GM recalling 243,000 vehicles over possible seat belt issue


General Motors is recalling over 243,000 vehicles over safety concerns with seat belts in the 2009 and 2010 Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook.

GM says it plans on inspecting the recalled vehicles’ second-row safety belts for damage that “in rare cases could make an occupant think the belt is properly latched when it isn’t.”

There are 243,403 vehicles involved in the recall, the majority in the United States with several thousand exported vehicles in Canada, Mexico, China and Saudi Arabia and small populations in other countries.

GM discovered damaged second-row safety belt buckles among warranty returns and says there are no known cases where second-row safety belts have failed to perform properly in a crash.

Some vehicles may have a condition where the second-row seat side trim shield restricts the upward rotation of the seat belt buckle when the seat back is returned to a seating position after being folded flat.  

The automaker says is a release on its website that if the buckle makes contact with the seat frame, the buckle may receive cosmetic damage as the seat back is being returned to its upright position. When this occurs, the customer may notice that additional effort is required to return the seat to a seating position.

“But if sufficient force is applied, the buckle cover could be pushed down the strap, exposing and partially depressing the red release button.  The seat belt release button may not travel as much as designed when depressed. The buckle may not latch or unlatch and may appear to be jammed.  In rare instances, the buckle may appear to latch when the latch mechanism is not fully engaged,” it said in a release.

“Because of the potential for a false-latch condition, we want customers to return their vehicles to have the recall repair performed as soon as possible,” said Jeff Boyer, GM executive director of safety.

Owners will begin receiving letters this month to schedule appointments with dealership service departments for a no-charge inspection and repair of the second-row belts.