Surely all of us – vehicle owners know how important the seat belt is. Although some people tend to ignore it, this part will be really useful when it comes to protecting you from injury in collisions.
Whether you can use it or not, always double-check each time you get in the car and make sure it can still work properly.
But unfortunately, it got stuck. What to do? How to fix a locked seatbelt? We’ll reveal it to you!
How Does Seatbelt Work?
Before learning how to fix a seat belt that is locked, you need to know a little bit about it and how it works to facilitate the repair process.
Its components include:
- Retractor mechanism
- Locking mechanism
Seatbelts are trickier than they appear to be. This part can be pulled out and back in by connecting the webbing to a retractor mechanism.
Usually, a spring inside the retractor mechanism causes the spool at the end of the webbing to spin. The spring causes the spool to spin to accomplish this.
This procedure allows you to quickly and conveniently draw your seatbelt across your body to fasten it.
A locking mechanism inside the spool prevents the webbing from stretching out and the spool from turning.
When a car decelerates quickly during an accident, the locking mechanism locks the spool, keeping the seat belt webbing in place.
Now, let’s see how to unlock a seat belt retractor.
What Causes A Seat Belt To Stuck?
To know how to fix a seatbelt that is stuck, we should know the cause of this one. In general, five common reasons lead to this situation.
As we all know, this part will promote their full function in car accidents to protect the safety of car occupants.
Therefore, the construction, the rope will automatically lock when a sudden change in speed occurs.
When we don’t use them, many often don’t care too much about whether they work properly.
It’s advisable to have regular checks, especially after a crash or when driving at high speed, on the highway, for example.
Lean Forward Quickly Or Sudden Brake
Both abrupt braking and leaning forward have the same effect on our bodies—a sudden surge forward. This triggers its safety feature, locking it to lessen your impact.
Does this sound a little annoying? Not really, considering how this technology functions and guards the user.
Dirt Or Debris
How long has it been since the last time you wiped down your seatbelt? You might be surprised to learn that it also requires cleaning.
It is usually overlooked and ignored. Dirt or debris really stuck inside for a long time will increase friction, making its locking and unlocking take much more time.
At a certain time, when the dust layer gets thicker and thicker, it will cause the latch to get stuck.
This situation is similar to when your hood latch doesn’t close as dirt build-up leads to corrosion or when the power window doesn’t work on the driver side since debris clog all the rails.
When you install it incorrectly, it will have a self-locking mechanism. Because when it shrinks too much, it will get stuck, so people also call this “reverse lock”.
Your belts can be jamming due to poor or malfunctioning retractor mechanisms. You have three options in such a case: buy a brand-new seat belt, get a used one, or turn your present one back to factory standards.
Now, it’s time to learn how to fix a stuck seatbelt!
How To Fix A Locked Seatbelt?
How to fix jammed seat belt retractor? How to fix a locked seat belt? The best course of action depends on your car’s seat belt situation. We must typically disassemble to clean, adjust, or replace.
People will divide it into three ones:
- On auto-lock Seatbelt
- Tangle seatbelt
- Stuck mechanism
1. On Auto-lock Seatbelt
How to fix stuck seat belt due to the auto-lock mechanism?
The issue with auto-locks is straightforward, and it has an effortless fix. This part only needs to be released from this position because its auto-lock feature can occasionally cause them to become trapped.
First, check if the seat belt is unbuckled and free to move. Once you’re holding more of the belt, slightly pull it. Let it retract back into the retractor rather than securing it.
Take note of the belt’s size and the way it hangs. Your issue is resolved if it quickly returns to its original location.
You can have a more serious issue when you see that it can not retract completely and is hanging loosely.
2. Tangled Seatbelt
Approach The Whole Component
Obviously, a tangled situation may be a bit more complicated. Approaching the whole component is the first step to learning how to release a locked seat belt.
First, make sure you stretch it to the full length for the most complete and specific view. After that, remove the plastic covers.
You can use any tool at home like a screwdriver, flat-head pliers, or any other tool with a sharp tip. The tool needs to be slid under the plastic cover and popped upward.
You should check the mechanism in the trunk if the issue is with a belt on the backseat.
