Lemberg Law is investigating complaints regarding faulty seat belt pretensioners in several Kia and Hyundai models manufactured between 2019 to 2023. There are potentially hundreds of thousands of vehicles at risk, and the manufacturers of the affected vehicles have issued several recalls. A further problem is that dealerships are not yet able to honor the recall.
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Is there a Problem with the Seat Belt Pretensioners in Hyundai & Kia Vehicles?
There are critical problems with seat belt pretensioners in a wide range of Hyundai and Kia vehicles. The issue is that in the event of a crash, front driver-side and/or the passenger-side seat belt pretensioners may explode. If this happens, there is a very real risk that metal fragments will project into the vehicle, strike occupants, and injure people.
Related issues are that in some cases, recall notices do not require owners to limit the use of their vehicles in any way. Many Hyundai owners report that the parts needed for the recall repair are not available. Also, dealers who are in the process of selling certain Hyundai vehicles have been instructed to stop the sales until all vehicles with open recalls have been repaired.
That makes sense, although some people buying vehicles aren’t happy.
Which Hyundai & Kia Vehicles Have Seat Belt Pretensioner Problems?
The Hyundai and Kia vehicles included are:
2019-2022 Hyundai Accent
2020-2022 Hyundai Venue
2021-2023 Hyundai Elantra
2021-2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid
2022 Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid
They all have seat belt pretensioner problems, although the technical service bulletins (TSBs) relating to different models do differ slightly. With this in mind, we’re going to look more closely at complaints and TSBs that relate to the Hyundai and Kia vehicles affected by potentially lethal seat belt pretensioners.
2019-2023 Hyundai & Kia Seatbelt Pretensioner Problems & Complaints
Most of the complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about seat belt problems relate to recall issues. But there are several complaints that indicate there are other seat belt safety problems. This, in itself, is a problem because these complaints highlight additional safety issues.
We’re going to look at recall problems first, and then other seat belt issues.
Recall Issues related to Hyundai & Kia Seat Belt Pretensioners
Owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles that are affected by seat belt pretensioner problems are understandably concerned about the implications. But NHTSA complaints indicate that when they take their vehicles into dealerships for the repair, nothing happens. One consumer from Maine who ordered a 2022 Hyundai Venue states: “Can’t buy the car I’ve ordered because of an unresolved recall. July 1, 2022.”
Owners of Hyundai Venues Have This to Say:
The owner of a 2020 Hyundai Venue states: “NHTSA Recall Number 22V458000… (The) dealership won’t look or fix the car; keep saying ‘REMEDY NOT AVAILABLE’.”
The complaint to the NHTSA from the owner of a 2022 Hyundai Venue from Florida states:
“The contact received notification of NHTSA Campaign Number: 22V458000 (Seat Belts). However, the part to do the recall repair was not yet available. The local dealer was contacted. The contact called another local dealer, Doral Hyundai (10285 NW 12th St, Doral, FL 33172). However, the vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The contact stated that the manufacturer had exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. Parts distribution disconnect. The approximate failure mileage was 18,000.”
Comments from owners of 2021 Hyundai Elantras:
An owner from California received notification of NHTSA Campaign Numbers: 21V00M000 (Visibility) and 22V354000 (Seat Belts). However, the part to do the recall repair was not yet available. The contact stated that the manufacturer had exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The dealer was made aware of the issue and confirmed that parts were not yet available. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue and confirmed that parts were not yet available. The contact had not experienced a failure. Parts distribution disconnect.
An owner from Ohio received notification of NHTSA campaign number 22V354000 (Seat Belts) and 21V00M000 (Visibility). Once again, the parts to do the recall repairs were unavailable. The local dealer was contacted and it was confirmed that the parts were not yet available. The contact stated that the manufacturer had exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure. Parts distribution disconnect.
An owner from Pennsylvania had exactly the same experience.
Other Complaints About Seat Belts
The owner of a 2022 Hyundai Accent is concerned about the warning chimes that activate for seat belts. “The seat belt warning light will illuminate for approximately 6 seconds each time you place the ignition switch to the ON position regardless of belt fastening. However, if the seat belt is unfasted, a warning chime will sound for approximately 6 seconds. If you continue not to fasten the seat belt and you drive over 6 mph the warning light will stay illuminated. If you continue to drive over 12 mph the seat belt warning chime will sound for approximately 100 seconds and the corresponding warning light will blink, etc.
“Worse yet, as far as I can tell, the front passenger seat belt when unfastened will not show at all!”
The owner of a 2021 Hyundai Venue from Michigan states: “Rear passenger seatbelt is constantly locked while passenger is wearing seatbelt. It will not expand to give the passenger some space, it’s so tight it cuts into your carotid artery. It’s a constant issue and a safety hazard.”
Another 2021 Hyundai Venue, this time from Connecticut, states that a child “became entrapped in (the) car seat in (the) rear center seat.” They unbuckled the seat belt to get the child out, but the belt snagged on the underside of the car seat.
The belt would not retract from the retractor mechanism. With the child’s movement, the belt tightened around his upper chest and neck. Two adults could not get the belt to release. So, to release the child and prevent strangulation, they cut the belt.
Technical Service Bulletins & Other Documents from Hyundai & Kia
Hyundai has posted recall notices for a range of models from 2020. Some of the earliest TSBs state that only 140 vehicles are potentially affected. More recent TSBs, some of which combine more than one model, state that nearly a quarter of a million (230,233) vehicles are affected.
There have been three recalls for the 2020 Hyundai Accent, two for the 2021 model, and just one for the 2022 model. Similarly, there are three recalls for the 2020 Hyundai Venue, and only two for the other models. It’s the same pattern for the Hyundai Elantra and also for the Hyundai Accent.
As the company identifies more and more problems, they add more recall notices. For example, the first recall for the 2022 Hyundai Elantra on the NHTSA website states that there were 140 potential units affected. This quickly rose to 230,233. Even though other models are now included, the increase is phenomenal.
Perhaps more importantly, there is nothing very different about these notices. All they do is confirm that there are serious seat belt pretensioner issues.
Our concern is that owners are not cautioned to stop driving the vehicles that have issues. What happens if they crash? From what Hyundai says, they may explode and injure people in the vehicle!
What Should You Do if Your Hyundai or Kia is Included in the Recall?
Lemberg Law is investigating the multiple complaints and resultant issues about faulty seat belt pretensioners in Hyundai and Kia Sorento vehicles. The manufacturers don’t have a solution, so what can you do? Get legal help from a lemon lawyer.
All you have to do right now is fill out our contact form or call us for a free case evaluation. It won’t cost you anything now or later. That’s because the law will make Hyundai or Kia pay the legal fees for your claim. Act now!
About the Author:
Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.