(CMR) — Ford has recalled about 2 million F-150 pickup trucks in North America because a seat belt mechanism has started fires.
The company said it was aware of 17 reports in the United States where smoke or fires broke out, and another six cases in Canada, but said it didn't know of any accidents or injuries that resulted.
The company blamed the issue on the vehicle's seat belt pretensioners, equipment designed to help secure passengers in the event of an accident or crash by reducing the slack in seat belts.
The equipment uses a small device that emits gas, Ford said, which could ignite if there are “excessive sparks,” causing insulation and carpets inside the truck to catch fire.
The recall affects 2015-2018 F-150 Regular Cab and SuperCrew Cab vehicles manufactured at its Dearborn Assembly Plant in Michigan and its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri, Ford said in a statement.
The lion's share of vehicles affected — about 1.6 million — are in the United States, while about 340,000 are in Canada and nearly 37,000 are in Mexico, Ford said.
“Dealers will remove insulation material from the B-pillar trim, remove remnants of wiring harness tape in the B-pillar area, and apply heat-resistant tape to the carpet and its insulation,” Ford's statement said. “Dealers also will modify the back interior panels of Regular Cab vehicles.”
The company will conduct the repairs at no cost to customers, it added.