By on October 24, 2017

2015 Hyundai Sonata front

(An initial version of this story indicated that the first recall could result in a situation where “fixed” vehicles contained the same safety issue as unfixed vehicles. This is incorrect — Hyundai initiated the second recall after becoming concerned that mechanics working on a fixed vehicle *after* the recall could inadvertently cause a similar safety issue. The story has been updated to reflect this.)

Hyundai finds itself in the unusual position of recalling nearly half a million sedans after an earlier recall designed to prevent seatbelts from detaching from the floor led to concerns that the same thing might happen again.

In late February, Hyundai issued a recall for nearly 978,000 Sonata and Sonata Hybrids across several models years following two crashes where the front seat passenger’s seatbelt failed. Dealers were to inspect the connections between the seat belt linkages and the seat belt anchor pretensioners. However, the first recall didn’t remove all of the future risk.

Like before, the re-recalled vehicles are 2011-2014 Sonatas and 2011-2015 Sonata Hybrids. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the automaker describes the issue as, “Incomplete fastening of the seat belt linkage to the anchor pretensioner.”

The recall document describes the issue in further detail:

The front seat belt assembly in the Hyundai Sonata incorporates a seat belt anchor pretensioner fastened to the vehicle’s inner sill structure. During vehicle assembly, the anchor pretensioner is fastened to the sill prior to being connected to the seat belt linkage. If, during vehicle assembly or repair, the connector does not fully latch when the linkage is pressed onto the connector, the seat belt can detach from the anchor pretensioner.

It became clear this spring that the very same issue — installing the pretensioners without fully latching them — could occur after the recall process. Hyundai grew worried that a “fixed” vehicle might not stay that way.

The automaker and its supplier spoke of whether “the condition could potentially recur after the recall inspection if the anchor pretensioner was intentionally disconnected and subsequently improperly reconnected through by consumers or repair facilities.”

Besides checking the connections again, dealers will attach warning labels to the seat belt anchor pretensioner to alert mechanics and owners to the proper re-connection procedures. Owners of affected vehicles will be informed by first class mail of the recall, with the automaker reimbursing them for costs.

This isn’t the first, or even the largest, recall impacting these sedans. In May, the NHTSA opened an investigation into metal engine debris in the Sonata’s Theta II four-cylinder engine — an issue potentially affecting 1.3 million vehicles. A much smaller number of late-model Sonatas were recalled for panoramic sunroofs that might go their own way.

[Image: Hyundai]

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7 Comments on “UPDATE: Hyundai Recalls 443,545 Recalled Cars Over Seatbelt Concerns...”

  • avatar

    Bonus points for a picture of a non-recalled sonata….

    This is for the generation BEFORE the one pictured.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Better call Mom. She has a 2012 Sonata Limited. And I’m not sure Hyundai has her updated address.

  • avatar

    It would seem they have a bit of a governance problem.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This isn’t the first double recall, either. They’ve recalled these vehicles twice for control arm corrosion, and also for undercarriage corrosion.

    This affects my son’s 11 Sonata. I *think* this will be the 14th recall, but we’ve lost count. It had 4 unserviced recalls before he bought it used in 2013. Although his car has been perfectly reliable, he feels like he’s driving a time bomb, particularly with the engine debris issue.

    The Kia Optima usually follows suit, so I wonder if I’ll get a letter about seatbelt pretensioners. If so, that points to a design flaw rather than human error, because these cars are built in separate plants.

    • 0 avatar
      Null Set

      What is it about seatbelts that makes them so difficult to get right? For the past twenty years every car I’ve owned has had a seatbelt-related recall. This isn’t rocket science.

  • avatar

    Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked, have been sacked.

  • avatar

    Great, recall #3 on the wife’s 2011…..

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