Just over 30,000 2020 Kia Telluride SUVs are being recalled in the U.S. due to a seatbelt installation problem. Year to date, Kia hasn’t sold much more than 30,000 Tellurides, so the recall applies to nearly every Telluride on the road right now. Documents posted on the NHTSA’s website explain that the wrong seatbelt assemblies may have been installed in certain Tellurides. Instead of American-spec assemblies, Kia says the Middle East-spec seatbelt assemblies may have been installed on some Tellurides.
Here’s why that’s an issue: Kia states that the seatbelts in the passenger seat, second row and third row may not be equipped with an automatic locking retractor (ALR) feature. In case you weren’t familiar with the terminology, automatic locking retractor belts are seatbelts that lock into place once they’re snug to whatever they’re holding — they lock into place, instead of allowing a passenger to tug them back out again. This is necessary for securing child seats into place via the seatbelt, because you don’t want there to be any give or movement in a crash. U.S. regulations require that every forward-facing seat that isn’t the driver’s seat has the ALR feature so that a child seat can be properly secured in it. Kia says “If a non-ALR seat belt is used to secure a child seat in the front passenger, second or third row seats, it may not tightly secure a child restraint system, increasing the risk of injury to a child seat occupant in a crash.”
As of now, there are no reported deaths or injuries as a result of this issue. Owners of these potentially affected Tellurides will have to bring their vehicles into the dealer to be inspected. If they have the non-ALR Middle East-spec seatbelts installed in them, Kia will change them out for American-spec belt assemblies free of charge. The recall is scheduled to begin Aug. 30, so owners should expect a notification in the mail soon. This recall is the first experienced by the popular Telluride SUV.