GM says that the rivet holding the buckle in the mounting bracket in the left or right side buckle assembly may not have been machined correctly, and the buckle assembly pieces may come loose. As a result, seat belts may not properly restrain third-row passengers in the event of an accident.
The recall includes 2021 and 2022 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs. General Motors said 484,155 vehicles were involved.
Customers who own a vehicle included in the recall will be notified by mail, but can also check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for field procedures at the GM Owner Center at https://my.gm.com/recalls or via the NHTSA website at https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/.
If the vehicle fails inspection, GM has instructed its dealers to inform the customer not to allow occupants to use the sitting position that failed the inspection until the buckle assembly for that seat has been replaced.
OEM told NHTSA that it opened a formal investigation May 31, 17 days after a GM dealer received a customer report of a third-row seat belt buckle assembly that broke off in a 2021 Chevrolet Suburban.
GM field data analysis identified seven additional field reports received between October 2020 and June 2022 that are likely related to this case. The OEM said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue.
A GM investigation found that “operators at a seat belt buckle assembly supplier’s manufacturing plant may not have followed manufacturing processes properly and inadvertently missed the rivet forming process,” according to an NHTSA safety recall report.
Dealers will inspect rivet head formation on seat belt buckle assemblies, and replace fittings as necessary at no cost.
GM has issued a service bulletin to its dealerships outlining the appropriate procedure for inspecting assemblies.
According to Mike Anderson of Collision Advice, all OEMs have issued procedures to thoroughly check seat belt systems that repairers must follow whenever a vehicle is involved in an accident. Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC all include the phrase “Seat Belts – Perform Operational and Functional Seat Belt Inspections” in their position statements about “Post-Collision Repairs and Inspections Required.”
If a store finds a defective buckle assembly, they should suggest the customer contact their local GM dealer and explain the problem, a GM spokesperson told Repairer Driven News. “While we haven’t officially released the recall fixes yet, there are parts available to address the customer issue,” the spokesperson said. The dealer must do a safety recall repair.
Anderson said a survey conducted by CRASH in April 2021 found that 60% of body shops had never required payment for seat belt safety checks. He noted that this is a major concern to him because it indicates that stores do not check seat belts.
According to Danny Gredinberg of the Database Improvement Gateway (DEG), any type of seat belt system inspection is a process not included in the CCC, Mitchell, and Audatex grading systems.
Kia, Hyundai seat belt pretensioners under investigation
The NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) said that if the braces rupture, they may release splinters, causing abrasions or other injuries.
According to NHTSA, included in the investigation are the 2021-2022 Hyundai Elantra/Elantra HEV, the 2021 Hyundai Venue and Genesis GV80, the 2022 Genesis GV70 and Kia Sorento Hybrid/Sorento PHEV, and the 2020-2021 Hyundai Accent. NHTSA says it’s possible to add more models to the investigation.
ODI said it is aware of three separate incidents of possible malfunctioning seat belt pretensioners. In all three accidents, the driver’s side seat belt pretensioner deployed abnormally, causing metal fragments to enter the rear compartment resulting in injuries to the rear passengers.
Hyundai and Kia issued five separate recalls from October 2021 to April 2022 in connection with the rupture of the braces. According to Hyundai’s documentation, the affected tensioners include part numbers 88810-J0600, 88820-J0600, 88810-AA500, and 88820-AA500, all made by Samsong Industries in South Korea.
Pretensioners use a small pyrotechnic explosion to help secure occupants to seat belts and seats in the event of a collision.
SCRS Quick Tips: Customer Safety: OEM Seat Belt Inspections
Hyundai recalls 239,000 cars due to exploding seat belt pretensioners
Featured image: Composite image of GM’s seat belt inspection procedure. The procedure partially reads:
Check both the driver’s and passenger’s third-row seat belt buckles for the rivet head. A properly shaped rivet head (2) is shown in the image above. The unshaped rivet head is shown as (1) in the image above. Don’t mistake a pin head (3) for a rivet head (2), all buckles will have a pin head.
• If the rivet tip is in place, no further action is required. Go to step 5.
• If the rivet head is not in place (1) and the car is owned by the customer, return the car to the customer, and inform the customer not to use the third row seating position(s) on the side(s) that failed the inspection. Go to step 5.
• If the rivet head is not in place (1) and the vehicle is in dealer stock, keep the vehicle until repair parts are available. Go to step 5. (Provided by GM)