Your car's seat belts are probably some of the most overlooked parts during a routine inspection. It's a bit ironic since they're also the most used accessories inside the car. Every time you step inside your vehicle, it's almost second nature to slide under the seat belt and buckle yourself in place. After all, without this safety accessory, your chances of getting injured in case of an accident increases. So to keep it in top condition, check out these signs of a busted safety belt:
Extremely frayed straps
The parts of a seat belt strap that easily wear out after years of use are those that come in contact with the seat or vehicle. These include the shoulder loop and the latch or buckle area. If these parts of the strap are fraying or are filled with cuts or holes, you need to replace the seat belts. Most probably, the entire safety belt system won't hold out against a collision if these parts are busted.
The buckle is the mechanism that locks the seat belt in place. If this component is cracked, rusty, or loose, it won't hold the straps in place, making the entire safety belt system practically useless. After all, how is the belt supposed to prevent you from being thrown out of the vehicle in case of a major accident if it isn't locked in place? So if the buckle is broken, get a replacement buckle or belt system as soon as possible.
Heavily corroded bolts
In order for seat belts to function properly, the screws or bolts that attach them into the mechanism should be free from corrosion or any sign of serious damage. If you see rusty bolts, get your hands on replacement hardware right away. Or better yet, replace the entire belt mechanism since severely corroded bolts usually mean that the belts have had their fair share of wear and tear.
You just had a car crash
Seat belts are designed with an energy-absorbing loop that gets activated once you get into a major car crash. Unfortunately, once this loop is activated, it can no longer be used again. So basically, seat belt systems can only handle one major accident. Keep in mind too that the nylon or polyester straps' elasticity will also decrease after a major crash. That's why after a major accident, you need to replace the safety belts right away to provide protection for you and your passengers.
So there you have it. After years of use, these signs of damage will eventually show up and prompt you to get a replacement seat belt system. Now once you've got a replacement, be sure to follow these tips to keep your safety belts in top condition. One, whenever you clean the car, check the belts and straps for signs of wear and tear; this way, you won't compromise the performance of the entire belt system because you forgot to replace a busted screw or a worn-out strap. And two, to avoid corroding the hardware, make sure you use a gentle cleaner that's tough on dirt but gentle on the hardware materials.