Ford is recalling 2-million F-150 pickup trucks in North America because of a problem with the front seat belt pretensioners.
"Ford's investigation found that some front seat belt pretensioners can generate excessive sparks when they deploy". The pretensioners also let off gas when they activate, and the sparks might cause that gas to ignite within the vehicle's B-pillar.
Ford said it was aware of 17 instances of smoke or fire from the device in the US and another six instances in Canada.
The recall affects 2015-2018 F-150 Regular Cab and SuperCrew Cab vehicles manufactured at its Dearborn Assembly Plant in MI and its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri, Ford said in a statement. The company said the cost would be reflected in third-quarter earnings but Ford left unchanged its guidance for full-year 2018 adjusted earnings. Owners will be notified starting September 24. The recall comes one month after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after five reports of fires in the vehicles. The mechanism of the pretensioner, which works in tandem with airbags, involves an explosive charge that locks a seat belt in place during a crash.
The Fix: Dealers will remove insulation material and wiring harness tape from the B-pillar and install heat-resistant tape to the carpet and its insulation.
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The issue lies with the seat belt pretensioners, which are responsible for holding the belts taut during a collision.
"The truck went up in complete flames in a matter of minutes and is a complete loss", the owner wrote in the complaint.
After about three fires were reported, the NHTSA and Ford together inspected one of the trucks on June 28, The Associated Press reported.
Ford has issued a recall on more than 300,000 F-150 trucks. The NHTSA launched its investigation on August 3.