NHTSA is investigating Tesla Model X seatbelt defects

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating (pdf) two separate non-crash-related seat belt failures that occurred in recent Tesla Model X vehicles (via NBC News).

NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) notes two complaints from Model X owners who say their front seat belts failed to stay connected to the seat belt pretensioner. Both owners reported that the separation occurred while driving the 2022 and 2023 model year Model X SUVs. The investigators write that “both vehicles were delivered to the owners with inadequately attached anchor couplings.”

NHTSA first opened its investigation on March 24 and says up to 50,000 or so Model X vehicles could be affected by the problem. In both cases, the agency says “connection failure” occurred in the area where the armature meets the tensioner, as they “were not properly connected during assembly” and were only held together by friction fit. Separation occurred when “the force exerted on the joint overcame the resistance of the friction fit while the vehicles were in motion.”

Tesla had to issue another seat belt recall last year to fix a problem that affected over 24,000 Model 3 vehicles. These occurred due to unrelated service center visits, where technicians did not properly install the rear seat anchor.

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