Seatbelt 101

Seat Belt Measuring Guide

Click here to learn how to measure for your new seat belts.

Webbing Path

The webbing path of your seat belt is very important. A proper webbing path will help ensure a long life for your seat belt as well as proper fit. Ensure that the seat belt webbing is not being routed around anything that is sharp or that could cut the webbing over time. Even a very small but rough edge can abrade webbing over time and lessen its capability of holding strong during an accident. As webbing is coming out of a retractor (the device that rolls up the webbing) make sure the webbing comes out straight and not at an angle. When it comes out at an angle it will rub on the retractor frame and abrade prematurely.

Twisted Webbing

Twisted webbing can make it difficult to wear the seat belt and also make it uncomfortable if a section of twisted webbing is resting on the occupant. Ensure that all webbing lies flat when the seat belt is connected together around an occupant. This is very critical when working with 3-pt retractable seat belts to ensure that the seat belt retracts well.

Seat Belt Mounting Locations

When installing your replacement seat belt it is always best to reuse the original factory mounting locations. These locations were engineered by the vehicle’s manufacturer to withstand crash forces. If your vehicle’s mounting points are unfit for use or if your vehicle did not come with seat belt mounting locations you will need to retro fit your vehicle by using our hardware kits (Hdw Kits #1-6). These kits have the required reinforcement plate, or our Seat Belt Mounting Bracket. All of our retrofit mounting kits exceed the federal requirements and are continuously tested to make sure they can withstand required loads. Instructions on how to install new mounting points can be downloaded along with guidelines on where to place mounting locations. The choice of a suitable mounting point is a critical part of your installation. The best seat belt in the world can be rendered useless if it is not mounted appropriately.

Hardware (bolts) – Reuse? Obtain New Ones from the Dealer or Aftermarket Ones?

When installing your replacement seat belt is always best to reuse the original factory hardware since it was designed for your vehicle. If the original hardware is not reusable then it is best to obtain replacement hardware from the dealership. If that is not an option then aftermarket hardware is your best bet. When looking for aftermarket hardware you will need to match the length and thread type of your original hardware. Next, you need to buy your hardware with a minimum rating of Grade 5. Of course, there is a MAJOR exception even to this. If you have two seat belts going to a single attachment point in the vehicle (this is not recommended unless your vehicle came this way from the factory), you must use hardware of a minimum Grade 8. All of our hardware kits have grade 5 hardware intended to install one side of a seat belt to one mounting location.

Why replacing your own seat belt webbing is a bad idea.

The flexible seat belt material, called webbing, is what holds your body in place during an accident. It is critical to ensure safety that the webbing is properly connected, sewn, and laced into a seat belt system to ensure the webbing does not come unstitched or doesn’t hold when under load. DO NOT attempt to sew or assemble seat belts unless you are a qualified manufacturer. Manufacturing seat belts requires very specialized assembly skills, thread type, sewing machines and knowledge of federal standards. If you do not possess all the equipment, skills and training necessary to manufacture a seat belt, please do not attempt to: repair, re-web, restore, upgrade, alter or build one yourself.

My short seat belt part (buckle) is broken. Why can’t I buy half of a seat belt?

Most seat belts that are in passenger cars have two sections: the tongue (male) side and the buckle (female) side. The buckle side can be identified as the short part of the seat belt that mounts next to the seat shown as Item 1 in our 3-pt Seat Belt Selection Guide. All seat belts must comply with the federal DOT standards (FMVSS:209) which mean the tongue and buckle when clicked together must meet specific requirements. This means there is only one buckle that is certified to go with the tongue on your seat belt and our buckle is not built for your vehicle. This is why we can only sell a complete seat belt that includes both the tongue and buckle. Some buckles can be repaired or your seat belt can be rebuilt with a new set of buckle and tongue. See our Repair page for more information.