If you own a Ford pickup truck (or you know someone who does), listen up: The automaker is recalling close to 2 million F-150 trucks due to a possible fire risk.
The trucks involved in the recall include regular cab and supercrew cabs from model years 2015 to 2018. Ford says seat belt pretensioners can create “excessive” sparks, which could lead to a fire. The company says there have been 17 reports of smoke or fire in the U.S. and six in Canada, none of which has lead injuries or accidents.
Ford says an investigation found that some front seat belt pretensioners can generate excessive sparks and when sufficient sparks are present, gases exhausted inside the B-pillar (a roof support structure located between the front and rear doors) by the pretensioners may ignite. If this gas ignites, components such as insulation and carpet may catch fire.
Affected vehicles include 2015 to 2018 Ford F-150 vehicles built in Dearborn, Michigan, from March 2014 through August 2018 and Kansas City, Missouri, from August 2014 to August 2018. The vehicles were sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico, with 1,995,776 of them being sold in North American alone.
If your vehicle is involved in the recall, dealers will remove insulation material from the B-pillar trim, as well as remnants of wiring harness tape in the area, then apply heat-resistant tape to the carpet and its insulation. The back interior panels of regular cab vehicles will also be modified. All repairs will be provided at no cost to the truck owner.
The recall comes after the federal government launched a preliminary investigation into reports of fires in five trucks. In each incident, the fire occurred after a crash.
One incident that occurred in Grand Rapids, Michigan, involving a 2018 model was very dramatic. After a deer ran into the side of the truck, the driver got out and soon noticed a fire inside the vehicle.
“The truck went up in complete flames in a matter of minutes and is a complete loss,” the driver wrote in a complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Emily Thomas, an automotive safety engineer at Consumer Reports, says despite the investigation and recall, truck owners should not stop wearing their seatbelts.
“The F-150 seat belt and the pretensioner system had already performed correctly and protected the occupant,” she said. “It’s imperative that occupants continue to effectively protect themselves with their seat belt.”
For more information, visit Ford’s website. Do you own a vehicle involved in the recall?