Ford Motor stated on Thursday it is going to recall 2 million F-150 pickup trucks in North America due to a seat belt problem that could generate a lot of sparks and cause fires.
The U.S. automaker stated it is aware of 17 reports of smoke or fire in the United States and six in Canada but has not received any reports of any injuries.
At the time of a crash, a device called a pretensioner uses an explosive charge to lock the seat belt in place. The company stated the device may generate excessive sparks.
Ford is going to repair the problem for free and stated in a securities filing the recall would cost about $140 million. The company stated the cost would be reflected in third-quarter revenues but Ford left unchanged its guidance for full-year 2018 adjusted earnings.
The recall concerns 2015-2018 Ford F-150 Regular Cab and SuperCrew Cab vehicles in North America for driver and front passenger seat-belt pretensioners.
Ford stated the recall consisted of 1.62 million U.S. vehicles, 340,000 in Canada and 37,000 in Mexico.
To deal with the issue, dealers are going to remove some insulation material and remnants of wiring harness tape from the vehicle’s B pillar spot, and apply heat-resistant tape to the carpet and its insulation. They are also going to change the back interior panels of Regular Cab vehicles. The B pillar is the vertical support behind a vehicle’s front seat windows.
The recall came just weeks following the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opening of a preliminary investigation in August after five complaints of fires in the seat belt component, consisting three vehicles destroyed by fires. The agency had asked the automaker about fire reports previously this year.
A Ford spokeswoman stated the company “identified this issue through its normal quality processes.”
Transport Canada, the Canadian auto regulatory agency, got in touch with Ford in November 2017, concerning a B-pillar area fire on a 2015 vehicle. That prompted a joint vehicle inspection by Ford and the agency, however the cause could not be determined.