New York (CNN) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into model year 2022 and 2023 Tesla Model X SUVs because there may be a problem with their front seatbelt mounts.
NHTSA launches an investigation when there is reason to believe there is a safety issue that requires action, such as a recall. An investigation may or may not lead to a recall.
Tesla is already facing NHTSA investigations into its Autopilot and “Full Self Driving” driver assistance system as well as steering wheels that came loose.
While the study applies to about 50,000 Model X vehicles, the problem was found in only two vehicles, according to the NHTSA report of the study. In these two SUVs, a seatbelt pretensioner, a small device that automatically tightens the seatbelt in a crash, became detached from the seat frame. The seatbelt pretensioners were not properly tightened during installation, NHTSA said.
Both incidents occurred while the vehicles were traveling at low speeds and the SUVs involved were still relatively new and had not traveled many miles.
NHTSA is investigating whether this is a more widespread problem and not just a few isolated cases. In a complaint on the NHTSA website that matches the description of the problem, the seat belt came loose when the SUV braked suddenly to avoid hitting anything.
Tesla recently had to officially recall 363,000 vehicles to update its “Full Self Driving” driver assistance software. In that case, the safety recall was done using an over-the-air software update. If NHTSA finds that the seatbelt requires a recall, it would likely require manual work by a Tesla technician.
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