Do I Feel Lucky?

2004 Ford Ranger Dash & Airbag Photo - Clarence Holm

2004 Ford Ranger Dash & Airbag
Photo – Clarence Holm

A few days ago, I received a message from the Ford Motor Company in the form of a recall advisory notice. It appears my little red Ford Ranger has a product imperfection that will be replaced – when the parts are available. I was told my local dealer will then contact me to set an appointment to have them installed.

Over the years, I’ve had a number of cars recalled to have vehicle repairs made and it was never a big deal. Once I had a door latch that locked shut, another time an emission control failed and a few years ago an additive was needed for the transmission. All these items were repaired with little inconvenience on my part.

That changed for me as I read the reason for the last recall notice. It seems my trusty truck has a defective airbag. Suddenly I didn’t feel real good about this news.

I had been aware of the Takata Airbag problem for some time and had seen the news reports detailing the eight fatalities and more than 100 injuries linked to these safety devices over 15 years (1987-2012). I had also watched a news report of a lady who had an airbag discharge when she was driving, sending bits of steel into her body and permanently blinding her. I thanked heaven that (at the time) none of my current vehicles was listed in those warnings. Unfortunately, Ford’s notice made my Ranger part of the recall.

Luckily Ford is working on the problem and because it is unlikely that one of these horrific injuries might actually happen to me, the company said not to worry (too much). Unfortunately the recalled airbags for all types of vehicles now total more than 34 million. So switching them all could take years, even as other suppliers race to support this recall effort.

According to Consumer Reports there are a number of things I can do to minimize my risk concerning this recall. I should consider:

  • Minimizing my driving.
  • Carpooling with someone whose vehicle is not affected by the recall.
  • Utilizing public transportation.
  • Renting a car.

These are good suggestions, as far as they go, but if you have to drive the vehicle, like I will have to you may wish to ponder these additionally tips I thought of:

  • Drive really slow
  • Place a Plexiglas shield between yourself and the steering wheel.
  • Avoid regions of the country that are hot and humid that may increase the risk of explosion and heat stroke!
  • Let your spouse do the driving.
  • Sell the truck to a Millennial (They don’t worry about anything!).

While these tips may (or may not) protect you from an airbag incident, you may want to consider this piece of Stanley Weiser’s advice; “A fool and his money are lucky enough to get together in the first place?”

-Clarence Holm

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