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Is your seat belt in your car defective?

It seems as though automobile manufacturers announce vehicle recalls every month because of one kind of problem or another. You may feel that you are not safe in your own car.

Defective parts can spell trouble for drivers and passengers alike. Recently, seat belts were found to be defective in a number of Hyundai models, exposing many people to injuries, even deaths.

Hyundai seat belt recall

Federal regulators began looking into defective seat belts on the 2013 Hyundai Sonata last year. Complaints from two different Hyundai owners sparked the investigation. Both owners went to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website with their stories. In each case, according to the vehicle owners, the front passenger seat belt broke away from its floor-mounted holder, and one injury resulted. These complaints were only the first of many that the NHTSA received that year.

Continuing issues Hyundai seat belts

Another complaint came from the driver of a 2012 Veloster who said that the seat belt assembly came loose from the wall of the car. Owners of other Hyundai models described crashes including rear-end collisions during which the front seat belts did not work properly.

One passenger hit her head on the dashboard because her seat belt did not restrain her. In another instance, the driver's head struck something, likely the steering wheel, during the force of the impact. Again, the seat belt did not restrain the driver as it was designed to do.

It doesn't end there. More recalls have rolled out since the initial investigation into Hyundai's defective seat belts.

What you can do

Over the years, drivers and passengers alike have become accustomed to wearing restraints, and buckling up is now second nature for most. The occupants of any kind of vehicle depend on equipment that functions properly. Unfortunately, you often cannot count on the safety features of your car working every time.

If you are unsure if your vehicle is subject to a recall -- whether for a seat belt, airbag, tire or other defect -- there are a few things you should do:

  • Conduct an online search for your vehicle's model and year to find out if a recall has been issued.
  • If a warning or a recall has been issued, visit your car dealer as soon as possible to see if you qualify for a repair or replacement.
  • Periodically check for future recalls, and stay diligent about servicing your car, SUV or truck on a regular basis.

Stay safe out there.

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