Seat belts are an important safety feature in your car, but they can wear out over time. You may not notice the signs of a worn-out seat belt until it’s too late. The most common sign is that the seat belt will no longer retract when you pull on it. This means that the metal inside has been stretched and won’t hold its original shape anymore. Our seat belt replacement specialists have gathered 8 practical tips to help you keep your seatbelt in good shape.
1. Clean seat belts regularly to keep them in good shape
You need to make sure that your seat belt’s webbing is clean, just like how you would clean your clothes. Dirt and other debris can build up over time and cause the belt to fray or not move as freely as it used to. If there’s any harsh chemicals that come into contact with the seat belt, then you might want to remove them before cleaning too. Make sure to check for loose stitches or frayed parts of the seat belt too.
Now, while cleaning your seat belts, avoid using any harsh detergents as it could damage the seat belt’s webbing over time. The best way is to use regular soap and water if possible, but you can also use an anti-bacterial cleaner for added effect. Remember to not put the seat belt under too much pressure when cleaning it because this increases wear on its fibers.
2. Keep an eye on the webbing of seat belts
You must make a point of cleaning the webbing and make sure it remains in good shape. A torn seat belt will not be able to provide you with safety in an accident. The best sign is when you try to pull on your seatbelt but it doesn’t retract as far as it used to. Another way of checking your seatbelt is if there are any worn or frayed areas – they can be felt as a hard or bumpy texture. In order for your seat belt to quickly tighten around you in the event of sudden breaking or collision, you want the webbing to remain super flat.
3. Keep the buckle area clean at all times
This is another common area for debris to build up on. If the buckle gets dirty, then it can wear out your seat belt quicker than you realize. Simply clean the buckle with a dry cloth; never use any harsh chemicals though. Also, never use water to clean the buckle, even if you think it’s dried up. Don’t spray any types of cleaners directly on the buckle either. The best and quickest way to clean would be to use a proper vacuum to clean out any loose dirt. It’s essential that you remove all the dirt and keep the buckle clean so when you put on the seat belt it catches on in the right way.
4. Clean up the tongue area
The tongue area of your seat belt is probably the most overlooked place in the car, but it’s also one of the most important. You need to make sure that this part remains clean and clear at all times. After all, it’s the part where the belt and the buckle meet. Do not use any harsh chemicals here either. You need to make sure that it fits into the buckle and locks the belt in place when you pull it. Test out its strength and if it is not retracting smoothly or locking in place, then you will know it is time for a replacement. You also want to make sure that it lets you unbuckle easily. It’s important that you check this area frequently to catch any problems early.
5. Keep a close eye on the anchorage
This is the part of the car that holds the seat belt in place. You need to keep an eye on it as well as your buckle and tongue for any signs of damage. As the anchorage is attached close to the floor, you may want to bring a flashlight to test it properly. Once you have located it simply look for any type of damage that could potentially lead to malfunctioning of the seat belt. Knowing a little bit about your anchorage can go a long way in keeping you safe on the road.
6. Replace your seat belt if there is visible damage to it
If you see visible wear and tear in your seat belt, then it’s probably time to replace it with a new one. You cannot just brush this aside, or else you are putting yourself at risk of injury in the event of an accident. A torn seat belt won’t be able to absorb the impact of a crash properly and this could lead to serious injuries especially to your neck or spine. Do not let anything stand in between you and safety. Make sure that you replace your seat belt if it is old and worn out.
7. Your seat belt should never restrict movement or breathing
If you find that you can’t sit comfortably with your seatbelt on, then you need to take steps to figure out what the problem is. The solution may be as simple as making sure it’s adjusted correctly. Another possibility is that you are wearing it too tightly. Make sure your seat belt is fitting correctly so it doesn’t dig into your neck or chest, but rather provides support to these areas of your body. You also want the seat belt to provide quick access so you don’t have to struggle to get out of your seat if an emergency situation arises.
8. Make sure the seat belt gets a good test drive
This goes hand-in-hand with checking out the anchorage point. You need to make sure that both the belt and anchorage are not only in good shape, but also provide a stable connection with one another. Take it for a few spins and make sure you can move around comfortably and the seat belt is easy to pull out and close. You can even pull against the belt to see how strong it is.
The faster you get it replaced, the better. Whether it’s your seat belt or anchorage point that has issues, you need to get them checked out and replaced if necessary. Ignoring these problems can lead to serious injuries in the event of an accident.
Replace all your seat belt components at once
It’s not a good idea to replace one thing at a time when it comes to your seat belt. For example, say you just replaced the tongue and now it’s time to replace the buckle. If you do this, then you can’t be sure if the new buckle is going to match up exactly with the old tongue and you don’t really know if the connection is going to be strong enough.
You are better off replacing the entire seat belt at once. That way you will just need to replace it again when the time comes, instead of having to deal with problems along the way. Make sure to read our guide to seat belt installation.
Seat belts are often overlooked as a safety precaution, but they’re one of the most essential parts to your car. You want to make sure that you replace them if they show signs of wear and tear or damage; otherwise, it could put yourself at risk of injury during an accident. As with any automotive part, seat belts need regular checkups so you can ensure their functionality is in tip-top shape.