 16, 2017
Ford will mail recall notices to owners of those vehicles, asking them to schedule service appointments with their local dealerships. Dealers will inspect the rivet head on the left rear seatbelt buckle assembly and replace the entire assembly if the rivet isn’t of the proper size.
If you own one of these trucks and have further questions, you’re encouraged to call Ford Customer Service at 800-392-3673 and ask about recall #17C12.
RECALL #2: 2017 Ford F-150, Mustang
UNITS AFFECTED: 935, including 650 in the U.S., 279 in Canada, and six in Mexico
This is a much smaller recall than the one listed above, but the reasons underlying it pose just as serious a threat to passenger safety.
Ford says that the vehicles affected by this recall are equipped with passenger-side airbags inflators from ARC–inflators that have been under scrutiny from regulators for over a year. Though the inflators are of a different design than the deadly ones created by Takata, they may be just as fatally flawed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has noted that ARC’s inflators use a combination of high-pressure gas and ammonium nitrate to deploy airbags. Some of them appear to malfunction in the same way as Takata’s, which rely more heavily on ammonium nitrate–specifically, ARC’s inflators have exploded with excessive force, pelting vehicle occupants with shrapnel, and killing at least one driver in Canada.
Ironically, Ford learned of irregularities with ARC’s inflators from Takata, which has been using them in its own airbags. Takata’s lab tests show that ARC’s inflators have a greater than average risk of deploying abnormally.
Less ironically, Tennessee-based ARC appears to have been following moves from Takata’s foot-dragging playbook, refusing to cooperate fully with a federal investigation of its products. ARC folks, if you’re reading this, please note that the strategy didn’t work out so well in Takata’s case.
The recall affects the following models:
- 2017 Ford F-150 built at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant between July 20, 2017 and August 1, 2017
- 2017 Ford Mustang built at Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant between July 20, 2017 to August 1, 2017
Ford will mail recall notices to owners of those vehicles, asking them to take their vehicles to dealerships for service. Dealers will replace the passenger-side airbag modules.