Seat belts are made of a thick fabric that can withstand immense pressure during a crash. However, that doesn’t mean they are impervious to damage or wear over time.
While visible cuts, fraying, and tears indicate that you need a seat belt repair, other less noticeable problems could also be dangerous.
The Buckle Doesn’t Lock
One of the most significant signs that your seat belt buckle needs repair is when it won’t lock. The locking mechanism keeps you from being ejected in a crash, so the buckle must latch securely. If the pin isn’t closing, you must fix it immediately.
There are many reasons why a seat belt buckle may not be locking correctly. The most common is that something is stuck inside the buckle itself. Using a screwdriver or another flat, pointy object like a butter knife, poke around the buckle’s entrance to see if anything is lodged in there. It is not uncommon for coins or small toys to fall in, as well as food particles, spilled beverages, and dirt buildup.
If there isn’t an object stuck in the buckle, the male seat belt tongue is likely not latching onto the female part. Examine the language to ensure it isn’t damaged or dirty, and try buckling the seat belt again. If it still doesn’t lock, continue with the next step.
If the tongue isn’t latching on to the female buckle part, it’s time to examine the inside of the buckle itself. Three main components make up the interior of a seat belt buckle: springs, a cam, and a red push button. Examine the pins inside to ensure the cam is catching on the tongue, that there are no crumbs in the cam’s way, and that the springs haven’t broken. If you can’t fix the problem with a quick lubrication, you may need to have the cam or springs replaced.
The Straps Are Visibly Damaged
Anyone who has owned a car knows an endless list of parts that need to be taken care of regularly. From the engine to the lights, no amount of a vehicle is immune from damage and wear and tear. This includes seat belt problems or if a seat belt warning light stays on, which are vital to the safety of passengers in the event of a crash or rollover. It is essential to check the function of your seat belts regularly and to have any problems fixed immediately.
If your seat belt webbing shows any signs of cuts, fraying, or thinning, it is time to get it repaired. This damage can significantly reduce the effectiveness of a seat belt in a crash, and it could even lead to injury or death. If the webbing is faded or bleached, the fabric is likely exposed to excessive sunlight, which can cause it to degrade faster than usual.
Lastly, it would help if you also looked at the straps for any visible signs of wear or damage. The webbing should be able to stretch to provide the necessary amount of slack, but it should always be tight enough to be a safety hazard. It is important to also inspect the retractor for any signs of wear, such as a delay or hesitation when it is pulled.
The Retractor Doesn’t Work
When a seat belt isn’t retracting correctly, it’s time to fix it. There’s a chance it just needs a good cleaning – something that can be done at home using a spray-on cleaner and a brush or cloth. If the problem is more serious, the retractor may need to be replaced.
The seat belt’s webbing connects to a retractor, which allows the seat belt to adjust for different-sized occupants and allow movement. The spool inside the retractor is winded up to take the slack out of the webbing during use. The spool also has a lock mechanism that prevents it from rotating when the vehicle decelerates quickly, such as in a car accident.
If the spool gets locked, it can’t retract the webbing, and the seat belt won’t protect you in a crash. This is why it’s essential to check the webbing for signs of damage – like fraying or stretched webbing.
While seat belts are considered single-use safety devices, they do need to be repaired after a car accident. Seat belts should be replaced at least every 10 to 15 years to ensure they work correctly. If you’re considering buying a used car, always get a seat belt inspection and replacement before taking it home. It could save your life. Even if the seat belts have never been in an accident, they’ll likely need to be repaired or replaced due to aging and normal wear and tear.
The Webbing Is Damaged
The webbing that your seat belts are made of is solid, but it’s not impervious. Like any other car component, your seat belts need to be inspected and maintained.
If you notice that the webbing has lost its luster or is faded, it may be a sign that the seat belts have been exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays and have lost their tensile strength. Webbing that is fading or bleached out can significantly reduce its effectiveness in the event of a collision or other accident.
Weakened webbing can also indicate that your seat belts have been exposed to high levels of force in an accident. Injuries from these incidents can be severe and even life-threatening.
While many car components need routine inspection and care, few are as crucial to your safety as seat belts. Your seat belts have been shown to decrease motor vehicle accident fatalities dramatically, so keeping them functioning properly is essential. If you notice any of the above issues, get your seat belts repaired immediately. It could save your life someday. For more information about your seat belts, contact us today! Our experienced team will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with a free estimate.