GM navigated the Bolt’s battery fire recall, but there’s now a new potential fire risk.
Seatbelts aren’t normally an item you need to worry about in your new car. You get in, you put it on and you go about your day. There’s a potential risk with 2017 – 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV models, however, as their seatbelt pretensioners could spark a fire when they deploy in an accident. That could create an especially dangerous situation, since occupants may not be able to get out of the car immediately following a crash.
Specifically, GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through a defect report that, “In certain crashes that cause the front seatbelt pretensioners to deploy, the exhaust from the deployed pretensioner may ignite fibers in the floor carpet near the b-pillar.” The automaker opened an investigation into the problem after a car fire in South Korea, thought to have originated in the right-side lower b-pillar.
This recall campaign affects 111,242 Chevrolet Bolt EV hatchbacks built between July 26, 2016 and October 25, 2022. The Bolt EUV crossover is not part of the recall, as it uses a different seatbelt pretensioner configuration.
The automaker already notified dealers and will send out notices to owners in late January.
What’s the fix?
Chevrolet dealers will tackle this recall in two phases, per GM’s report. The first bulletin (N222383790) will install metal foil at the carpet near the seatbelt pretensioner exhaust, free of charge. The second phase (N222383791) will also see technicians install a thermal cover over the pretensioners to mitigate the risk of a fire.
This latest recall is unrelated to the raft of earlier Bolt EV recall reports that centered around battery fires. However, if you are looking at buying a used Chevy Bolt, make sure you are aware of that issue as well.