2006-'08 Hyundai Sonata Probed by NHTSA Over Seatbelt Buckle Malfunction

Jul 25, 2014 03:30 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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An investigation into an estimated 394,000 2006-'08 Hyundai Sonata sedans after receiving consumer complaints of seatbelt buckle electrical malfunction.

Approximately 83 owner reports have been received by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and additional Early Warning Reporting data from Hyundai claiming that the seatbelt buckle assembly "failed and needed to be repaired and/or replaced on 2006-'08 Hyundai Sonata vehicles."

"In the majority of the reports, the airbag warning light illuminated, which acted to notify the driver that a fault was present," said the NHTSA in its summary. "The reports also indicate that either the front driver and/or passenger safety belt buckle assemblies may be affected. Depending on the nature of the failure and the airbag deployment algorithm, the seatbelt pretensioner and/or the airbag function may be affected."

The airbag may not deploy as designed or at all, according to the summary.

No crashes, injuries, or fatalities have been reported yet to the NHTSA.

The 2006-'08 Sonata has not been recalled at this point. Safety regulators have just opened what they call a "preliminary evaluation" into the matter.

Such an action can eventually lead to a vehicle recall however.

"We will fully cooperate with NHTSA throughout the course of this investigation," said Jim Trainor, a Hyundai spokesman, according to Edmunds.

Owners of the Hyundai Sonata vehicles will have to wait for now as safety regulators finish their evaluation.

If you think something is wrong with your car, take it to your local dealer to be inspected. 

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