Ford Motor Co., under pressure from government safety regulators, has expanded a recall of the popular F-150 pickup truck to include nearly 1.2 million vehicles that may have defective air bags.


The wider recall was announced on April 14 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and covers all of the F-150 trucks manufactured for the 2004 and 2005 model years, as well as a portion of the 2006 model year. Also under recall are 16,000 2006 Lincoln LT pickup trucks.


The recall came about because an electrical short in the affected vehicles could result in the air bags deploying unexpectedly, in some cases causing drivers personal injuries.


Ford agreed in February to fix 150,000 F-150s. However, the company resisted the government's wishes to recall nearly 1.2 million trucks that max have the problem.


The Ford F-Series of pickup trucks is the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. and the F-150 accounts for approximately 65 percent of F-Series sales. Through March, the company sold nearly 127,000 of the pickups and sold more than 528,000 in 2010. Also included in the F-Series are heavier duty trucks, the F-250 and F-350. They were not affected by the recall.


Ford said that it would issue a notification to all owners in May that they should take their trucks to a dealer who will replace an air bag wire in the steering wheel. The company said the procedure would take less than half a day. The wire can become chafed, causing a short circuit that could cause the air bag to unexpectedly inflate.


Company spokesman Wes Sherwood said the wiring problem was corrected at Ford's factories in January 2006, so trucks manufacturer afterward are not under recall.


In a January 2011 letter to Ford, NHTSA said the agency was aware of 269 cases in which air bags inadvertently deployed. There were 98 reported injuries in connection to those incidents.


Ford told NHTSA that some drivers reported injuries such as burns from contact with the air bag, bruises, neck and back pain, and minor cuts. Two customers reported broken or chipped teeth and two reported elbow or arm fractures. Ford said no crashes caused by the issue had been reported.

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