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Q: Fixing seat belts that don't retract well

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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.

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