Ford is recalling nearly 2 million Ford F-150 pickups due to an issue with their seatbelts that could start a fire.
You don’t normally think of seatbelts as being dangerous--quite the opposite, in fact! They’re supposed to save your life in the event of a crash. But a manufacturing defect in the Ford F-150 pickup is actually turning what should be a safety device into a potentially fatal accident just waiting to happen.
As reported by Autoblog, the NHTSA began investigating several fires last month that was caused by the seatbelt pretensioner--that’s the device that activates to snap your seatbelt taught in the event of an accident. It works on the same sensors that your airbag operates, and is the reason many people come away with seatbelt-shaped bruises after a crash.
The problem was the seatbelt pretensioner was causing sparks to fly off the seatbelt and ignite the insulation around the F-150’s B-pillar. Five fires were reported, and although none of them involved injuries, three of those fires resulted in the total loss of the vehicle.
This is a big deal. If you get into an accident and fall unconscious while your car catches fire, it could easily turn an awful situation into one with dire consequences.
The recall affects 2 million trucks, with 1.6 million in the USA, 340,000 in Canada, and the rest in Mexico. So far, there have been 17 reports of smoke and fire in the United States and six in Canada. No deaths or injuries have been reported.
Ford will naturally fix the problem free of charge by removing the B-pillar insulation and replacing the wiring harness tape with something that’s a little more heat resistant. While this will make your car a little less able to insulate from the cold, it’s better than getting so hot that you ignite.
Affected vehicles are built between 2015 and 2018 and include both Regular and SuperCrew Cab F-150s. Ford will begin contacting owners September 24th to arrange for them to drop by a local dealership for their free repairs. Check out the NHTSA website for more info.