2004 Ford F-150

Ford announced it would be sending a recall notice to owners of almost 1.2 million Ford F-150 and Lincoln Mark LT pickup trucks. The recall is for a wiring issue that can cause the airbag to deploy unexpectedly.

Ford issued an earlier recall for the same issue in February, but that recall was limited to only 150,000 trucks. After further investigation, Ford expanded the recall to cover a much larger batch of vehicles.

The NHTSA said it has had 238 reports of the airbag deploying incorrectly, with 77 injuries as a result, according to Autoblog.

With this type of flaw there is not only the potential for injury due to the force of the airbag opening, but also the potential of causing a collision if the vehicle is in motion.

The problem comes from a wire that provides electricity to the airbag while allowing the steering wheel to rotate. In affected vehicles, the wire can rub up against a plate inside the steering assembly, which over time causes the wire to lose its protective insulation. With the insulation gone, the system is prone to short circuit, causing the airbag to deploy.

The recall is for 2004-2006 Ford F150s and 2006 Lincoln Mark LTs. If your vehicle falls in this range it is recommended that you contact your local dealer immediately to see if your vehicle is affected, and schedule any necessary repairs. Dealers have been instructed to replace the faulty wire and install a protective plate that prevents the rubbing from occurring.

The NHTSA says that if the insulation has been stripped, it may cause the airbag warning light to light up on the dashboard, providing some advance notice of a problem. Even still, it’s best to get the work done right away rather than wait for a warning light to come on.

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J. Mark Sternberg is an automotive journalist, car enthusiast and writer with a degree from the University of Arizona. Mark is a devoted Formula 1 fan and also enjoys boating, flying and attending the occasional track day.

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