Khodrocar - The best-selling vehicle in America is the subject of a new recall. Ford’s ultra-popular F-150 pickup is under the microscope over faulty seat belt pretensioners that – under certain circumstances – could spark and ignite gases in the lower portion of the B-pillar, which could then lead to a rather frightening vehicle fire if left unchecked. The recall affects just under two million trucks throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico built from 2014 through August of this year.
The problem lies specifically with seat belt pretensioners on the front seats. The components are designed to quickly tighten seatbelts in the event of a sudden deceleration like you’d have in a collision. The pretensioners in the F-150 are located in the B-pillar and can expel gases when they deploy. In some cases, Ford has also found excessive sparks during deployment, which can ignite the gases in the B-pillar. Should this happen, there’s a chance that flammable materials such as insulation and carpet in the B-pillar could catch fire. A Ford representative told us there wasn't any evidence that pretensioner deployment gas could leak beyond the B-pillar itself.
This has actually happened according to Ford, though no injuries or accidents have occurred as a result. The automaker is aware of 23 cases – 17 in the U.S. and six in Canada – where either smoke or fire was present as a result of the pretensioners. The issue specifically affects F-150s built at Ford’s Dearborn plant from March 12, 2014 through August 23, 2018, and at the Kansas City factory from August 20, 2014 through the same date as Dearborn. The problem affects 2015 through 2018 model-year trucks.
Interestingly enough, Ford’s fix does not involve replacing the seat belt pretensioners. Rather, dealers will pull some flammable material out of the B-pillar and add heat resistant tape to the rest, including wiring harnesses, carpeting, and insulation. The back interior panels of regular cab trucks will also be modified. In an email, the company told us this repair improves the B-pillar environment to eliminate the fire risk caused by potential pretensioner sparks.