NHTSA investigates Tesla Model X seatbelt failures

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) currently doing research (pdf) two separate non-collision-related seat belt failures that occurred in newer Tesla Model X vehicles (through NBC news).

NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) notes two complaints from Model X owners who say their front seatbelts do not stay connected to the pretensioner. Both owners reported that the separation occurred while driving their model year 2022 and 2023 Model X SUVs. The investigators write that “both vehicles were delivered to owners with inadequately connected tie rods.”

NHTSA first opened its investigation on March 24 and says about 50,000 Model X vehicles could be affected by the issue. In both cases, the agency says there was a “connection failure” in the area where the anchor meets the tensioner, because they “were not properly connected during assembly” and were only held together by friction. Separation occurred when “the force applied to the clutch overcame the resistance of the friction fit while the vehicles were in motion.”

Tesla had to recall another seatbelt last year to fix a problem that affected more than 24,000 Model 3 vehicles. Those occurred as a result of unrelated visits to service centers, where technicians failed to properly reassemble the rear seat anchor.

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