Hyundai Accent, Elantra Recalled Over Exploding Seat Belts Again

Metal fragments can spray into the passenger compartment in nearly 240,000 cars, the automaker warns.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
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2021 Hyundai Elantra
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2021 Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai's popular Elantra sedan and its hybrid variant are the subject of a new recall announced by NHTSA.


Hyundai is recalling 239,000 cars over exploding seat belts. The Korean automaker is urging owners to bring affected vehicles back to dealers for repairs to seat belt pretensioners, which can fly apart upon activation, spraying metal fragments into the cabin in the event of a crash. The recall affects 2021-2023 Elantra and 2021-2022 Elantra Hybrid models, as well as select 2019-2022 Accent models.

This issue has previously been the subject of numerous much smaller recalls, whose affected population totals 7,712 vehicles. The earliest of those four recalls dates from October last year.

Pretensioners are the part of the seat belt assemblies that are designed to immediately retract seat belt webbing in the event of an accident, in order to better restrain occupants and reduce injuries. The small pyrotechnic charge used to activate the seat belt retraction is the part precipitating this recall campaign. The malfunction's "specific root cause has not yet been determined," according to documents (PDF) related to the filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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The fix for this issue involves fitting a special cap over the seat belt pretensioner's micro gas generator and delivery pipe to prevent metal fragments from injuring occupants. Any inspection and related repairs will be carried out free of charge for affected owners, including vehicles covered by the previous related recalls mentioned above. Future models are being built with different, redesigned pretensioner assemblies.

Of the 239,000 vehicles under recall, around 166,000 of those units are gas-only Elantra sedans, 12,000 are Elantra hybrids and 61,000 are Accent economy cars.

Hyundai will notify owners of affected recalls by mail on July 15. Concerned owners can contact Hyundai customer service at 855-371-9460 and reference Recall 229.

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