Ford Motor Co. is searching for 45 needles in more than 153,000 haystacks.
In this case, the needles are potentially bad Takata airbag inflators that vanished without a trace and the haystacks are 2004-06 Ford Rangers that might contain them.
Because Ford doesn't know what happened to the obsolete Takata parts, the automaker is recalling 153,107 Rangers at the request of federal regulators.
The 45 missing inflators "were not purged from service stock after the parts for the permanent service fix became available," Ford said. "Following extensive investigation and tracing, Ford could not account for some of the obsolete Takata service parts, indicating that they may have been installed on vehicles as part of collision or theft repairs."
Or they could be sitting in a landfill somewhere. Either way, NHTSA says the only way to be sure is to start opening up steering wheels and see what's inside.
It's just another bizarre — and expensive — twist in the unending Takata airbag saga.