Ford Announces Recall: Seat Belt Tension Sensor

On Monday, April 20th, Ford Motor Company announced a safety recall. The recall is to replace a seat belt tensioning sensor on select 2020 Ford Expedition vehicles. Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries resulting from this at this time. Here is what you need to know about this latest safety recall if you have a 2020 Ford Expedition.

Why the recall

White Ford Expedition Platinum Edition
Ford Expedition Platinum Edition | Ford Motor Company

According to the Ford press release earlier today, 

“In affected vehicles, the belt tension sensor in the front passenger seat belt buckle may malfunction and can lead to a misclassification of the size and weight of the occupant for the restraint system. In some circumstances, this malfunction may not be detected, and the airbag light may not illuminate. Occupant misclassification may result in passenger injury in the event of a crash.”

Which Expeditions are affected

Vehicles affected by the recall are 2020 Expeditions built in Kentucky between November 27, to December 7, 2019. Ford indicates that the affected vehicles total, “1,355 units in the United States, 12 in Canada, and one in Mexico.” 


Ford will be reaching out to the owners of the affected Expeditions. If your vehicle qualifies as one in the affected group, Ford will have its dealer network replace the front passenger seat belt buckle for you. The recall reference number is 20S17.

It appears that this is a voluntary recall, as no indication of a recall of this part is mentioned over at the NHTSA website. However, the website does note that the 2020 Ford Expedition has already had two other recalls. The first is for a questionable gear position display. The second is for a seat back that may not be as strong as required. 

That makes three recalls for the 2020 model year of the Expedition. The vehicle still has a few months left of production for this model year. According to JD Power, the 2020 Ford Expedition is rated at a score of 79 out of a possible 100 for quality and reliability. JD Power claims the rating is based “on hundreds of thousands of independent and unbiased opinions of verified car owners regarding their vehicle’s quality, dependability, performance, depreciation and their experience at the dealership.” That score of 79 was prior to this morning’s announcement of the seat belt tension sensor recall. 

A Ford Expedition on display at an auto show
A Ford Expedition at the Chicago Auto Show | Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What is a seat belt tension sensor

A seat belt tension sensor is mated to the buckle of each seat position. When working properly, it will determine if somebody in the seat is unbuckled, or if a safety seat with a child may be using the seat location. Depending on the sensor, it may determine whether or not an airbag even deploys.

It goes without saying, but always keep an eye on the road when driving. That way, you can avoid most situations that may require the use of a seatbelt tensioning sensor being used. But having any seatbelt concern is a bit disconcerting. So, if you don’t want to wait for a notification from Ford, and you own a 2020 Ford Expedition, reach out to your local Ford dealership for more information.