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Let's Give responsibility for replacing air bags a 10-year limit....

Discussion in 'General Automotive Discussion' started by bitzman, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. bitzman

    bitzman F1 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2008
    2,630
    Ontario, CA
    Editorial: Air Bags Enough Already
    When I read Jan, 22nd that Ford will recall 3 million vehicles for air bag inflators that could rupture, at a cost of $610 million, I wondered when this will ever stop?
    I was around when air bags were first invented--I worked PR for a lab that did all kinds of experiments for safety, some using cadavers, others dogs. At the time in the spirit of Ralph Nader we thought every safety feature was a godsend.
    But now, 70 later automakers are bring hit with repeated fines for selling safety equipment that deteriorated when it got old. I ask how long , for God's sake, do we expect these bags to work? For the life of the car? When the automakers agreed to put air bags in, did they ever think when the car becomes a $500 rambling rusto bucket-oh at the dark corner of the used car lot they would still be responsible for air bags invented many decades ago?
    I think there should be a statute of limitations for ten years after the car's model year. Before when I aired this idea and said competition safety belts should be put in instead I got heat from those who said the cloth belts deteriorate fast, they rot in three years so who would pay for their replacement?
    I point to other parts of the car--the engine, the trans, the differential, most new car buyers are lucky to get a 30,000 mile warranty but at least a couple, like Kia, go 100,000. They needed to do that to overcome n early reputation for lack of quality. But nobody would demand Kia do replacement of worn out mechanical parts at 200,000 or 300,000 miles. And yet, with air bags every old car is a rolling time bomb as the propellants lose their reliability and the casings age and crack and throw shrapnel when they explode.
    If the gum'mint keeps imposing the "You're responsible forever" rules on automakers, a lot of them will go broke.
    Ralph Nader probably doesn't care. Old Ralphie got what he wanted but these rising costs of having to keep devices updated in old cars that are simultaneously plunging in value is going to kill the American auto industry.
    A story from Reuters by David Shepardson Jan. 22, 2021 said
    "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday ordered Ford to issue the recall for driver-side air bag inflators, rejecting the automaker's 2017 petition to avoid it.
    The defect, which in rare instances leads to air bag inflators rupturing and sending potentially deadly metal fragments flying, prompted the largest automotive recall in U.S. history of more than 67 million inflators. Worldwide, about 100 million inflators installed by 19 major automakers have been recalled.

    The recall includes 2.7 million U.S. vehicles. Ford will include the cost in fourth-quarter results.

    The vehicles were previously recalled for passenger-side inflators. "We believe our extensive data demonstrated that a safety recall was not warranted for the driver-side airbag. However, we respect NHTSA’s decision and will issue a recall," Ford said.

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    NHTSA also required Mazda Motor Corp to recall 5,800 air bag inflators in 2007–2009 B-Series vehicles.

    The Reuters story went on: "Takata inflators have resulted in at least 400 injuries and 27 deaths worldwide - including 18 U.S. fatalities with two in previously recalled 2006 Ford Ranger trucks.

    The Ford vehicles being recalled include various 2006-2012 model-year Ranger, Fusion, Edge, Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKX vehicles.

    In November, NHTSA rejected a petition filed by General Motors Co to avoid recalling 5.9 million U.S. vehicles with Takata air bags. GM said the callback covered 7 million vehicles worldwide and would cost $1.2 billion.

    Ford separately disclosed on Thursday it expects to record a pretax remeasurement loss of $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter related to pension and other post-employment benefits plans, driven by lower discount rates.

    Ford said the remeasurement loss is expected to reduce net income by about $1.2 billion, but did not change expectations for 2021 pension contributions."

    I say enough already. No part of a car should be warrantied past a 10-year time limit. I had a 2015 car that was just hit in 2019, the car was still drivable but once the side airbags were deployed, the insurance company junked it. You can imagine how nervous car companies get when cars are more than 10 years old...
     
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  3. Mimmo Blue

    Mimmo Blue Formula Junior

    Apr 17, 2018
    284
    Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada
    Full Name:
    Dom
    The maintenance manual for the 360 says the air bags should be replaced after 10 years. I wonder how many people have done that or if there even is a new replacement part available
     
  4. technom3

    technom3 F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Mar 29, 2007
    6,742
    Phoenix AZ
    Full Name:
    Justin
    Yup and airbags gave been available since the 355...
     
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  5. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
    Professional Ferrari Technician Consultant

    Sep 18, 2002
    15,497
    The Cold North
    Full Name:
    Tom
    I have never had a customer walk in the shop and tell me to replace thier airbags because they are outdated.. ever.

    The reason? It is not an item that has been pounded into peoples heads that needs to be changed like oil chnages have been. Most people forget they are even there. Seat belts have an expiry date, just like child seats do. When was the last time you changed seatbelts in any car you have owned?

    The reason for the recalls is because a defect was found in the firing system.of the airbag and could result in either non deployment in an accident or random deployment while driving. That is dangerous no matter the age of the airbag. However..if the bag has expired..then they should be off the hook.
     
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  6. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
    Moderator Owner

    Nov 20, 2003
    14,671
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Full Name:
    Matt F
    I think that no one honestly knows.

    Decaying over time reminds me of half-lives. It’s not like something magical happens after ten years. Deterioration is a strange slope.

    It would seem responsible on the part of manufacturers to buy back a small, but statistically significant sample size of cars and test and see how their airbags worked. Or didn’t.

    Matt
     
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  8. Ak Jim

    Ak Jim F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Dec 23, 2007
    5,465
    North Pole AK
    If you have to replace the airbags at the 10 year point most cars will be junked. The cost of replacement will be well beyond what the car is worth.
     
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