By Tom Krisher
AP Auto Writer
DETROIT — Ford and U.S. safety regulators are telling the owners of 33,428 Ranger pickup trucks in North America not to drive them because they have Takata air bag inflators “that are an immediate risk to safety.”
A company investigation into Ranger inflators from the 2006 model year found test results showing that more inflators had ruptured or recorded high internal pressure readings, spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said Monday.
Ford and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said dealers will tow the Rangers to service bays to replace the faulty inflators and provide loaner vehicles. Parts for the repairs already are available, the company said.
The Rangers added to the do-not-drive list were built between Aug. 5 and Dec. 15, 2005.
Also included on the do-not-drive list are certain 2006 Mazda B-Series trucks, which were made by Ford and are similar to the Ranger.
“Affected owners are urged not to drive these vehicles and to contact Ford and Mazda immediately to schedule a free repair,” NHTSA said in a printed release.
Takata uses ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags. But the chemical can deteriorate and burn too fast, blowing apart metal canisters and hurling shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 22 people have died and more than 180 have been hurt because of the problem.
The inflators also caused the largest series of automotive recalls in U.S. history. About 69 million inflators are being recalled in the U.S. and over 100 million worldwide are being recalled.
Last month Ford told 2,900 Ranger owners not to drive them after finding out that a West Virginia man was killed by an exploding inflator.