Vehicle recalls are, of course, common, but what isn’t is the reason behind the latest revelation that certain Ford Broncos are being called back.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reportedly found a problem which has led to the recall of 176,000 Ford Bronco SUVs from model years 2021 to 2023.
NHTSA’s investigation found that drivers and front seat passengers were having difficulty accessing the metal portion of the vehicle’s seat belt when it was in “retracted position.”
They described the challenge as so severe that the agency felt Bronco drivers and passengers could be “discouraged” to the point where they might not use the seatbelts at all – thus increasing their risk of injury in a crash.
According to CNN, Ford’s only comment on the recall was to say “that the problem is only when the front seats are in one certain position, not all positions,” though the company did not specify the offending seat position.
But Auto Blog suggests that the company is currently investigating how the issue got past engineering checks, as the position of the latches doesn’t comply with the established Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard on latch plate access.
Auto Blog adds that the fix is a trip to the dealer to have a sliding clip attached to keep the latch in position. They also note “Tech writers will add a section to the owner's manual on ‘the appropriate use’ of what is effectively a fancy barrette.”
It’s important to point out that the concern over discouraged drivers didn’t come from a consumer complaint, rather, NHTSA discovered the issue during a routine examination of the vehicle.
For Ford, the recall is just another ordeal in an already challenging week: the company also just warned certain Lincoln SUV owners to park them outside because they can catch fire even when the engines are turned off.