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Everybody knows the pain of finding a stuck or jammed seat belt buckle when checking their vehicle on their way to work.
You can find yourself in such a situation anywhere anytime. Statistics suggest that most car accidents on the road arise from a broken seat belt buckle.
This shows that the seat belt is an important part of your vehicle, and nobody should risk driving around without it. If you fear that your car could have a stuck or gummed seat belt buckle, it's high time you fix it.
This handy guide teaches you how to easily fix seat belt buckle in the most convenient way.
Before you get started, it's important to ensure you have the right tools and materials in place and within your reach. You'll need a set of screwdrivers and a butter knife, or anything flat and pointy.
Below is a step-by-step guide for seat belt buckle replacement:
Pull the entire seat belt and carefully examine it to see if you'll spot anything unusual with your belt. Check for cuts and check if there might be something stuck on the sides of the belt such as gum, grit, or anything sticky. If everything looks good, examine the male part of the buckle to find if something is stuck or broken.
If you find something stuck, remove the object and check if the belt will fit into the buckle. On the other hand, if the male part has been severely damaged, consider replacing the entire seat belt buckle with a new one. Otherwise, if everything is clear and you can’t find any issue, jump to the next step.
Sometimes, small items like a coin or a piece of stone may find their way into the slot where the male part of the belt usually enters. In consequence, that pathway can block and thus, the buckle can be difficult to fit into the belt. On this occasion, pick a butter knife or any sharp item, and start digging into the slot. Dig into the slot parts slowly and purposefully to clear any small objects within. After working the butter knife for some time, try to fit the belt into the buckle again. The belt should go through this time, but if this trick doesn’t work, jump to the next step.
Tip: Try patting your belt on the back to see if the small objects blocking its pathway will come falling right through.
After trying the above step and nothing seems to work, take the buckle off the side of the seat to thoroughly examine it. Find a screwdriver and start loosening the screws within. Often, the screws are located on the sides of the seat buckle, depending on the make and type of your vehicle.
Some vehicles have the screws fixed elsewhere, which might need the whole seat to be taken all out. No matter where the screws are located, make sure to get the buckle off and move on to the next step.
After you take off the buckle, you'll find a socket inside with a tiny space between the button and the buckle’s edges. How to take apart seat belt buckle is easy. Find a screwdriver and place it in that tiny space. Work the screwdriver slowly and purposely in that area until the entire buckle comes apart.
Some buckles might have a glued outer shell. In this case, simply use your screwdriver to pull the outer shell apart.
Tip: Make sure to be gentle because the buckle contains small springs inside, which may go flying away if you’re not careful.
After you dissemble the buckle, you should see the insides of the red push button and all its components. Press the red button and see how both the cam and springs behave. The cam's purpose is to keep the seat belt firmly hooked in its place, while the springs’ job is to push the cam so that the seat belt may easily reach its slot.
Next, carefully check the movement of the springs or if there's anything like a coin stuck in between the springs. Remove the materials if you find any, and check if the button found inside is working. If the button is working as usual, reassemble the buckle and test whether the seat belt will work this time. If the seat belt buckle still doesn't work, try this final trick below.
If the cam doesn't appear to move every time you press the red button or if the springs inside appear to be severely damaged, it means the buckle should be replaced with a new one. Another option you might try, although this is also not a guarantee, is to take the seat belt buckle to an experienced technician to see if there's anything that can be done to fix it. If the technician gives the buckle a try and somehow happens to fix it, you should consider yourself lucky because your problem has been finally solved!
More often than not, a seatbelt buckle will refuse to work if something gets stuck inside its parts. Therefore, you should carefully examine the entire seat belt to find what could be preventing the buckle from locking. But if there's nothing you can do due to the severe damage done to the springs and cam, simply purchase your vehicle a new buckle to solve the issue at hand.
Before you get your car on the road, it's important to first check that all its seat belt buckles are actually in good shape. You can get charged if caught by authorities, and the stiff fines brought against you can sting badly. Fortunately, there is a few tricks you can try to fix your seat belt problem all by yourself. Follow this handy guide to learn how to fix seat belt buckle in the most convenient way.
Simon graduated with a Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Degree. He has over 20 years of servicing experience in both Japanese and German car dealerships. He now acts as a freelance mechanic's instructor for local schools.