Tesla: NHTSA probes 50K Model X SUVs over seat belt issue
It's the latest safety issue affecting the EV-maker
Tesla is back in the safety spotlight again with a new probe of its Model X SUV.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a preliminary investigation into an estimated 50,000 Tesla Model X SUVs over complaints of front seat belt failures. According to NHTSA’s report, two Model X owners complained that the front seat belts failed to “remain connected to the seat belt anchor pretensioner while driving with seat belts worn properly.” The preliminary investigation is covering 2022 and 2023 model year Tesla Model X SUVs.
An initial investigation into these two failures found that the seatbelt pretensioner linkage was not properly connected to the seat frame, the NHTSA report said. A “friction fit” kept the linkage in place, but when force was exerted the resistance of the friction fit failed and the pretensioner suddenly separated. The report says neither incident involved a vehicle collision.
NHTSA says its preliminary investigation will assess “the scope, frequency, and manufacturing processes associated with this condition.”
NHTSA’s announcement of this latest Tesla investigation follows two high-profile safety issues this year.
Earlier in March NHTSA opened a separate probe into a steering wheel detachment issue with Tesla’s Model Y SUV, and in February Tesla was forced to recall nearly 363K vehicles over safety issues with its FSD (full-self driving) beta self-driving software. Tesla released an OTA (over the air) update earlier this month that was designed to address the FSD Beta issues.
However, looking at recent trends NHTSA data shows Tesla is only 12th among auto manufacturers, with 22 recalls announced since the beginning of last year, covering over 4.1 million vehicles. Ford (F) leads the way in this dubious category, with 84 recalls potentially affecting 10.8 million vehicles.
Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.
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