Most municipalities require you to wear a seatbelt when you are driving or riding in a car. Seat belts are a major safety component of any vehicle. Seat belts saved approximately 14,955 lives in 2017, so when you can’t get yours to work, it is a major problem.
A seat belt has two basic parts, the retractor and the buckle. The retractor enables the belt to be pulled out and retracted back in.
Before you go to a mechanic, you inspect your car to find out what caused the jammed seat-belt. There are a few things you may want to try to fix it yourself.
Causes of a Stuck Seatbelt
There are several conditions that can cause a stuck seat belt. Either there a grimy buildup on the seatbelts fabric or the retractor is stuck.
You can prevent a seat belt from getting stuck in the first place by placing a clip right where the retractor feeds out the webbing. If it is already stuck, there are a few ways to get it loose.
How to Loosen a Seatbelt That is Stuck
A seatbelt will get stuck when the retractor cannot pull in enough web to unlock itself. This can be caused by faulty installation.
To get a seat belt unstuck, pull the webbing all the way out. Then let it slowly recoil back into the retractor. This should eliminate the reverse lock.
If the seat belt doesn't go back into place, it could indicate that there is a jam in the internal mechanism or the belt may just be knotted or twisted.
Pull out one or two feet of the webbing and clip it off with a binder clip.
There should be a couple of plastic covers that hold the seatbelt onto the car and you will want to remove them. In some cases, these plastic covers may pop right off and in other cases, you may need a screwdriver to remove them.
Pull the webbing all the way out so you can see if there are any tangles. You will also be able to see the location of the jam.
If there are tangles in the seatbelt, untangle them. Inspect the retractor for any foreign objects that may be obstructing it. If you are unable to get the obstruction out with your hands you can always use your pliers.
Allow the seatbelt to roll back into place and test it to make sure that it is working properly several times.
How to Clean Dirt and Grime Off Your Seatbelt
Retract the seatbelt until it does not have any slack.
Take a clamp and attach it to the spot where the retractor feeds out the webbing.
Saturate the belt with cleaner. A fabric cleaner such as Woolite is best, but you can also use hot water and detergent. Soak as much of it as you can and brush it as well. Remember to give it plenty of time to dry.
If this does not work, you are going to need to buy a new seat belt. You can save some money by installing the belt yourself.
How to Install a New Seat Belt
Putting in a new seat belt assembly in your car is easier than replacing individual parts. It is even easier than fixing a jammed or dirty retractor. Replacing a seat belt should not take very long at all.
Look in your car and find the bolts that harness both ends of the seat belt in place. Take off the plastic covers that hold the seat belt onto the car. In some cases, there may not be a plastic cover securing the retractor in place. You will be able to see the bolts plainly in this case.
The bolts may be connected to the side of the seat, the side panel, or even the floor. Some cars have three-point seat belts, which you will have to unbolt. If you just have a lap belt, you can just unbolt the belt and buckle.
Unbolt the old seat belt completely. There are bolts on the retractor side as well as the side with the buckle.
Align the new retractor up with the holes into which you will be inserting the bolts. You should have anywhere from one to three bolts.
Put the new retractor into place with the bolts. Use your wrench to tighten them. If you have a shoulder and lap belt, connect each piece and bolt them into place.
Line the new buckle up to the holes into which you will be inserting the bolts. Some cars may have only one bolt, but they may have as many as three.
Bolt your buckle into place, use your wrench to tighten it.
Pulling the belt from the retractor and let it retract back into place to test it. Put the tongue of the seat belt into the buckle and give it a yank to confirm that the belt stays locked into the buckle.
History of the Seatbelt
The seat belt was invented by George Cayley, who was an English engineer. He thought up these belts to keep pilots inside their gliders.
It was American Edward J. Claghorn, who patented the belts. He thought tourists visiting NYC needed them when they rode in the city’s cabs.
Although they were invented in the 1800s doctors did not understand how important they were until the 1930s and they began telling auto manufacturers to put them in cars. Racecar drivers started using them to help fight internal injuries.
