Do you own a Ford F-150? If so, you’re not alone. The F-150 is the best-selling vehicle line in the country—which makes it all the more unnerving that certain ones are catching fire due to a defect related to its seatbelts.
We’re investigating. If you have a Ford F-150, model years 2015-2018, made from March 12, 2014 through August 23, 2018 in Dearborn, Michigan or from August 20, 2014 through August 23, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri, you may be eligible to join in a class action against the company. Both the Regular Cab and SuperCrew Cab vehicles are involved.
The problem seems to be the seatbelt pretensioner, a device used to tighten seatbelts when the vehicle detects a crash. Some pretensioners are mechanical, but others use a small explosive for quick action, just as airbags do.
The Ford F-150’s pretensioner is located inside the B-pillar, the vertical part of the truck’s body that separates the front and back doors. When the pretensioner activates, it releases gases. If the seatbelts generate sparks as they deploy, these can ignite the gases and cause adjacent items like carpeting or insulation to catch fire.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation after five reports of fire. In three of the cases, the fire completely destroyed the vehicle before it could be extinguished.
Ford says it has received twenty-three complaints of smoke or fire, but so far no reports of injuries or accidents due to the defect.
The recall is slated to begin on September 24, 2018 and involves nearly two million vehicles across North America.
The repairs will be made at Ford dealerships at Ford’s expense. Ford is not changing the pretensioner system, however. It plans on removing insulation and other flammable materials from the B-pillar and installing heat-resistant tape.
The NHTSA investigation is a good first step. It can make a thorough examination of the vehicle’s systems, uncover causes, and require that Ford address problems. Unfortunately, it will do nothing to compensate consumers who own the F-150s.
We’re investigating to see if a class action is needed. If you own one of the subject vehicles, fill out the form on this page and let us know what your experience has been. An attorney will review your information for free and get back to you.