Ford has issued a recall of approximately 2 million Ford F-150 Regular Cab and SuperCrew Cab vehicles in the U.S. and Canada.
The automaker has found a fault with the seat belt pretensioner, a mechanism that tightens any belt slack in a crash. Some systems, including the F-150’s, use a small explosive charge to lock the belt in place when an impact occurs. In its investigation, Ford discovered that some front seat belt pretensioners can generate excessive sparks when they deploy, which could lead to a fire around the B pillar, the section behind the front seats where the belt retraction device is contained.
The auto giant said it’s aware of 17 “smoke or fire” incidents in the U.S. and six in Canada, but added that to its knowledge, no accidents or injuries have occurred as a result of the issue.
The affected vehicles include:
Ford’s recall affects 1,619,112 vehicles in the U.S., 339,884 in Canada, and 36,780 in Mexico. The Ford reference number for the recall is 18S27.
In a statement on its website, the company offered specific details about the action dealers will take when the truck is taken in, explaining how they’ll “remove insulation material from the B-pillar trim, remove remnants of wiring harness tape in the B pillar area, and apply heat-resistant tape to the carpet and its insulation. Dealers also will modify the back interior panels of Regular Cab vehicles.”
The pretensioner issue came to light last month when complaints by five Ford F-150 owners prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to look into the matter.
The NHTSA said the owners claimed that fires began in the trucks’ B pillars after impacts that caused the vehicles’ seat belt pretensioners to activate. Three of the trucks were completely wrecked in subsequent blazes,while the other two fires went out by themselves. No injuries were reported.
The F-150 is Ford’s most popular vehicle and it’s been the biggest seller in the U.S. for years. Last year Ford sold nearly a million of them.
But it’s not the first time it’s been subject to a recall. In April, the company called in a number of 2018 F-150 vehicles, among others, over a transmission issue that could’ve resulted in the vehicle rolling away after being parked.