Seat belt pretensioner problem Discovery and Investigation of the Defect

The issue was initially brought to GM’s attention on August 29, 2023, by an employee through the company’s Speak Up For Safety (SUFS) program. This action followed a dealer report from Simpson Chevrolet of Irvine, indicating that 66 vehicles repaired under the earlier recall 22V930 had not been properly fixed. Subsequent investigations, initiated by GM on October 10, 2023, uncovered further evidence suggesting Simpson Chevrolet of Irvine’s failure to execute the necessary recall repairs.

Further investigations by GM revealed no direct complaints or incidents linked to this condition. However, the seriousness of the potential risk prompted the GM Safety Field Action Decision Authority (SFADA) to mandate a safety recall for all 22V930 repairs completed by Simpson Chevrolet of Irvine up to December 4, 2023.

Risks Associated with the Defect

The central concern revolves around the seat belt pretensioner. If a crash occurs and the recall remedy has not been implemented, the seat belt pretensioner’s deployment could ignite a fire near the B-pillar, elevating the risk of injury. After a collision, the pretensioner exhaust may set fire to carpet fibers in this area.

Remedy and Owner Notification

To address this issue, GM dealers will inspect both front seat belt pretensioners. If necessary, they will install metal foil at the carpet near the pretensioner exhaust, and some vehicles may also require a new pretensioner cover. These repairs will be conducted free of charge. GM plans to send owner notification letters by January 29, 2024. Notably, these vehicles had been previously recalled for the same issue under recall number 22V-793, necessitating the implementation of this new remedy. The GM recall number is N232421970, and the NHTSA campaign number is 23-845.

Repeated Repairs and California Lemon Law

The situation with the Chevrolet Bolt EV highlights an important aspect of consumer rights, especially in states like California with robust Lemon Laws. The California Lemon Law provides protection to consumers who have purchased or leased vehicles with warranty defects. If a vehicle requires repeated repairs for the same issue, owners may be entitled to compensation, including a refund or replacement vehicle. This law ensures that manufacturers are held accountable for their vehicles’ reliability and safety, offering peace of mind to consumers facing repeated repair issues.

In conclusion, GM’s steps in recalling and repairing these vehicles underscore the importance of automotive safety and consumer protection. Vehicle owners are advised to heed recall notices and ensure their vehicles receive the necessary repairs to mitigate any risks associated with this defect.

General Motors (GM) has recently identified a significant safety defect in some of its electric vehicles (EVs). This issue, affecting specific 2023-2024 model year GMC Hummer EV Pickups, 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUVs, and certain 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EVs, revolves around a crucial component of vehicle safety: the seat belt.

Discovery and Investigation of the Defect

In August 2023, a GM seat engineer, utilizing the company’s Speak Up for Safety (SUFS) program, reported a potential flaw after being alerted by GM’s seat supplier. The concern was about a loose front seat belt buckle bolt in a seat built for a 2024 HUMMER EV. This prompted GM to initiate a thorough product investigation.

Working closely with the supplier, GM discovered that the assembly process might not have been consistently adhered to, leading to possible out-of-sequence torquing of seat frame assembly bolts. This irregularity could result in the seat belt buckle attachment bolt not being tightened to the required specifications. After reviewing the supplier’s manufacturing records, GM identified seat frame assemblies that deviated from the intended assembly order.

Upon inspecting 754 suspect seats, GM and the supplier found two seats with improperly torqued attachment bolts. Fortunately, as of now, GM is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this condition.

The Importance of Seat Belt Safety

The seat belt is a fundamental safety device in any vehicle, designed to protect occupants in the event of a collision or sudden stop. A properly functioning seat belt system can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury or death during an accident. It’s a vital line of defence, ensuring that passengers are securely restrained and minimizing their movement during a crash.

The Recall and Corrective Measures

In November, GM’s Safety and Field Action Decision Authority decided to conduct a safety recall. Vehicle owners will be notified and advised to return to their dealers for inspection. The specific focus will be on tightening the left and right front seat belt buckle attachment bolts.

Owners of affected vehicles may notice a rattle near the seat belt buckle, signalling the potential issue. It is crucial for owners to heed this warning and take prompt action.

GM has designated the recall number as N232419280, and it is also recognized under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) campaign number 23V-786.

This recall by GM underscores the importance of stringent quality control and responsive safety measures in the automotive industry. The seat belt, a simple yet vital safety component, must meet the highest standards of reliability. GM’s action in addressing this issue serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for vigilance and regular vehicle maintenance to ensure the safety of all road users.

Honda has announced that certain 2018-2020 Honda and Acura vehicles have been found to have a seat belt safety defect. The defect relates to the seat belt buckle channel surface coating, which can degrade over time at low temperatures. This degradation can cause interference between the buckle channel and the release button, increasing friction and leading to issues with the seat belt buckle latching.

