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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.