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Subaru to Have Seatbelt Recall for 275,000 Forester Cars

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Subaru will recall a number of Forester models that was manufactured from November 2007 to March 2012. The recall, which will affect about 275,000 cars, was made due to a problem caused by the seatbelt assembly’s automatic lock retractor.

The Automatic Lock Retractor Issue

The Japan-based car manufacturer said in an announcement that Forester’s assemblies were not able to meet Federal Motor Vehicle’s safety standards for occupant crash protection. It disables proper child-seat installation, which could result to injury in case of accident. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall summary:

The automatic locking retractor in the seatbelt assemblies located in the rear center seating of the affected vehicles do not meet lockability requirements. The assemblies may not permit proper installation and secure attachment of a child restraint in that seating position.

As a consequence, the NHTSA added that, “An insecure installation of a child restraint can increase the risk of injury to a child during a crash.”

However, the automaker cleared that there were no injuries reported. The problem was discovered by NHTSA during a routine testing.

NHTSA’s Seatbelt Standards

According to NHTSA, seatbelts were able to save more than 13,000 lives in 2008. Thus, the administration devised seatbelt standards to make sure that it’s properly manufactured and used by car owners.

Anchorage: According to Federal Motor Vehicle Standards and Regulation nos. 209 and 210, all passenger vehicle seatbelts must have straps, webbing or similar material, buckles and fasteners. It should be anchored in proper location to ensure that passengers are properly restrained to lower the risk of injury during crash.

Assembly and Installation: Standard no. 208 states that seatbelts must be installed in passenger cars, truck, buses and other passenger vehicles. In passenger cars, a lap or lap-and-shoulder belt should be placed in every seat. Excluding convertibles, the lap-and-shoulder seatbelt should also be assembled on each front outboard seat.

Safety Mechanism: Standard no. 208 also states that a lap-and-shoulder seatbelt for passenger vehicles must have a single-point push button and an emergency or auto-lock seatbelt retractor. This standard should also apply for torso restraints.

Subaru dealers will replace the rear-center seatbelt assembly for free and will also include a newly modified locking retractor. Concerned Subaru Forester owners can contact the automaker at (800) 782-2783 or visit NHTSA’s official website. The car manufacturer will start its recall for the mentioned car models on April 13.

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