The affected vehicles include the 2019-2020 Acura RDX, 2018-2019 Honda Accord, 2018-2019 Honda Accord Hybrid, 2017-2020 Honda CR-V, 2019 Honda Insight, and 2018-2020 Honda Odyssey. If you are the registered owner of one of these vehicles, you will be contacted by the manufacturer and asked to return to your authorized Honda dealer for repairs.

The problem with the seat belt buckle latching issues was first noticed by Honda in June 2019. An investigation was opened, which included durability testing on new seat belt parts. It was during this testing that they noticed the trend of seat belt buckle latching issues in certain vehicles. The investigation ultimately found that the seat belt buckle channel for the driver and front passenger seat belts were manufactured out of specification.

As a result of this defect, Honda has received 301 warranty claims related to the issue between March 22, 2019, and January 16, 2023. Fortunately, there have been no reports of injuries or deaths related to this issue.

Honda’s recall numbers for this issue are NDA, QDB, BDC, MDD, LD9. TDF, FDG, ODH, YDI, ZDE, and the NHTSA campaign number is 23V-158. If you own one of the affected vehicles, it is important that you take action as soon as possible to have the necessary repairs completed.

It is worth noting that if you have experienced ongoing issues with your Honda or Acura vehicle and feel that it may be a lemon, you may have legal recourse under California’s lemon law. This law provides protection to consumers who have purchased or leased a defective vehicle that the manufacturer has been unable to repair after a reasonable number of attempts. The lemon law applies to new and used vehicles and can provide for a full refund or replacement of the vehicle. So, if you have experienced ongoing issues with your Honda or Acura vehicle, it may be worth consulting with a qualified lemon law attorney to explore your legal options.

Ford Motor Company (Ford) has decided that a defect affecting the seat belt warning system could exist in certain 2020-2023 Lincoln Aviator and 2020-2023 Lincoln Corsair vehicles. The vehicles affected are equipped with a Revel Audio System.

The problem was discovered in November 2022 when Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group received complaints pertaining to the seat belt warning chime reminder on a 2022 Lincoln Aviator PHEV.

The seat belt reminder system was tested on various combinations of powertrain and audio systems of Lincoln Aviators in an attempt to reproduce the problem. It was discovered that some Lincoln Aviator PHEV vehicles could experience an initial chime duration of fewer than 4 seconds. An audible signal that is activated for less than 4 seconds can result in decreased safety belt usage, increasing the risk of injury during a crash.

The engineering team and audio supplier conducted a design of experiments to gain a better understanding of the cause and scope of the problem. They found that the problem affected vehicles equipped with the Revel audio system, introduced on the 2020 Lincoln Aviator and Corsair. Further seat belt reminder system evaluations were conducted at Ford assembly plants and it was concluded that 2020-2023 Lincoln Aviator and 2020-2022 Corsair vehicles could experience the symptom of a chime duration of fewer than 4 seconds

According to the defect report, when the driver’s seat belt is not buckled and the vehicle is started, the seat belt warning system may activate the audible warning chime for an insufficient amount of time of fewer than 4 seconds. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for occupant crash protection.

Owners receiving notices will be asked to contact their dealers about updating the audio control module software in their vehicles. Ford’s number for this recall is 22C35 and the NHTSA campaign number is 22V-953.

General Motors (GM) will be contacting the owners of certain 2021-2022 Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC SUVs equipped with third-row seating. These vehicles may have been manufactured with an improperly formed mounting bracket rivet that may not restrain an occupant during an accident.

The vehicles affected by this problem include:

2021-2022 Cadillac Escalade
2021-2022 Cadillac Escalade ESV
2021-2022 Chevrolet Suburban
2021-2022 Chevrolet Tahoe
2021-2022 GMC Yukon
2021-2022 GMC Yukon XL

In May 2022, a GM dealership received a customer complaint about the separation of the third row seat belt assemblies in their 2021 Chevrolet Suburban. The problem was submitted to GM’s Speak Up For Safety program and a formal investigation was opened. During this investigation, another seven additional field reports were found that could be related to this condition. Further investigation into the problem determined that operators at the seat belt buckle assembly supplier’s manufacturing plant may have not properly followed manufacturing processes and as a result, may have missed the rivet forming operation. In July, GM’s investigator met with the seat belt buckle assembly supplier to determine the scope of potentially affected parts. On August 4, 2022, GM’s Safety Field Action Decision Authority (SFADA) decided to conduct a safety recall.

