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Man Won’t Drive Car until Airbag Recall is Resolved

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WESLACO – A Rio Grande Valley man said a new ordeal with his car’s manufacturer has him hesitant to drive.

Vietnam veteran Refugio Garces said his 2008 Ford Fusion has been sitting in his driveway.  Last July, he received notice his vehicle was under recall over an airbag inflator. Garces said Ford warned the inflator could rupture and could potentially be a deadly safety risk.

"I'm afraid to drive it. I don't want to put my family in jeopardy because of all this shrapnel that will be coming out,” he said.

The company’s recall notice warned him "a ruptured inflator may result in metal fragments striking the vehicle occupants, causing serious injury or death.”

Garces said he visited his dealership several times to follow up on the recall. He said the company still hasn't repaired the issue. "It's going to be a year and still nothing,” he said.

Ford said customers like Garces will have to wait until parts are available. They added the issue relates to air bags made by Takata. "Takata airbag inflator recalls affected the industry in an unprecedented way. We understand that customers are concerned," said Ford Safety Communications Officer Elizabeth Weigandt.

For now, Garces said he only turns the vehicle on to charge the battery. Takata’s exploding airbags have been linked to at least 11 deaths in the U.S.

The company’s recall is the largest in U.S. history and has affected nearly 70 million airbags. For more information on the Takata recall, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/recall-spotlight/takata-air-bags

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