Approximately 2 million Ford F-150 pickup trucks have been recalled due to a risk that the seatbelt pretensioners may spark when deployed, posing a vehicle fire risk.
The Ford F-150 recall was announced on September 6, following at least 23 reports involving fires or incidents where smoke filled the passenger compartment after the seatbelts were engaged in an accident.
Defects with the seatbelt pretensioners may cause excessive sparks, potentially leading to a fire or other issues that may increase the risk of serious injury for drivers and occupants.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation into the seat belt problems in early August, after receiving reports of at least five Ford F-150 fires. Three of the incidents involved trucks that were totally engulfed in flames and destroyed.
After receiving the first several warranty claims, Ford opened a separate investigation into the issue and found some front seat belt pretensioners have the ability to generate excessive sparks when deployed. In the event sufficient sparks are present, the gases exhausted inside the lower portion of the seat belt pillar may ignite, allowing a fire to spread quickly when coming into contact with the surrounding insulation or interior carpet.
The recall includes model year 2015 through 2018 Ford F-150 vehicles that were built at the Dearborn Assembly Plant from March 12, 2014 through August 23, 2018 and model year 2015 through 2018 F-150 trucks built at the Kansas City Assembly Plant from August 20, 2014 through August 23, 2018.
Ford indicated there are approximately 1,995,776 impacted vehicles in North America with an estimated 1,619,112 vehicles in the United States, 339,884 in Canada, and another 36,780 in Mexico.
Customers will be notified of the recall by mailed notice with instructions on how to schedule a free repair appointment at their local dealer, where dealers will be instructed to remove remnants of the wiring harness tape in the B-pillar area, and apply heat-resistant tape to the carpet and its insulation. Dealers will also be instructed to modify the back interior panels of the Regular Cab vehicles.
Customers with additional questions or concerns regarding the recall may contact Ford Motor Company’s Customer Service at 1-800-392-3673 and reference the recall number 18S27.