UPDATE: Hyundai Recalls 443,545 Recalled Cars Over Seatbelt Concerns

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
update hyundai recalls 443 545 recalled cars over seatbelt concerns

(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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  • Analoggrotto Only allow Tesla drivers to race, we are the epitome of class and brilliance.
  • Wjtinfwb When my kids turned 16 and got their Operators, we spent $400 to send both (twins) to 2 driving schools. One held by the local Sherriff was pretty basic but a good starter on car control and dealing with police officers as they ran the school. Then they went to a full day class in N Atlanta on a racetrack, with the cars supplied by BMW. They learned evasive maneuvers, high speed braking, skid control on a wet skid pad and generally built a lot of confidence behind the wheel. Feeling better about their skills, we looked for cars. My son was adamant he wanted a manual, Halleluiah! Looking at used Civics and Golf's and concerned about reliability and safety, I got discouraged. Then noticed an AutoTrader adv. for a new leftover '16 Ford Focus ST six-speed. 25k MSRP advertised for $17,500. $2500 above my self-imposed limit. I went to look, a brand new car, 16 miles on it, black with just the sunroof. 3 year warranty and ABS, Airbags. One drive and the torquey turbo 2.0 convinced me and I bought it on the spot. 7 years and 66k miles later it still serves my son well with zero issues. My daughter was set on a Subaru, I easily found a year old Crosstrek with all the safety gear and only 3k miles. 21k but gave my wife and I lots of peace of mind. She still wheels the Subaru, loves it and it too has provided 7 years and 58k miles of low cost motoring. Buy what fits your budget but keep in mind total cost over the long haul and the peace of mind a reliable and safe car provides. Your kids are worth it.
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  • Wjtinfwb Happy you're loving your Z4. Variety is the spice of life and an off-beat car like the Z4 intrigues me as well. More than anything, your article and pictures have me lusting for the dashboards of a decade ago. Big, round analog gauges. Knobs and buttons to dial up the A/C, Heat or Volume. Not a television screen in sight. Need to back up? Use the mirrors or look over your shoulder. If your Z4 had the six-speed manual, it would be about perfect. Today's electronified BMW's leave me ice cold, as do the new Mercedes and Audi's with their video game interiors. Even a lowly GTI cannot escape the glowing LED dashboard. I'm not a total luddite, Bluetooth streaming for the radio would be nice and I'd agree the cooled seats would be a bonus on a warm day with the top down. But the Atari dashboard is just a bridge too far for me.
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