According to the defect report, the rivet that retains the buckle to the mounting bracket in the left and/or right side third-row seat belt buckle assembly may not have been properly formed during the manufacturing process. If the assembly is not properly riveted, it will not restrain occupants during an accident and could result in increased injuries.

Owners receiving recall notices will be asked to return to their GM dealer to have the rivet head formation on both the left and right side third-row seat belt buckle assemblies inspected and replace seat belt buckle assemblies, as necessary. GM’s number for this recall is N222372380 and the NHTSA campaign number is 22V-617.

In March 2021, a safety report was submitted to GM’s Speak Up for Safety program regarding a warranty claim affecting the seat belt on a low mileage 2021 Cadillac XT4. The customer’s complaints included a rattling noise coming from the passenger side rear seat belt. The rattle could be heard while driving or when attempting to use the seat belt. The dealer determined that the noise was caused by a missing lower fastener in the retractor assembly. A search for similar allegations discovered three additional potentially related claims also involving XT4 vehicles. In each case, the complaint was a rattling noise that was determined to be caused by a loose or missing fastener in a rear seat belt retractor.

An investigation also revealed that 2016-2021 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles were assembled at the same place using the same right-hand rear side assembly process and added these vehicles to the investigation. Data for the entire population of approximately 1.4 million 2019-2021 XT4 and 2016-2021 Malibu vehicles produced at Fairfax found no additional related claims.

Investigator analysis of the repair procedure determined that the procedure could have been the cause of the loose or missing fasteners under a specific set of circumstances that was unlikely to occur, but possible. The investigator retrieved plant manufacturing records to determine whether other vehicles were subject to similar repairs. Those records identified 437 such vehicles out of the total population. Testing was also conducted that determined it was possible for the condition to be present with the absence of warning noises, even though each of the three relevant field reports did describe audible warning signs.

Although no additional related claims were found, GM have decided to conduct a recall.

According to the defect report, GM will be recalling certain 2016-2021 Chevrolet Malibu and 2019-2021 Cadillac XT4 vehicles manufactured at their Fairfax plant. Dealers will inspect the rear seat belt retractors and tighten them as necessary. GM’s number for this recall is N212333380 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-649.

A defect affecting occupant safety exist in certain 2021 Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC SUVs. General Motors will be contacting owners to return to their dealerships for repairs.

According to the defect report, during installation of the third row seating, one or both outboard seat belts may have been inadvertently entrapped in or miss-routed behind the outboard seat folding mechanism. If a seat belt is routed this way itcould become damaged in the folding mechanism and may not protect occupants during an accident.

If the problem exists, vehicle owners may notice damage to the third row seat belt or may have difficulty latching the belt or operating the third row seat.

Vehicles Affected Include
2021 Cadillac Escalade
2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV
2021 Chevrolet Suburban
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
2021 GMC Yukon
2021 GMC Yukon XL

GM dealers will inspect the third-row outboard seat belts, replacing any damaged seat belts, and rerouting them if necessary. GM’s number for this recall is N202313000 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-190.

Our lemon law client was so happy about purchasing his 2018 Chevy Traverse. After a few months he starting taking his vehicle to the authorized Chevrolet dealership to have them make repairs on his vehicle.

The first visit was on May 16, 2018.  His complaint was that the third row middle seat belt would keep getting stuck.

The next visit in November he requested an alignment check which they performed.

Our client’s third visit was because the defrost control was coming apart.

A couple of weeks later he was having problems with both the rear and middle seat belt buckles.

His next visit was to request another alignment which the dealership completed.

He was back in on July 23. 2019 because he was seeing a shift to park message when he was in park and could not turn off the vehicle.

The next visit was to perform a recall on the brake pedal.

His Chevrolet Traverse was back in the shop a month later because the check engine light was on.  While there they also found the code P0018 and fixed it.

The last visit to the Chevrolet dealership was on February 14, 2020.  Our client stated that while driving over 60 mph, the RPM’s were revving high and it felt like it was losing power.  This happened while accelerating.  The check engine light kept going on and off.  He also complained that the shift to park message appeared when in park and he could not turn off the vehicle.  At this point our client was frustrated and felt that he had given General Motors enough chances to fix his vehicle and so he called our law office.  His spoke with attorney Barry L. Edzant and then emailed our office some documents for the attorney to review.

We sent a demand letter to General Motors Corporation demanding that they buy back his defective vehicle under the California Lemon Law.  They agreed to repurchase his vehicle, pay off his loan, reimburse him for any monthly payments made and his down payment less a mileage fee allowed under the California Lemon Law.  They also paid for his registration and paid for his attorney fees.  Our client was thrilled with the results.

If your vehicle is giving you problems and you think you might be driving a lemon, please contact the Law Office of Barry L. Edzant at 888-395-3666 to get some answers.