car seat

The 5 Steps to Take When Your Seat Belt Won’t Retract

The open road can be a dangerous place. Accidents occur every day. As a driver or passenger, your main line of defense is your seatbelt, so it pays to make sure the seat belt you’re using is functioning as intended.

Identifying the Parts of a Seat belt

If you’d like to ensure your seatbelt is functioning correctly, it helps to understand the parts and mechanisms involved. A seatbelt may look like a simple contraption, but it involves many components that need to work together to keep you safe in your vehicle.

Webbing – Otherwise known as the belt or strap, the webbing is what holds you in place in the event of a collision or sudden stop.

Latch Plate – The latch plate is the metallic component that the webbing is attached to. This part of the seatbelt locks into the buckle and holds the webbing across your body.

Buckle – The buckle is the component that locks the latch plate in place. Pressing the red button on the buckle releases the latch plate and the webbing along with it.

Pillar Loop – The pillar loop is the component over your shoulder that the webbing is also connected to. It is used to guide the webbing over the shoulder and across the passenger’s chest.

Retracting Mechanism – The retracting mechanism is the component to the lower side of your seat. This mechanism is where the webbing is pulled out of and pulled back into.

What to Do When a Seat Belt Doesn’t Retract

Now that you’re familiar with the different components that make a seat belt work, it’s time to get familiar with what to do when it’s not working as intended. Here are some steps you should take in the event of your seat belt not retracting.

Step 1: Free Up the Seat Belt

Unbuckle your seatbelt to allow the webbing to slack. Attempt to feed your seatbelt backward by about one to two inches of retraction if possible

Step 2: Fully Extend the Seat Belt

Do this slowly. Pull your seatbelt outward and away from you until it is fully extended, thereby clearing possible twists in the webbing. If you experience resistance while pulling, the twists in the webbing are the likely culprits.

Step 3: Look for Signs of Twisting

As you pull on your seat belt, watch the pillar loop and retracting mechanism closely to catch any twists in the webbing.

Step 4: Remove Covers

If following the steps above has not yet fixed the retraction problem, you can try removing the pillar trim that hides the seat belt’s components within it. Take a look at the retracting mechanism and watch for jams and twists.

Step 5: Clean Retracting Mechanism

Clean the area around the retracting mechanism to ensure that the component works properly. Now that twists and clutter are removed, your retractor should be working properly again. Pull on your seat belt one last time and watch your seat belt feed back into the mechanism.

Stay Safe on the Open Road

Knowing how to deal with a seat belt that won’t retract is crucial, especially in the case of an accident. If your seat belt doesn’t retract, it doesn’t necessarily mean the seat belt is broken. Several factors can cause failure to retract, so we recommend following the steps above to ensure that your seat belt is working correctly and keeping you safe as intended.

Ensure the safety of your passengers by paying attention to your vehicle’s seat belts. Follow the steps above for a safer drive. In case you need maintenance or seat belt replacements, visit Seat Belt Restore.

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