Faulty Seat Belt Mechanism Prompts Recall of 680,000 Ford Vehicles

Pretensioner malfunction already responsible for two injuries. 

Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty

Ford has announced a massive recall for some of its most popular late-model sedans. In a press release issued Friday, the Dearborn-based automaker said that up to 680,000 vehicles are affected worldwide. The problem is a fairly serious one, stemming from a faulty seat belt mechanism, which "may inadequately restrain an occupant in a crash, increasing risk of injury."

The recall covers 2013-2016 model year Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles. Due to inadequate insulation, the seat belt anchor pretensioners in some vehicles are prone to overheating. This, in turn, can cause the cable to snap when deployed during a wreck. Ford says it’s aware of two accidents and two injuries stemming from the malfunction.

Only certain Fusion and MKZ sedans are affected, depending on the build date and location. They include the following:

2013-15 Fusion built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant Nov. 2, 2012 to July 31, 2014
2013 Fusion built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant, Aug. 13, 2012 to Nov. 1, 2012
2015-16 Fusion built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant, Aug. 1, 2014 to April 2, 2016
2015-16 Fusion built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant, Aug. 1, 2014 to Feb. 22, 2016
2014-15 Fusion built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant, April 12, 2013 to July 31, 2014
2013-15 MKZ built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant, Nov. 14, 2012 to July 31, 2014

The vast majority of those, over 600,000 cars, are floating around the U.S. market.

Ford says the fix will come via a new coating, injected by dealer techs, to better insulate the tensioner cables, preventing breakage.

Owners will be notified of the recall. But if you own a Fusion or MKZ, or know somebody who does, grab the car’s VIN number and call a Ford dealer to make sure everything’s clear.