Ford has issued a recall on more than 300,000 F-150 trucks. The issue is with front seat belt tensioners that can spark and catch fire.
The affected models include late model F-150s built at the Dearborn Assembly plant as well as the company's Kansas City plant, and covers trucks from the 2015 to 2018 model years. Not every 2015-2018 truck is affected, it's also only for regular cab and Supercrew trucks. The total is just shy of two million pickups in North America, with 339,884 of those in Canada.
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Ford said that an investigation showed that some front seat belt pretensioners can generate excessive sparks when they deploy. The pretensioners use an explosive charge somewhat like what's inside an airbag. But here they act to pull the seatbelt tight nearly at the moment of a collision, in order to keep seat occupants in place and in their seats through the impact.
If there are enough sparks, gasses exhausted inside the B-pillar by the tensioners can ignite. That can start a fire behind the B-pillar, which is the pillar between the front and rear doors on a crew cab, or the pillar behind the door on a regular cab.
The fix is that dealers will remove the insulation from the B-pillar trim and apply heat-resistant tape to the carpet and insulation. Regular cab tricks will also get modifications to the rear interior panels.
Owners can check if their truck is affected on Ford's website, and the company will begin to notify customers as well.