Reader Question: Seatbelts Locking?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

. . . 

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos. 

We depend on you to keep the wheels turning! 

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)

My eBook about car buying (new and used) is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here.  If that fails, email me at and I will send you a copy directly!


  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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here