In 1958 Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin thought up the three-point seatbelt. Before he came along, seat belts were two-point lap belts. They strapped across the body, with the buckle over the abdomen.
It has been mandatory to have a seat belt in your car ever since 1966.
Seat Belt Facts
Seat Belts Keep You From Hitting the Road
if you don't wear a seatbelt in a crash, you are 30 times more likely to be ejected from your vehicle.
More people Use Seat Belts Today
Only 11% of riders and passengers used seatbelts in 1981. 89.7% of people used them as of 2017.
Wearing a Seatbelt is Cost-Effective
If you don’t wear a seat belt, you can get a ticket. In the state of Ohio, it cost $30 if you are caught without your belt. In North Carolina, you can get a fine as high as $179. In Texas, you will pay $200 if you are over 17-years of age if you ride or drive a vehicle without your belt.
Not Wearing a Seat Belt is Unsafe at Any Speed
Even when a car is traveling at a slow speed it is still a much faster speed than the one at which you would walk or run. A car 25 miles an hour can do major damage to its occupants if it crashes.
You may not always have the time or resources to fix or replace your own seat belt. If this is the case, you will have several options for how to get the work done.
Taking Your Car To The Dealership
Going to a dealership mechanic is probably going to cost you much more than it would cost you to go to a regular auto body shop. However, there may be some circumstances where your seatbelt is under warranty, and you will have to take it to a dealership mechanic to get it fixed.
A dealership mechanic will charge you by the job and not by the hour so you will not be surprised by the bill. If they are going to have to keep the car, they can rent you a car at the dealership that same day.
Taking Your Car to an Autobody Shop
Autobody shops are the most popular way for Americans to get their cars fixed. you can talk directly to a mechanic and they won't charge you anywhere near as much as a dealership mechanic will.
Finding a trustworthy Auto Body Shop can be the challenging part. Although a shop may have a nationally-recognized name, it may very well be a franchise. AAA maintains a national list of approved auto mechanics.
When you find a mechanic be sure to get a written estimate and ask for a reference or two. If you are merely having a seatbelt repair or replacement an auto body shop worker can probably do the job just as well as the dealership mechanic can.
You would probably never consider selling your car just because the seat belts we're jammed. Even if you have to replace them it only costs about $150 to $200 to get them replaced. However, your car may be so old when the seatbelts give out, that it will be time for a new vehicle.
Sell Your Car Online
Selling a car online is an increasingly popular option. There are many websites that will enable you to advertise your vehicle for a monthly rate. They may give you a deal if you buy several months of advertising. There is a good chance that you'll have to list your car for several months before finding a buyer.
You will be able to list your vehicle specs along with several pictures of it. You will be in competition with many other people if you sell your car this way.
When you do get a prospective buyer, you will have to take time out of your day to meet them and show the car to them. They may end up not buying the car at all.
Selling your car online can be dangerous. Criminals often use online Billboards to find their next victim. If you do sell your car this way it is in your best interest to meet the person in a public place. If you want to meet them in a public place they may end up not trusting you.
Use Your Car as Trade-In
When you go to buy a new car, the salesperson is likely to offer you a trade-in allowance for your old vehicle. They may not give you much money for a trade-in. If your car is older it will be of little value to them.
They may also offer you what seems like a fair price for your old car. If they do this, read each line of the final bill. They may tack the trade-in allowance right back onto the final price of your new automobile.
You should not tell them about your old car when you go in to look for a new vehicle. You can tell them about your trade-in after they have given you your final price in writing. That way, they will have to give you an honest price.
Sell Your Car to Us
Cash Cars Buyers is a great place to sell your used vehicle. We pay top dollar for used cars.
All you have to do is fill out our simple form. We will ask you for your name, telephone number, and email address. We will also need to know the make, model, year, mileage, and VIN number of the automobile.
We will call you back with an offer as soon as we get your form. If you accept our offer, we will make an appointment with you to come to get the vehicle. We will pay you in cash and tow it away for free. Nothing could be easier.