Ford F-150 recall

Ford is recalling 1,619,112 Ford F-150 Regular Cab and SuperCrew Cab pickup trucks, from model years 2015-2018, because of a fire risk. The company says that seat belt pretensioners can create “excessive” sparks, which could lead to a fire.

A seat belt pretensioner acts in a split second to tighten the belt and better hold its occupant in place. The seat belts work in conjunction with the airbags to reduce the likelihood of passenger injury by keeping the occupant properly positioned and limiting motion. Pretensioners, like airbags, often use an explosive that’s triggered by crash forces.

Ford says there have been 17 reports of smoke or fire in the U.S. and six in Canada, though there have not been any injuries or accidents associated with the defect. 

The recall is expected to begin Sept. 24, 2018.

This announcement of the Ford F-150 recall follows an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency identified several cases where fire became intense enough that the truck was “totally destroyed.”

As CR reported last month, NHTSA opened the investigation after only five consumer complaints about fires were filed with the agency—far fewer than the average—due to the potential threat this problem creates. Three of those fires resulted in destroyed trucks.

F-150 owners should not stop using their seat belts, despite this announcement. “In each of these reported cases, the fire occurred after a crash event, and in 4 out of 5 cases, the airbags were deployed. The F-150 seat belt and the pretensioner system had already performed correctly and protected the occupant,” says Emily Thomas, Ph.D., automotive safety engineer at Consumer Reports. “It’s imperative that occupants continue to effectively protect themselves with their seat belt.”

Ford told CR that it had no comment beyond its official release announcing the recall.

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Learn more about the NHTSA investigation into the Ford F-150.

The Details

Vehicles recalled: 1,619,112 pickup trucks, including:

  • 2015-18 Ford F-150 pickup trucks built at the Dearborn, Mich., Assembly Plant from March 12, 2014 through Aug. 23, 2018
  • 2015-18 Ford F-150 pickup trucks built at the Kansas City, Mo., Assembly Plant from Aug. 20, 2014 through Aug. 23, 2018

The problem: Front seat belt pretensioners can create "excessive sparks" when they deploy, creating a risk of fire.

The fix: Ford dealers will remove insulation material and any tape remnants in the B-pillar area on both the driver's and passenger's sides. That's the vehicle pillar that sits between the front and rear seats. Dealers will add heat-resistant tape to the carpet and insulation. With Regular Cab models, the technicians will make modifications to the back interior panels as well. All of this work will be done free of charge to owners.

How to contact the manufacturer: Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332.

NHTSA campaign number: 18V568000. The Ford reference number for this recall is 18S27.

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: NHTSA’s website will tell you whether your vehicle has any open recalls that need to be addressed. 

If you plug in the 17-digit vehicle identification number into the NHTSA’s website and this recall doesn’t appear, we recommend checking back later.