What To Do If Your Seat Belt Is Broken

The invention of the seatbelt revolutionised motoring safety to the extent where the idea of sitting in a car without your belt on feels uncomfortable and just plain wrong. Gone are the days where the rear seats were nothing more than a bench with cushions on. As a result, if your seatbelts are in a sub-optimal condition you’ll probably find repair works high on your priority list. But what do you do? How do you fix them, or can you fix them at all? Scrap Car Comparison guides you through all you need to know about your belts.

Of course a broken seat belt could just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to issues with your car, and if that’s the case then selling with Scrap Car Comparison might be the best course of action for you. We specialise in getting the very best price for broken cars, whether being sold as scrap or salvage, and can guarantee we’ll find a competitive quote for you within 60 seconds. Simply pick up the phone or use our online quote generator today to see just how much your old vehicle could be worth.

Can I drive my car if the seat belts are broken or don’t work? 

The law states that if your vehicle was manufactured with seat belts, then to travel without one fastened is a crime. There is only a handful of reasons that mean you are allowed to travel without your seatbelt connected:

  • A driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing
  • In a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services
  • A passenger in a trade vehicle and you’re investigating a fault
  • Driving a goods vehicle on deliveries that is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops
  • A licensed taxi driver who is ‘plying for hire’ or carrying passengers

Alternatively, you can choose not to wear a seat belt if you have a medical exemption from your doctor, which you will have to keep in your vehicle at all times and show to police if you are stopped at any time. This exemption will be a letter from your doctor entitled “Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing”. There is no exemption for pregnant women or disabled persons, unless specified by your doctor, in which the above will apply once more.

Is a damaged seat belt an MOT failure? 

Any damage to your seat belt, whether it’s to the mechanism, the buckle or the belt itself will cause your car to fail its MOT. Any form of damage to your seat belt will compromise its ability to keep you and others safe, which is why it is an instant fail when it comes to your annual inspection.

What causes seat belt failure? 

Some seat belts can fail after prolonged use and age, as with any sort of item – otherwise known as simple wear and tear. However, if you’re constantly putting the belts under intense pressure (for example regularly having the locking mechanism tested) then this will increase the likelihood of a failure. Repeated pressure against either the belt or the buckles with a sharp object could also cause a failure to occur, and you want to try and avoid anything that could cut or fray the belts, as this can speed up any wear and tear exponentially.

Can I replace my car seat belt myself? 

If your car’s belts are fitted with a pre-tensioner then you will not be able to replace the belts on your own and will need to go to a garage, much like fitting replacement airbags. However, if your car doesn’t have pre-tensioners, then you can replace seat belts yourself, but you’ll need to have a little technical knowhow before undertaking the task. If you are replacing any part of the system, it’s best to replace it in its entirety, and shouldn’t take much more than half an hour.

First you’ll need to disconnect the belt system from the seats in the car, which could involve lifting the seats to access all of the bolts and connection points. Once these are disconnected, remove the old system and insert the new retractor and seat belt unit, taking care to line up all of the holes left by the previous belt. Once all connected, check to make sure the retractor is working, and then, much in the same way as the retractor and belt, reconnect the buckle ensuring it lines up with the previous holes.

Before you attempt any journey with your new seat belts, make sure that you test them thoroughly first, and if you’re in any doubt as to their capabilities do not drive the car.

How much does it cost to replace a broken seat belt? 

The cost of a replacement seat belt will depend entirely on the type of belt you’re looking to repair, what type of car you’re driving and, simply, where you go to get it fixed. Some specialists may be able to offer you a repair for around the £60 mark, whereas the national average comes in at around £150. It’s best to shop around before you make any calls just to make sure you’re getting the best price, however, bear in mind that you cannot put a price on yours, or your passengers’, safety.

Get the best price with Scrap Car Comparison

If a broken seat belt is the least of your problems then it might be time to scrap the car in its entirety and find something newer, and therefore safer. By using Scrap Car Comparison you’re guaranteeing yourself the very best price for your car thanks to our nationwide network of collection agents spanning 99% of the country. With just your registration number and postcode we’ll find the very best price for your car or van, and before you know it your broken old set of wheels will be out of your hair and replaced with a tidy sum of money in your bank account.

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