NHTSA Investigates Hyundai’s Exploding Seatbelt Pretensioners

Hyundai Elantra 6 photos
Photo: Hyundai
2022 Hyundai Elantra2022 Hyundai Elantra2022 Hyundai Elantra2022 Hyundai Elantra2022 Hyundai Elantra
In addition to the Ford Motor Company, the feds are investigating Hyundai as well. As opposed to Ford’s rupturing brake hoses, the South Korean automaker has fitted exploding pretensioners in 275k vehicles.
Since October 2021, we’ve covered no fewer than six recalls over Hyundai's pretensioners. Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motor America, as well as the Genesis luxury division has recalled a grand total of 336,594 vehicles so far.

The Office of Defects Investigation has opened a recall query on various model year 2020 to 2022 vehicles based on allegations of seatbelt pretensioners that may rupture or explode. The federal watchdog is aware of three separate incidents in which the driver-side seatbelt pretensioner deployed abnormally, causing metal fragments to enter the rear cabin, in turn resulting in unspecified injuries to the rear occupants. The supplier of these potentially killer pretensioners is the South Korean company Samsong.

“Due to the serious nature of the failures and multiple safety recalls issued, ODI has opened this recall query to better understand the scope and remedy of the recalls issued to date.” The attached report also states that the investigation will initially comprise six nameplates. The list begins with the 2022 model year Genesis GV70 and the 2021 model year Genesis GV80.

Hyundai’s potentially affected nameplates are the 2020 to 2021 Accent, 2021 to 2022 Elantra, and 2021 Venue. As for Kia, the Office of Defects Investigation singled out the 2022 Sorento. The report states that the “ODI may expand the scope of the subject population during the investigation.”

It’s hard to guesstimate how long the recall query will take until the federal watchdog comes to a conclusion. Given that shrapnel may be released upon deployment, it’s obvious the NHTSA is taking this matter very seriously.

In case of a recall, dealers will have the pretensioner’s micro gas generator and delivery pipe secured with a cap to prevent abnormal deployment.
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 Download: ODI investigation RQ 22-003 (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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