How To Fix a Seatbelt That Is Stuck: A Complete Guide

You should know how to fix a seatbelt that is stuck to help you escape when your seatbelt refuses to retract. This skill is easy to implement and may help you save money on enlisting a professional mechanic’s help.

Fix a Seatbelt That is Stuck

In this article, we’ll walk you through practical steps you can implement to repair your stuck seat belts, as well as answer some questions regarding this issue.

What Are the Simple Steps for Fixing a Stuck Seatbelt?

The simple steps to fixing a stuck seatbelt depend on the reason the seatbelt refuses to retract in the first place. If an object (coin) is stuck in the seat belt buckle, then fully press the button to release the seat belt. This should release the belt from the buckle.

However, if you have a common reel lock, then you’ll require a bit more time and skill to unlock the seat belt buckle.

1. Allow the Seat Belt into the Retractor

The primary thing to do if you experience a common reel lock is to gradually allow the seat belt into the retractor and let it go in about half an inch. Don’t try to force it as that might worsen the situation.

2. Pull Out the Seat Belt

With the seat belt rolled back in about half an inch, slowly pull the seat belt out. The idea is to override the locking mechanism of the spool. This should fix your seat belt and set you free, that is if you were stuck in your car seat at the time. However, if this doesn’t work, then you’ll have to reset the seat belt.

How To Reset a Seat Belt That Is Stuck?

To reset a seat belt that is stuck, take out the seat belt retractor covers and pull the seat belt webbing until its end. If the webbing is dirty, then you’ll have to clean it and then allow the seat belt to retract slowly.

Reset a Seat Belt That Is Stuck

The following steps will detail how to do this.

1. Remove the Covers Around the Seatbelt Retractor

You’ll need to remove the retractor covers so that you can get access to the retractor itself. Any pry tool such as a screwdriver can do this job but be careful you don’t break the covers. If you’re working on the seatbelt at the rear seat, then you may have to remove the seats before removing the retractor covers.

2. Pull the Seatbelt Webbing

Once you can see the retractor, start to gradually pull the seatbelt webbing until it reaches its end (or until you can’t pull it anymore). When the webbing is at its end, give it a sharp tug to undo the lock.

If you find any knots, tangles, or debris on or at the base of the webbing, ensure they are untangled and cleaned (they could be the reason the seatbelt was stuck). If the webbing is dirty or sticky, then clean it either with upholstery cleaning materials or soap and water.

3. Allow the Seatbelt To Retract Slowly

After cleaning the webbing, leave it to dry completely, otherwise a wet webbing could hamper the function of the seatbelt. After you’ve inspected the webbing and are convinced there are no knots or debris, allow the seatbelt to retract gradually until it stops.

4. Replace the Seatbelt Retractor Covers

Now, replace the seatbelt retractor covers and then try locking and unlocking the seatbelt to see if it works smoothly. If the seatbelt comes out unstuck, then your work is done.

Replace the Seatbelt Retractor Covers

However, if it is still jammed, then you can try removing the car seat belt and manually spinning the spool.

How Can You Replace a Seatbelt That Is Stuck?

To replace a seatbelt that is stuck, unscrew the bolts that hold the seatbelt in place and disconnect the wiring. The seatbelt can then be cleaned and manually reset to fix the problem. Replacing a stuck seatbelt is relatively straightforward and can be done in a few minutes.

1. Remove the Seatbelt Bolts

Several bolts are responsible for attaching the device to the car, thus you’ll have to remove the bolts first if you want to take out the belt. The bolts are located along the side of the car from where the seatbelt webbing emanates and they can be removed with a wrench.
However, be sure to identify which bolt you removed from where because they come in different shapes and sizes.

2. Pull Out the Seat Belt

Once the bolts are off, you can slowly remove the seat belts by gradually pulling them until they are completely out. If the seat belt mechanism has wires that connect it to the car’s electrical system, then disconnect those wires too. Ensure that you don’t damage them or else the seatbelt might not function properly.

3. Replace the Old Seat Belt

Put the new seatbelt in a similar position to where the old seatbelt was and connect the wires that you disconnected. Next, replace the bolts that you unscrewed exactly where each bolt was before you removed them. Failure to do this may hamper the work of the seatbelt.

How To Fix a Slow Seatbelt Retractor To Prevent It From Being Stuck?

To fix a slow seatbelt retractor to prevent it from being stuck, clean the area with water and detergent to get rid of dirt or debris that might have accumulated there.

Slow Seatbelt Retractor To Prevent Stuck

The filth in and around the seatbelt and its retractor could be the reason why it is functioning slowly.

1. Remove the Seatbelt

The seat belt mechanism needs thorough cleaning, which would be difficult if it is not removed. Therefore, take out the seatbelt just as explained in the steps above. Remember to note where you took out the bolts so that you can replace them when you’re fixing the seat belt.

2. Soak the Seatbelt With Water and Soap

Pour a small amount of detergent into hot water and put the seatbelt inside the soapy solution for 10 minutes. This should be enough time for the soap solution to dissolve all the dirt and grime around the seat belt.

3. Clean the Seatbelt Crevice

Meanwhile, grab a plastic removal tool and wrap a wet towel around its end. Use this to clean the seatbelt crevice and try to get out as much dirt as you can.

Cleaning the Seatbelt of a Car

4. Wipe the Seatbelt Clean

Take out the seatbelt from the soapy water, stretch it out and wipe it with a clean dry towel to get rid of the remaining dirt on it. Then put it into warm water (this time with no soap) and rinse it to remove the soapiness. Next is to dry the seatbelt in the sun but away from places where dust and debris would settle on it again.

5. Put Back the Seatbelt

You can leave the seatbelt to dry overnight if you want to ensure that it is properly dry and won’t give off a wet car odor. When you’re satisfied that it is completely dry, you can fix it, making sure that the bolts that were removed earlier are fixed in their exact places. This should get your retractor working once again, but if it fails, then we recommend you get a replacement.

Frequently Asked Question

– How To Get a Seatbelt Unstuck from Head Rest?

To get a seatbelt unstuck from the headrest, insert a thin object like a pin or paper clip under the headrest and press the release button. If this doesn’t work, try pulling on the webbing while pressing the button simultaneously to unlock the seat belt.

Can a Stuck Seatbelt Cause Steering Wheel to Be Hard to Turn?

Yes, a stuck seatbelt can indeed make the steering wheel hard to turn. When the seatbelt gets jammed or tangled, it can inhibit the free movement of the driver, making it difficult to turn the steering wheel smoothly. This can be a potential safety hazard, requiring immediate attention and resolution.


Whether your seat belt won’t pull out jammed after accident or your seat belt won’t retract to allow you to get down from the vehicle, the steps highlighted above will be of great help.

Here is a recap of some of the important points we’ve covered:

  • To fix a stuck seat belt locking mechanism, let it go into the seatbelt retractor for about half an inch, then slowly pull the seatbelt out to override the locking mechanism of the spool.
  • You can also reset the seatbelt by removing the retractor covers, pulling the seatbelt webbing until it reaches its end, and cleaning the webbing or untying any knot.
  • After you’ve untied any knots and cleaned the webbing, allow it to slowly retract into the retractor and replace the covers.
  • To fix a slow seatbelt retractor, completely remove the seatbelt, soak it in hot soapy water, and clean the seatbelt crevice with a plastic cover remover wrapped in a towel.
  • Remove the seatbelt after 10 minutes and allow it to dry thoroughly before fixing it back in the vehicle.

If all these methods to fix a locked seat belt fails to work, then your seatbelt might need replacement, thus ensure you get a quality one that won’t get stuck anytime soon.

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