Ford has recalled 1.6 million Ford F-150 Regular Cab and SuperCrew Cab pickup trucks because of a fire risk. According to Consumer Reports, the seatbelt pretensioners can create excessive sparks, which could trigger a fire. A seatbelt pretensioner functions to tighten the seatbelt to better hold occupants in place. The seatbelts work in conjunction with airbags to diminish the likelihood of a passenger suffering injury by keeping him or her properly positioned in the event of a crash. Like airbags, pretensioners use an explosive that is triggered by crash forces.
Details of the Recall
Ford says there have been 17 reports of smoke or fire in the United States and six in Canada even though there have not been any injuries or accidents that have been linked to this defect. The recall is expected to begin Sept. 24. Dealers will remove the insulation material and any tape remnants in the B-pillar area on both the driver and passenger sides. Dealers will also add heat-resistant tape to the carpet and insulation. All of this work will be performed free of charge to consumers.
This recall announcement comes after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which identified several cases where the fire became so intense that the vehicle was completely gutted. NHTSA opened the investigation after only give consumer complaints over fires. This is typically far fewer than the average number of complaints for NHTSA to start a probe. However, the agency decided to do so because of the potential threat posed by these vehicle defects. F-150 owners are advised to not stop using their seatbelts in spite of this announcement. If you have questions regarding your vehicle, call customer service at 1-866-436-7332.
Auto Product Liability Issues
If your vehicle is part of this recall, be sure to take it to the dealership as soon as the recall begins to get it fixed. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of this auto defect, you may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced auto defect attorney will be able to advise you regarding their legal rights and options.