Interested in Mechanic Training? 5 Things You Should Know about the Ford Airbag Recall

Properly functioning airbags are critical in ensuring drivers’ and passengers’ safety

While product recalls are nothing new in the auto industry, the recent airbag recall has been one of the biggest in history, affecting millions of vehicles worldwide.

For anyone interested in mechanic training, the recall is a good reminder of the importance of the product recall process for removing dangerous vehicles or components from circulation, and a good illustration of how that process works.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a mechanic, here are a few important facts about the airbag recall currently affecting Ford vehicles.

Millions of Vehicles Have Been Affected by the Airbag Recall

Ford vehicles currently under recall include the 2010 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, the 2010 and 2011 Ford Ranger, the 2010 to 2012 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, the 2010 and 2011 Mercury Milan, and the 2010 to 2014 Ford Mustang. This amounts to around 782,000 vehicles in the US and 149,652 in Canada.

Ford, however, was not the only automaker with faulty Takata airbags. Other automakers affected by the recall include Honda, General Motors, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Mazda, and Volkswagen, among others. Taking into account all of these manufacturers, some 5.4 million Takata airbags have been subject to recall in Canada (though the number of vehicles affected is somewhat lower, as some have both driver and passenger airbags under recall).

The Takata Airbag Can Be Deadly

The issue with the Takata airbags under recall stems from their use of a chemical called ammonium nitrate. This chemical is used to create the explosion that inflates the airbag, but it can deteriorate over time when exposed to heat and humidity, causing it to explode with excessive force. When this happens, it can actually blow apart the metal canister meant to contain the explosion, sending potentially lethal shards of shrapnel flying out and igniting the airbag itself. The Takata airbag has been linked to at least 23 deaths worldwide.

The Company Responsible for the Faulty Airbags Has Declared Bankruptcy

Takata, the Japanese firm responsible for the faulty airbags, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018 in both Japan and the US as a result of the extensive recalls. The company faces tens of billions of dollars in costs and liabilities resulting from recalls and lawsuits. Once the number two producer of safety products worldwide, the company began producing airbags in 1987, and produces one-third of all seatbelts used in vehicles.

Students in Mechanic Training Should Know that Recalls Are Being Rolled Out Gradually

The Takata airbag recall is actually a series of recalls, with the vehicles and airbags deemed most at risk given first priority, such as those in hot and humid climates where the ammonium nitrate is more likely to have degraded, and more low-risk vehicles being added to the recall list later. This means that even if a vehicle hasn’t been named in the recall yet, that doesn’t mean it won’t be, so drivers and students in auto mechanic courses should be keeping an eye on the issue for any new developments.

Many Defective Airbags Have Yet to Be Replaced

Replacement for defective airbags is entirely free for car owners, who simply need to bring their vehicle into their local Ford dealership. Despite this, many owners are still driving with defective airbags. While more up-to-date figures are not yet available, as of August 2018 Transport Canada reported that only 40% of the Takata airbags then under recall had been replaced. Students completing their mechanic training should be aware, then, that many affected vehicles are still on the roads.

Dealerships will replace affected airbags without charge
Dealerships will replace affected airbags without charge

Are you interested in pursuing a career in the automotive service industry?

Contact Automotive Training Centres for more information about our automotive schools in Canada.

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