How To Fix A Seatbelt That Is Stuck? Very Easy Methods

How much do you value safety while driving? Do you ignore safety components in your car, such as the seat belt, the supplemental restraint system (SRS), etc.? You may be endangering yourself and your passengers when you ignore any of these components.

Driving with a stuck seat belt can be detrimental to you or any of your passengers in the long run, especially on an occasion of an unexpected collision.

Did you suddenly discover that your car’s seat belt is stuck and would not free up as usual? If this is the case, you don’t have to fret unnecessarily. The way out on how to fix a seatbelt that is stuck has been provided for you here.

How to fix a Seatbelt that is stuck

Since your car’s seat belts are vital components for your safety and the safety of your passengers, it is essential to pay attention to any slight defect they may be experiencing and fix them as soon as possible.

What does it take to fix a seat belt that is stuck? Follow these simple steps to fix your car’s seat belt if you discover that any of them got stuck.

seat belt sticking when pulling out

Step 1: Pull and release from auto-lock

Firstly, you may have to pull the seat belt and release it to disengage it from auto-lock. You may have to find out how to release the seat belt auto-lock. If you find the seat belt buckled in, kindly unlatch it out of the cartridge and pull it carefully away from the seat to release the length some more.

After that, you can release it and allow it to go back gradually into the form behind the car’s seat. If it fails to go back in, as usual, it could be that the belt is either twisted, tangled, or jam inside the retractor mechanism.

Step 2: Pry off the seatbelt mechanism’s plastic covers

Here, you can pry off the seat belt mechanism’s plastic covers using needle-nose pliers or a screwdriver. This operation will help to expose the seat belt hardware and loop.

For the back seat, you would have to pull down the seats to enable you to expose the seat belt mechanism, located around the trunk area, typically beneath the floor layer of your car’s trunk.

After pulling the back seat down, lift the floor layer around the spare tire area to access the seat belt mechanism’s plastic covers.

Step 3: Pull out the seat belt completely.

After prying off the plastic covers of the seat belt mechanism, completely pull out the seat belt; if there are any tangles, twist in the seat belt or dirt, jammed objects in the bottom area of the seat belt mechanism, this complete pullout will reveal them.

Step 4: Straighten or untangle the seat belt

If you discover that the seat belt folded and stuck, straighten or untangle it. If you find dirt or objects jammed in the bottom of the mechanism, kindly clean up the dirt or remove the jammed objects with needle-nose pliers.

Step 5: Release the seat belt to roll back

Finally, allow the seat belt to roll back in place after performing all the necessary operations in the process of fixing the stuck seat belt. After that, endeavor to test the seat belt to ensure that it’s releasing and locking back in place properly.

If you are satisfied with this, proceed to fix the plastic covers back in place and lift the back seat to its position correctly.

seat belt locked up chevy


How do you release a locked seat belt retractor?

If you don’t know how to fix a seat belt retractor, here’s how you can do it. First of all, you need to pull out the webbing from the seat belt, and then you need to apply a yank in case you want to undo the locked seat belt. This is how you can release the seat belt retractor.

Supposing the first approach does not work perfectly, you can also use a screwdriver to manually spin the seat belt spool area to enable the seat belt to retract slowly back into the seat belt mechanism.

However, if any of the above approaches do not work, the fault may require professional service. Endeavor to contact an expert auto mechanic to rectify the problem.

Why is my seatbelt locked?

Do you find your car’s seat belt sticking when pulling out or completely locked without any movement, and you are wondering what could be wrong? Your car’s seat belt is locked because of either of two reasons.

Firstly, it could be that your car’s seat belt retractor is locked. You can either unlock the retractor by pulling out the webbing from the seat belt, then apply a solid pull to undo the locked belt, or use a screwdriver to spin the spool.

Secondly, grime or dirt may have accumulated on your car’s seat belt; as a result, the seat belt experiences slower retraction instead of the normal movement. You can fix this issue by carefully cleaning all dirt to free up the seat belt.

How do you fix a slow seat belt retractor?

One of the reasons your car’s seat belt is experiencing a slow retraction is that much dirt has accumulated on the seat belt. To fix this, you need to do proper cleaning of the seat belt component.

You may want to use soap water to clean out the dirt. To do this:

  • Get some hot water and apply a little detergent.
  • Put the seat belt inside the bucket of soap water for about 10 minutes.
  • Unroll the entire seat belt and hold it with a clip or a pair of grips.

After that, get a plastic remover tool and wrap the end with a wet rag. Then, slide the device into the seat belt crevice and clean as much dirt as possible out of it.

Now, you can get the seat belt out of the soap water and wipe it thoroughly with a rag to clean the grime or dirt on it, then rinse in clean water.

After cleaning the crevice and the seat belt thoroughly, you can hold the seat belt with a clip and spread it somewhere around the steering wheel with your car’s windows open to enable it to dry up.

You may want to allow it overnight so that your car doesn’t smell because of the wet seat belt. Then, you can release the seat belt into its pre-tensioner.

How does a seat belt locking mechanism work?

The seat belt locking mechanism is designed for the safety of the driver and the passengers in a car by sensing a collision to enable the seat belt to tighten up, thereby minimizing unnecessary movement during an accident. Besides knowing how this works, it is also essential to understand how to unlock a seat belt after an accident.

The system consists of the webbing, which is connected to a retractor mechanism, and a spool that is attached to one end of the webbing. The spool is the main element in this assembly.

There is a spring inside the retractor responsible for applying torque to enable the spool to rotate freely. It ensures that any webbing that is remaining winds up quickly.

There is also a locking mechanism in the spool responsible for stopping it from rotating. The vehicle’s movement usually triggers this function. It ensures that the car is locked when decelerating fast, especially in a case of collision. The retractor can also be triggered by a jerking motion on the car’s seat belt webbing.

Meanwhile, in some newer systems, a pre-tensioner ensures that the seat belt webbing tightens while working with the typical locking mechanism—the pre-tensioner acts during a collision to tighten any slack in the seat belt.

How much does it cost to fix a seat belt retractor?

A seat belt retractor’s pre-tensioner replacement cost is estimated to be around $150 – $200. The estimate includes $50 to $100 for parts, then $100 to $125 for labor cost. The cost of parts may vary, especially for dealers who include shipping costs.

The estimated cost for fixing a seat belt retractor may vary from one location or service provider to another. You can check out an auto mechanic near you to personally find out.

Final Words

The information above already provided a way out of your car’s seat belt keeps locking or gets stuck indefinitely. Endeavor to follow the step-by-step guide provided above on how to fix a seatbelt that is stuck. If you are a DIYer, it will be pretty easy for you to perform.

Also, ensure to always take proper care of every car component, such as avoiding anything that would tangle the seat belt or dirt that could jam inside the seat belt mechanism. However, if you experience a stuck seat belt problem, you can use the steps above or see an auto mechanic if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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