Since there’s no point in having seatbelts or airbags in a car if they don’t function when needed, the National Highway Traffic Administration is looking into an issue that could knock out these safety features in some Hyundai vehicles.
After receiving more than 80 complaints from consumers, NHTSA opened an investigation into a possible seatbelt and airbag safety malfunction involving nearly 394,000 model year 2006-2008 Hyundai Sonatas, the Associated Press reports.
According to a NHTSA filing [PDF], a sensor inside the driver and passenger seat belt buckle assembly may experience a failure leading to a malfunction of the safety belt pretensioner.
Depending on the nature of the failure and the airbag deployment algorithm, the airbag may not deploy as designed or at all.
NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation received reports and data from the vehicle manufacturer alleging the seatbelt buckle assembly may have failed and needed to be repaired or replaced.
In the majority of cases, the airbag warning light illuminated, indicating an issue was present.
When consumers took their vehicles to the dealer for inspection, the malfunction was generally found. Owners reported they were charged nearly $400 to fix the issue.
According to NHTSA there have been no crashes or injuries related to the possible defect. There has been no recall issued related to the problem.
Regulators opened the investigation to analyze the scope, frequency and consequences of the reported incidents.
US agency probes Hyundai Sonata air bag problem [Associated Press]