Hyundai forced to recall 281,000 vehicles due to exploding seatbelts

Seatbelts are supposed to help protect us from injury in a car accident. But if you drive a Hyundai, your seatbelts might be at risk of blowing up and hurting you.

Wait, an exploding seatbelt?

You read that right. A defect in a piece of the seatbelt mechanism can cause a part to explode and spray metal fragments into the cab, potentially harming you or others inside. So far, Hyundai has recalled 281,000 vehicles because of this problem, which has already injured three people. In one of the incidents, the shards injured a passenger’s leg. It is unclear how serious those injuries were or what happened in the other two incidents. The vehicles included in the recall are Accents from model year 2019-22, Elantras from 2021-23 and Elantra hybrids from 2021-22.

What is the specific defect?

The problem is with the pretensioner. It’s a part of the system that locks the seatbelt in place when a vehicle crashes to keep the user from getting ejected. A tiny gas generator within the pretensioner seems to have microfractures that cause it to explode and burst out the metal shards. Hyundai believes this is due to a design flaw, not a batch of defective generators. This is why it’s issued an increasingly large series of recalls; the defectively designed pretensioners are in hundreds of thousands of Accents and Elantras on the roads today.

Not prevention, but compensation after the fact

The problem with auto recalls is that they often don’t happen until after somebody gets seriously hurt. Unfortunately, there is often no way to find out that a product is defective until it reaches the marketplace and injures consumers. While a product liability lawsuit cannot turn back time and prevent your injuries from happening, it can help you get rightful compensation from the business or businesses that negligently let you get hurt.