Thousands of Ford owners may be at risk of injury from flawed air bag repairs

Sara Morgan Ford Air Bag Incident Detroit Free Press

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said more vehicles should be reinspected.

“I think Ford needs to go back and do a full audit to make sure no one has received a fake Takata repair, that they don’t miss anything,” Brooks said. “They need to find every vehicle that hasn’t received the correct fix. They’re the ones ultimately responsible. These are consumers who presented their vehicles for repair and they weren’t repaired.

By Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press
February 27, 2024

Ford Motor Co. is in the midst of a complex “recall of a recall,” reinspecting more than a quarter-million vehicles after the company discovered sloppy work and false billing by dealership technicians during the required replacement of dangerous Takata air bags.

Some customers whose repair records mistakenly reflect fixes never made are at risk from the devices, which can explode without warning and spray shrapnel on vehicle occupants. Others, drivers of certain Ranger pickups, may have incorrectly installed air bags that may not deploy in a crash, putting passengers at risk.

A Free Press investigation reviewed internal company documents, dealership memos, federal regulatory filings and court papers, showing that Ford fined some dealerships whose repair techs billed the automaker for replacing Takata air bags despite installing the devices incorrectly or not doing the work at all. A federal whistleblower complaint alleges Ford invited trouble by easing repair rules to allow low-skill techs to process the repairs quickly — a charge the automaker adamantly denies.

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