Seatbelts significantly reduce the risk of injury during car crashes; indeed, most countries have laws requiring that all car passengers use them. As time goes by, however, seatbelt mechanisms wear down and become less functional, and older seatbelts can be less safe than newer ones. A seatbelt that does not retract entirely and fits snugly on your lap is not as effective at restraining your body during collisions.
You will notice this looseness when you put on your seatbelt: newer models will gently pull the belt across your lap, but older ones can barely retract and may fall off your lap when you take them out. Seatbelts that cannot retract fully are ineffective and should be replaced.
Today, we will go through what you need to know to fix a sagging seatbelt.
Here is your short guide:
Gather Your Materials
The part that retracts the seatbelt is known as the seatbelt retractor. Depending on the type of the seatbelt retractor, you will need to use a Phillips-type or a flat-head screwdriver to remove the seatbelt retractor cover. The cover is held in place by screws, clip, or both. The plastic that covers the retractor is plastic, so always be careful when working with it.
Clean the Seatbelt
Before you can fix a sagging seatbelt, you need to remove every surface contaminant that could affect the adhesion of the belt to the belt’s retractor. How much debris is on your seatbelt will determine whether you have to remove it entirely or just clean it. If there is just some dirt on your seatbelt, you can use a damp cloth or car wash soap to wipe the dirt off.
If your seatbelt is very dirty and has food or other contaminants on it, you need to remove the seatbelt entirely. If you are not planning on using it again, you should just throw it away due to the food mentioned above and grime.
Check to See if it's Still Sagging
The most common cause for a sagging seatbelt is that the belt has not been put back into place. To fix a sagging seatbelt, ensure that the belt is still in the correct position. Remove the seat belt latch on the car and make sure that the belt is inserted into the seat belt latch.
If everything is in its proper place, it is safe to assume that your seatbelt is sagging because of its lifespan. Most seat belts are considered outdated after six years of being installed. If your seatbelt is more than six years old, it may be time to buy a new one.
Get Professional Help
If your seatbelt is more than six years old, your best bet is to buy a new one. In the meantime, as you are driving, you should pay attention to your seatbelt to make sure it is in the right place. This can be a difficult task depending on the age of your seatbelt, so get a professional to check it out. Your local auto parts store can help you pick out a new seatbelt and show you how to install it.
The Bottom Line
You should replace your seatbelt if you have any doubts about its condition. If you can’t find your owner’s manual or it doesn’t show how to remove the seatbelt latch, you should take the car to a professional. It is worth the price that a professional will charge to inspect the seatbelt and ensure it is intact.
When a seatbelt is too worn out to be repaired, it is very unsafe. When you are driving, you should always be wearing a seatbelt. If your seatbelt isn't working correctly, pull over and find a safe place to stop if you aren't. When you get home or to your destination, have the seatbelt replaced.
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