In the unfortunate event of an accident, the main thing most people think of, regarding the car, is repairing the damage. Few consider what you need to do with the seat belts, and if they can still be used (safely).
To answer the question of whether the seat belts need to be replaced after an accident, knowing how a seat belt works is important.
When the accident occurs, the seat belt locks in place to keep the occupant from flying around to minimise injury. This locking is done by a gas igniter which triggers an inflator, which inflates to lock the seat belt. Regardless of whether it’s at the retractor or the buckle pre-tensioner, if this gas igniter has gone off, the belt will need to be repaired or replaced.
Another thing to consider is that the forces of the accident can actually stretch the belt, as can a person tugging on the belt to try to get out of the car in a panic. And, in the case of a person being stuck in the car and the belt needing to be cut, the belt will most definitely need to be replaced.
The options for repair or replacement
Depending on the circumstances it may be possible to repair the seat belt. However, we highly recommend leaving this to a professional for two reasons:
- Your life and the lives of your passengers is literally on the line
- If it’s not done properly and you have another accident where the seat belt doesn’t work as it should, you could be held liable and your insurance may chose not to cover you for it.
There is an OEM repair process for seat belts that must be followed by technicians if repair is possible on the seat belt. It usually consists of scanning the safety system for codes to see exactly what needs to be done, then replacing the igniter, inflator, sensor and any other part that is required.
Once these repairs or the replacement of the belts has been carried out, a complete recalibration of the seat belts and airbag system is necessary to ensure there are no other faults and that the whole system is working properly.
This process will insure that the car is truly safe once again and that in the event of another crash, the seat belt will work as intended.
If you have just had a car repaired after an accident and want to ensure this was done correctly, speak to us about a post-repair car assessment by calling us on 1800 844 999 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.