The side curtain airbag may not prevent occupants from being ejected during a crash
2022 Ford Maverick
By Keith Barry
Ford is recalling nearly 65,000 Maverick pickup trucks from the 2022 model year to replace their side curtain airbags, while new Mavericks are waiting for new airbags before they can be sold. Testing showed that the vehicles’ current airbags may not meet federal standards for keeping occupants from being ejected during a rollover or side-impact crash.
Ford says that it is not aware of any crashes or injuries related to this issue.
Owners will be able to get their airbags replaced free of charge. In the meantime, a Ford spokesperson tells CR that the automaker has not issued instructions to stop driving the vehicles.
The issue came to light during verification testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency responsible for vehicle safety. Manufacturers certify that their own vehicles meet applicable safety regulations based on their own company crash tests, but NHTSA will occasionally randomly test certain vehicles to make sure that they are in compliance.
Ford stopped installing the faulty airbags on new vehicles after confirming the agency’s findings and issued a "stop ship" order at the factory. The automaker is still building vehicles, but is currently awaiting parts so it can install updated airbags on new Mavericks built after July 9, 2022.
Regardless of what vehicle you drive, one of the most important things you can do to prevent being ejected from a vehicle is to make sure you and all vehicle occupants are wearing a seat belt.
Vehicles recalled: Ford Maverick pickup trucks manufactured before July 9, 2022.
The problem: Side curtain airbags may not meet the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 226 S4.2.1, which has to do with ejection mitigation. Though Ford’s initial internal tests showed that the airbags met the standard, NHTSA’s compliance audit found displacement that exceeded federal regulations. After NHTSA contacted the automaker, Ford re-tested the airbags and confirmed the agency’s findings. In documents provided to NHTSA, Ford says it has been unable to determine why its own initial test results differ from NHTSA’s, but that it is still working to determine the root cause.
The fix: Ford dealerships will replace the curtain airbag modules on both sides of the vehicle with the new curtain airbag module design that meets all federal requirements.
How to contact the manufacturer: Ford will begin notifying owners of affected vehicles by mail starting Sept. 22, 2022. Owners may also contact Ford at 866-436-7332.
NHTSA campaign number: 22V594. Ford’s own number for this recall is 22C20.
Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: NHTSA’s website will tell you whether your vehicle has any open recalls that need to be addressed.
If you plug your car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) into NHTSA’s website and a recall doesn’t appear, it means your vehicle doesn’t currently have any open recalls. Because automakers issue recalls often, and for many older vehicles, we recommend checking back regularly to see whether your vehicle has had a recall issued.
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