Hyundai and Kia are investigated over exploding seat belts

Washington, D.C. – September 4, 2022 – The U.S. government’s auto safety regulator is investigating several Hyundai (NASDAQ:HYMTF) and its subsidiary Kia (OTCMKTS:KIMTF) models over an allegation that their seat belt pretensioners may explode when deployed. This may send metal shrapnel flying through the cabin, potentially injuring the occupants. 

If the investigation leads to a recall, it could affect an estimated 275,000 vehicles, including: 

  • 2020 – 2022 Hyundai Accent
  • 2021 – 2022 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2021 – 2022 Hyundai Elantra HEV
  • 2021 – 2022 Hyundai Venue
  • 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid 
  • 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV
  • 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid 
  • 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV
  • 2022 Genesis GV70
  • 2021 Genesis GV80

Investigation summary  

The regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), opened an investigation on August 8, 2022 following three complaints about seat belt pretensioner rupturing or exploding during deployment. Based on the allegations, occupants were injured by flying metal shards in all three cases

There have been five recalls  – with all of them including one of the vehicles above – due to this issue. The investigation is being opened to both evaluate “the adequacy” of these recalls and their scope. 

What are seat belt pretensioners?

Seat belt pretensioners help tighten up the seat belt around the passenger’s torso in case of a collision. These are pyrotechnic devices, designed to deploy quickly and forcefully without breaking apart.


If the pretensioner explodes, it could send metal fragments into the vehicle,  striking occupants and resulting in an injury. 

Other Hyundai recalls 

There was a Hyundai Genesis recall in the spring of last year due to the risk of “short circuit risk in the anti-lock brake system,” as reported.

Both Kia and Hyundai are subject to a separate U.S. government investigation due to multiple non-crash related fires, as reported.

The latest recall for exploding pretensioners  was in May 2022, and it affected more than 200,000 vehicles. There was also a similar recall just before it, in April 2022, although with a significantly smaller scope.  

Is your vehicle part of a recall?

This investigation may eventually lead to a Hyundai seat belt recall, possibly affecting over a quarter of a million vehicles. To do a Hyundai recall check and see if your car might be a part of it, please bookmark MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

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