Reader Question: Seatbelts Locking?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Don asks: Are seatbelts adjustable? The passenger seatbelt in my car locks when I stop a little hard, and it stays locked until you take it off. They are supposed to release once you stop or even just come off the brake. Do I need to replace that belt?

My reply:  Most modern cars have automatically tensioning (not locking) seatbelts that cinch tight when the brakes are applied beyond a certain predetermined threshold. This is part of the “safety” tech in most modern cars. It is meant to prevent someone from being hurled forward into the path of the airbag, specifically.

The degree of cinching-up varies from car to car. Some are much more assertive than others.

There’s no provision for adjustment that I’m aware of; however, the tension should lessen after the “braking event” is over. If not, then it’s probably sound to have the car checked out.

. . . 

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1 COMMENT

  1. I’ve had this happen as well in some cars. You might try pushing yourself back into the seat to release the tension on the belt. This will sometimes release the lock (pendulum?) and let the belt glide again.

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