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Ford launches major recall of older vehicles with Takata airbags

The automaker says 2.7 million cars and trucks are equipped with dangerous airbags

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Ford is recalling 2.7 million older cars and trucks in the U.S. because of issues relating to Takata airbags. The automaker said it would spend $610 million to make the repairs.

The affected vehicles are part of the 2006 to 2012 model years and include the Ford Fusion, Ranger, and Edge; Lincoln/MKZ/Zephyr and MKX; and Mercury Milan. 

In addition to the vehicles being recalled from U.S. roads, the company is recalling about 300,000 cars and trucks in Canada.

Ford revealed the recall Thursday evening in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, noting that it would negatively affect fourth-quarter earnings. Earlier in the week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) denied a 2017 petition by Ford seeking to avoid the recall.

Deadly explosion

Takata airbags have resulted in the largest auto recalls in history. Because of a problem with the inflator, there can be a degradation in the propellant over time that causes the airbags to deploy inadvertently.

When that happens, the inflator may explode and send tiny bits of metal throughout the vehicle cabin, posing a lethal threat to the occupants. 

The recalls began in 2014, but automakers were still finding and recalling vehicles with Takata airbags as recently as November. General Motors recalled 7 million 2007-2014 model pickup trucks and SUVs that contain potentially lethal Takata airbags.

Months earlier, Honda and Nissanrecalled a combined 1.3 million vehicles. 

At least 18 deaths in the U.S. have been attributed to the exploding airbags. The incidents have occurred after only slight contact between the car and another object, and sometimes with no contact at all. Safety experts say humid climate conditions, such as those in the Southeastern region of the U.S., are especially conducive to inadvertent airbag deployment.

What you need to know

It is dangerous to drive a vehicle with an open recall for its Takata airbags. The NHTSA has urged vehicle owners to take a few simple steps to protect themselves. 

Since it is mostly older vehicles that are affected by these recalls, automakers may not have up-to-date information about who owns the car or truck, so they may be unable to make contact.

Owners of older vehicles can check to see if they are affected by this issue by using the NHTSA’s online recall database. Click here and enter your vehicle identification number (VIN) in the provided field.

The VIN can be found on the vehicle’s registration and is usually embossed into the dashboard on the driver’s side.

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