6 simple steps to get your broken seat belt buckle fixed

Updated Nov 30, 2022 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

There are useful tips and a step-by-step guide on how to fix a broken seat belt buckle and the tools you will need to finish the job.

When buying a new car, we don't usually check the car safety rating. Instead, we focus on the features, engine, technology and the look of the vehicle. More often, we choose a car based on how attractive it looks, how fast it can go, and how it screams luxurious.

But, our choices are not the only thing that is flawed. Some cars also have imperfections that will only be visible over time. One example is the seat belt buckles. They play a crucial part in our safety when inside the vehicle, but they tend to break easily. When seat belts buckle fail to function, it can expose the driver or passenger to accidents. It is the car owner’s responsibility to have them repaired as soon as possible.

seat belt buckles

The seat belt buckles play a crucial part in our safety

Fortunately, this job can be done by yourself in the comfort of your home, that is if you are willing to do it. You have to remember that every DIY car repairs require precision and skills which can be learned. Don’t worry! Philkotse.com will assist you. Here is a step-by-step guide for your reference.

Prepare the needed tools

Before you can proceed to the actual seat belt buckle repair, you first need to prepare a few necessary repair materials that will help you finish the job effectively.

  • A screwdriver set with several screw heads
  • A flat yet pointy tool or a butter knife (highly preferable) which can reach the inside of the buckle.

How to fix a seat belt buckle - Safety Restore

Important note: If you’re having doubts if the seat belt buckles can still be repaired or not, then you can opt for a replacement instead. It’s better to be sure that to be held responsible for any injuries if ever an accident happened and you wrongly repaired the seat belts buckle.

>>> Read more: Essential tools needed in a car tool kit for DIY car maintenance.

Repairing the seat belt buckle

If you already have the needed tools, we can now start the fixing process.

Step 1. Examine the belt carefully

The first thing you need to do is to inspect the belt for any sign of damage. Check for any cuts or any object that such as dirt particles and gums stuck to it. If yes, you need to remove it first. Any objects or cuts in the belts can be another reason for its failure.

If there’s nothing wrong with the belts and it’s clean and smooth, you can now move on to the next seat belt part. It is the male part of your seatbelt, which is also referred to as the tongue. Similar to our tongues, the tongue of your seat belt needs cleaning as well. Check if everything is fine and then you can proceed to the next step.


The first thing you need to do is to inspect the belt for any sign of damage

Step 2. Inspect the buckle

When you look at the nature of the buckle construction, there is a high chance that something can get stuck inside it. Inspect if there’s any block or hindrance, and if it has, you need to remove it. You will need to use the knife we stated earlier. 

Place the knife’s pointy part inside the buckle and move it through the edges. If something is inside, take it out. Doing so will allow you to clean the buckle's inside, and your seatbelt might already function properly. But, if it is still broken, you can proceed to the next step.

seatbelt buckle

There is a high chance that something can get stuck inside it

>>> Check out: Complete guide to adjust car seat belts.

Step 3. Detach the buckle

If the steps above weren’t able to fix the problem with your seatbelt, then most probably, the problem is inside the buckle that is unreachable. If this is the case, you will need to detach the buckle. It is either fitted or screwed separately with the car seat.

You can use the screwdriver you prepared earlier for both cases. You have to know that it's quite tricky to remove the seat, but you can always watch YouTube videos to understand how. When you're done removing the seat, move on to the next step.

Detaching the buckle

You will need to detach the buckle

Step 4. Disassemble the buckle

For you to know the real problem with your seat belt buckle, you first have to examine the contents of the buckle. You will see that it has sockets that you need to disassemble by unscrewing it. But, some buckles don’t have sockets. If that’s the case,  it can easily be opened when you apply light pressure.

Disassembling the seat belt buckle will be pretty straightforward. But you need to remember that there are tiny springs inside the buckle that could pop out when you open it up.

How to disassemble a seatbelt buckle

>>> Also check: Wearing a seatbelt, to avoid fine or save a life?

Step 5. Inspect the system’s integrity inside

When you open the buckle, you will see a small system intact to catch and leave the tongue on your command. If the seat belt buckle is broken, it will obviously not function properly. This means you will need to check the way it works while it’s opened up.

The inside of the buckle is composed of three main parts, namely, the springs, a cam, and the red push button. If you push in the tongue, the cam should catch it and firmly hold it together. Once you push the red button, the cam should loosen with the aid of the springs and the tongue should go loose as well.

inside of the seatbelt buckle

Inspect if something is stuck inside, or if the cam is in the right position

Inspect if something is stuck inside, or if the cam is in the right position. You should also check if there are disintegrated springs. Clean the old components and replace any broken parts then check if the mechanism will now work correctly. At this point, it should already be working properly. However, if it is still malfunctioning, proceed to the final step.

>>> FYI: Seat belts safety: 5 things you need to know.

Step 6. Reassemble the buckle

After you finish all the work, reassemble the buckle carefully and put it back in place. You should also clean those small crevices between the seats. Lots of junk can get their way down there that can gradually sink into the seat belt buckle.

It is often the leading cause of seat belt buckle problems. However, if you weren't able to fix the problem, then the only option you have is to replace it with a new one.  Make sure the replacement is company manufactured, and the quality is tested.

Hanna Sanchez

Hanna Sanchez


Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.

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