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Hyundai Recalls 281,000 Vehicles To Fix Exploding Seatbelts

Sometimes the similarities between recalls are amazing. For example, a few years ago Takata's exploding airbags made historic news with the auto industry's largest safety recall. Now, though it is far smaller, Hyundai has made similar news this week by recalling 281,000 vehicles to fix exploding seatbelt pretensioners.

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Since about 2014, whenever you mentioned explosive problems with safety systems, you assumed they were talking about the airbag scandal which exploded all over Takata, ultimately taking down the airbag manufacturer and:

Major Recall Results

  • Affecting about 55 million airbags worldwide
  • Affecting 20 major auto manufacturers
  • Affecting millions of cars across the globe
  • Causing the biggest safety recall in automotive history
  • Claiming more than 20 victims in the U.S.
  • Injuring more than 200 victims seriously

Indeed the Takata airbag recall is still in progress, though it seems to be winding down now. It took down the major airbag manufacturer – Takata –replaced by three other manufacturers. Two of the most notable vehicle lines involved in the safety recall come from two manufacturers, Honda and Ford. Honda, which had a stake in the airbag manufacturer, found that the airbag recall affected Civics and Accords. Ford found that the recall primarily affected older compact pickups such as the original Ranger. It also affected Mazda, which sold the same truck under the B2000/B3000 nameplate. As noted, though, every manufacturer was touched by the airbag recall.

This story, though, is not about that particular recall. Torque News took the time to mention it to show other potentially exploding devices used in vehicles. This time, though, the explosive devices are in Hyundais – 281,000, to be exact. To that end, the Korean automaker has recalled 2019 to 2022 Accents, 2021 to 2023 Elantras, and 2021 to 2022 Elantra Hybrids for this problem.

Automaker Receives Reports Of Injury

Hyundai recalled the vehicles after the automaker received three injury reports, said Automotive News. According to the publication, if a crash occurs, the front driver- or passenger-side seatbelt pretensioners might explode on deployment. Seatbelt pretensioners are part of the safety system that lock "the seatbelt in place during a crash to provide additional protection to occupants." To fix the problem, dealers will secure the pretensioners with a cap."

This week's recall "expands and replaces four earlier recalls. All Accent, Elantra, and Elantra HEV vehicles already repaired under the previous recalls will need to have the new fix completed," NHTSA said.

Hyundai said that the new recall "includes 239,000 vehicles in the U.S. and 42,000 in Canada," Hyundai said.

Of the three injuries that have been reported, two were in the U.S and one in Singapore.

Specific Report Mentioned

In one of the incidents, NHTSA told the automaker "of a crash incident involving a 2021 Elantra." According to information about the crash, the "driver-side seatbelt pretensioner" reportedly "deployed abnormally, causing metal fragments to injure an occupant's leg." Hyundai was asked by the safety agency to look into the incident.

Hyundai told Automotive News that it is actively looking into its vehicles, including the Genesis GV70/GV80 models that had previously been recalled.

Logo courtesy Hyundai

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.

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