Ford Motor Co said on Thursday it would recall 2 million F-150 pickup trucks in North America to address fire and smoke concerns in seat-belt pretensioners. The pretensioners also let off gas when they activate, and the sparks might cause that gas to ignite within the vehicle's B-pillar.
The company says it is aware of 17 reports of smoke or fire in the United States and six in Canada stemming from pretensioners in the front driver and passenger seats. No injuries have been reported.
The recalled vehicles are all 2015-2018 Ford F-150s built at either the Dearborn Assembly Plant between March 12, 2014 through Aug. 23, 2018, or the Kansas City Assembly between Aug. 20, 2014 through Aug. 23, 2018.
Ford is recalling almost 2 million of its popular F-150 pickups due to a problem with seatbelt pretensioners that could result in smoke, and possibly even a fire inside the vehicle. Affected F-150 owners can contact their local Ford dealers for repairs, which will be done at no cost to customers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that "two fires self-extinguished, while the other three vehicles were totally destroyed by the fire". The issue is with front seat belt tensioners that can spark and catch fire.
The Ford reference number for the recall is 18S27. For the Regular Cab vehicles, the back interior panels will be modified as needed, as well.
The problem surfaced in the spring of 2017 as Ford received four reports of post-crash interior fires in the trucks from April through October, according to documents Ford filed with the USA safety agency.
If there are enough sparks, gasses exhausted inside the B-pillar by the tensioners can ignite.