To begin with, lower the chairs, so they are out of the way. Next, search for the seat belt system under the trunk’s floor.
Take The Entire Part Out
Pull the problematic seat belt out after you’ve gained access to it. To stop the belt from retracting, secure it at the top with a clamp or a sizable hair clip.
You can now carefully inspect its whole length.
To locate any knotted places, run it through your fingers. If you detect any little things on the fabric, remove them.
As mentioned above, getting stuck in the dirt also causes the seatbelts to get stuck. Besides cleaning the car, this part also needs attention.
It is possible that dirt is not the main cause of this entrapment. However, when you have removed this part, take advantage of it to clean it to avoid causing a blockage in the future.
Put the belt in a pail of warm water with some laundry detergent dissolved and let it soak for a while, from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.
The belt should then be transferred from the bucket to the towel, which has been placed on the seat.
If possible, you can apply more internal cleaning methods or use the dedicated detergents for it. You need to pat dry the belt with the towel and then let it air dry completely.
That’s all for how to release a seatbelt that is locked due to the tangled ones. Check it again and again until it works properly and smoothly.
3. Stuck Mechanism
Clear The Side Panel
To fix the seat belt mechanism stuck, you need to make room to access its mechanism because it is located beneath the side panel.
There should be two side clips keeping it down in most automobiles.
These can be found along the car’s bottom border. One is to the right of the B (center) pillar, and the other is to the left.
These clips can be raised by pushing a flat-headed screwdriver or pair of pliers underneath and then lifting them.
Find the little, locked compartment with the button that opens the trunk on the floor of your automobile, close to the center pillar.
Pull The Sid Panel Out
Sit in the car’s back seat. Use a flat screwdriver to separate the side panel (the interior B-pillar of your car) if it appears to be tightly fastened to the vehicle.
Alternatively, you can use your hands to pull it away. Since no screws are holding the side panel to the car at this time, you shouldn’t be experiencing any problems.
Bring Out The Mechanism
Bolts are used to fasten the retractor mechanism firmly. To unscrew them, you need keys of the right size. These typically come in 10mm and 14mm sizes.
Make sure to remove the clasp that holds the mechanism together as well. You can do this using your fingertips.
Now you can see a plastic cover; flip the item over. It is firmly fastened down with some tiny pins. You need to remove them, and any technique will do.
On the other side of the mechanism, there should be a small box with tiny clips. Use a flat object to loosen them.
Open And Remove The Plastic Pieces
There are two additional, smaller plastic components underneath the large cover. It would be better to take them out because they are lying on the equipment.
There should also be a spring on top of the second component. Eliminate that as well.
Deal With The Gear Wheel
Then use your fingers to turn the gear wheel in a clockwise direction. This action will clear the jam.
By tugging the belt, see whether you can easily rotate the gear. If everything is in working order, it’s time you need to reassemble the mechanism.
Reassemble And Test The Mechanism
The spring and smaller plastic components should be reattached. Then put the large plastic lid on top of them. Put the pins back inside the little box after securing it with the clips.
Back on the pillar, secure the bolts above and below the seat belt mechanism. Reattach the tiny device with a clip. After that, replace each panel where you originally removed it.
Is It Possible To Replace The Seat Belt Buckle?
Yes. The parts that make up the seatbelt are usually separate and interchangeable.
You should purchase a replacement buckle from the dealer or manufacturer. Before using that seatbelt again, ensure the new buckle is installed correctly and functions as it should.
How Long Will It Take To Replace A Seatbelt?
Replacing a complete seatbelt should require no more than 30 to 60 minutes.
The mechanics’ ability and speed determine whether this time is faster or slower.
How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Seatbelt?
This will call for about $200 plus labor cost if the pre-tensioner is damaged.
It can require up to $250 to replace a seatbelt. Depending on the damage, repairing a seatbelt might get more expensive.
It’s advisable to contact the mechanics or service center directly to know the exact price for your situation.
Above is all the necessary information you should get to learn how to fix a locked seatbelt. Obviously, this task isn’t as hard as we thought; it can be solved in 30 to 60 minutes.
To fix it, follow suit with our instructions step by step.
If your seatbelt issue is more severe, you might need to replace it or seek the assistance of a qualified mechanic.