NHTSA begins investigation into GM SUV seat belt failures

The NHTSA last week opened an investigation into 1.4 million General Motors crossover SUVs after reports that an earlier recall may not have fixed faulty seat belt cables.

The probe surrounds faulty seat belts that were supposedly fixed in a 2014 recall for 2009 through 2014 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook three-row SUVs.

Documents published to the NHTSA website last week detailed the investigation. Originally, the recall was issued in 2014 for about 1.4 million 2009-2014 model year crossover SUVs. GM said in the recall the flexible steel cable that connects the front seat belts may wear over time and separate. The seat belt ultimately could fail in the event of a crash.

CHECK OUT: Big GM Crossovers Recalled for Seat Belt Anchor Cables

At the time, GM instructed its dealers to inspect and potentially replace the vehicles’ seat belts.

However, numerous complaints show the recall fix may not have solved the problem.

In two complaints filed to the NHTSA after the recall, owners of the affected crossover SUV models said the cables failed after the new part was installed. In one complaint, the cable “disintegrated” while the vehicle was stationary. Only a few threads of steel held the seat belt in place. In another complaint, a seat belt snapped as the owner fastened the buckle in a Traverse. Chevrolet supposedly told the owner the issue was normal wear and tear after the vehicle was repaired under the previous recall.

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Should the NHTSA find the previous recall repair was not fully successful, GM will be on the hook to issue a new recall with an updated remedy for the 1.4 million Enclave, Traverse, Acadia, and Outlook models.

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