Ford Motor Co. has added 33,428 additional Ranger pickup trucks in the U.S. to its list of vehicles “that are an immediate risk to safety” because their defective Takata airbag inflators may explode and blast metal pieces at vehicle occupants with deadly force.
In a related recall, Mazda has recalled an additional 1,955 Mazda B-Series pickup trucks from the 2006 model year. Ford, which made the B-Series for Mazda, said test results showed that the recalled trucks had Takata airbag inflators that ruptured or recorded high internal pressure readings.
“Affected owners are urged not to drive these vehicles and to contact Ford and Mazda immediately to schedule a free repair,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a Feb. 12 release.
The affected Ford and Mazda pickup trucks are under a “do not drive” warning issued by NHTSA. Owners of the vehicles included in this recall expansion are urged to schedule a service appointment with a local dealer, which will tow the vehicle to a service station free of charge.
Last month, NHTSA announced that Ford and Mazda were recalling 2,860 pickups from the 2006 model year after a second person was killed by a Takata airbag explosion in a 2006 Ford Ranger. The vehicles involved in both deadly incidents involved Takata airbag inflators that were produced on Sept. 5, 2005.
According to Car and Driver, the Ford and Mazda pickup trucks have Takata airbags with inflators that were made on Sept. 3, 2005 and Sept. 5, 2005. The Takata production factors that contributed to an “elevated risk of rupture” in inflators made on those two days is not clear.
Takata uses ammonium nitrate in its airbag inflator mechanisms. The highly volatile chemical compound degrades when exposed to heat and humidity over time, making it prone to combust and deploy the airbag with deadly force.
Although NHTSA hasn’t estimated how likely the Takata airbags are to explode in the Ranger and B-Series trucks, in an urgent recall of certain 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles it said the Takata airbags had a one-in-two chance of exploding with lethal force.
At least 22 people have died from Takata airbag injuries and nearly 200 others have been injured.