Ford Motor Co. is urging owners of certain 2006 Ford Rangers to stop driving the pickup trucks immediately.
After attributing a second death to a defective airbag inflator made by Japanese auto supplier Takata Corp., the automaker identified approximately 3,000 of the pickups in North America with the airbags that pose higher risk of rupturing in the event of a crash.
The affected airbags are dangerous because propellants inside can deteriorate and explode, shooting metal shrapnel into the pickup truck’s interior.
This is part of a worldwide recall – the largest ever in the U.S. – involving nearly every automaker. The total number of Takata airbags affected by the recall has topped 37.5 million, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A NHTSA representative said the faulty airbags have been associated with 15 deaths in the U.S.
Takata filed for bankruptcy in June.
Ford issued the safety recall after it was notified in December of a crash involving a driver-side Takata airbag rupture in a 2006 Ford Ranger that happened in July. The first fatal crash involving a faulty airbag inflator in a Ranger was reported in December 2015.
Affected vehicles were built at the Twin Cities Assembly Plant between Aug. 10 and Dec. 15, 2005.
This isn’t the first time the automaker has issued a recall regarding potentially faulty Takata airbags in its Ranger pickup. In January 2016, Ford recalled nearly 400,000 Rangers with models years ranging from 2004 through 2006.
Owners of the affected pickup trucks are urged to contact a Ford dealer immediately to schedule a free repair, NHTSA said.
Ford said parts are available now, and dealers are standing by to make the necessary repairs. The company also will send mobile repair teams to owners’ homes or provide loaner vehicles if needed.