Ford will expand the recall over air bag defects in its F-150 pickups, the country’s top-selling vehicle. NHTSA told Ford to take this action. The agency had wanted Ford to recall more than the 144,000 trucks from model years 2005-06 that it agreed in February to fix. Some of the recalled trucks have air bags that may deploy when not needed, possibly injuring drivers or passengers. The recall this year followed a 2009 NHTSA investigation into 1.3 million of the trucks.
Ford finally agreed to widen the recall. The recall now covers nearly 1.2 million F-150s built for the 2004 and 2005 model years and some built for 2006. An electrical short can cause the air bags to inflate without a crash and could injure drivers. Ford said it would fix the problem in 150,000 trucks but had resisted the government’s requests to expand the recall.
Owners are to take their trucks to a dealer to replace an air bag wire in the steering wheel. The wire can become chafed, causing a short circuit that can lead to the air bag inflating unexpectedly. The problem was fixed at Ford’s factories in January 2006, so trucks made after that date are not susceptible to it. Ford said the company didn’t recall the trucks five years ago because it didn’t think there was a safety risk. Ford didn’t want to have a large recall, saying it was not necessary. The expanded recall also includes 16,000 Lincoln LT pickups from the 2006 model year.
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