Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Fixing seat belts that don't retract well

asked by on

How do you fix a seat belt that doesn't retract good enough?

A: Those things are just ratcheting devices. W...

Those things are just ratcheting devices. When you pull them up, there is no ratchet inside and it goes "click, click, click." Then, when you slam on the brakes, they’ve got a little swing with a little pendulum. When they lock like that, it locks the ratchet so that they don’t come on anymore.

Your retracting system is just wearing out. Sometimes it is from frayed belts. Look at the belt closely at its edges. If they are frayed, it’s going to be hard and it’ll retract badly because it’s old and worn out.

If it isn’t, you can actually take the whole thing off and take it apart. I’ve taken them apart. They’ve got springs and a ratchet assembly and sometimes the ratchet gears get rusty. You can lubricate them with a gear oil.

Sometimes the springs get worn, so you can just take them off and spin them around a little bit and then put them back tighter so that they are just a little bit tighter when you retract. You can try that. Of course, there are always junk yards. You can get a used assembly. The new seat belts cost 300-400 bucks or more. But, in the junk yard, they don’t cost that much for the used ones.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Rusted brake line - 1999 Mercury Sable

Hey there. 3/16 inch diameter brake line tubing is used on virtually all cars and trucks made in the world. The more important issue is what type of end fittings you have and type of flare (bubble, inverted, etc.). That...

Q: Replacing seat belts on a '95 Toyota Corolla

Anything that is bolt in there will work. I know for a fact that AutoZone sells universal ones if you don't mind having a belt that is not exactly like the ones in your car. It is just a lap...

Q: Rust on the hood and doors

Your hood condition is no coincidence, there is a well documented reason why the corrosion/bubbling is more concentrated to your hood. Ford knew about this happening back in 2000 when they started using Aluminum hoods to lower vehicle weight. When...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...