The first thing many drivers do upon getting behind the wheel is buckle up. Fastening the seat belt is second nature for most, but the second there's a problem with this device, things can get thrown out of whack. A faulty seat belt puts your person at risk, and can also cause you to drive differently. Getting quick auto repair
is a must, but if you want to keep costs down, keep a few tips in mind for caring for this safety device throughout the year.
Check for tears
Seat belts are pretty durable, but even minor tears or frays in a strap could turn into a major problem. This fabric may wear down due to prolonged sun exposure or other types of inclement weather, battles with a car door or simply general use. Be on the lookout for possible rips in your seat belts, as well as fraying stitches or thin spots in the fabric, as these could be signs that the belt is on its last legs.
While you're at it, double-check that the tension in the straps is correct
. Seat belts must be able to firmly hold you should an accident occur, so it is essential to have a strap that can lock in place quickly and also fit snugly around your body.
Examine buckles regularly
The buckles themselves should be checked at regular intervals. Your driver's seat, and possibly even the front passenger's seat, gets enough use where you'll know immediately if there is an issue. However, rear seats pose a more difficult problem. Periodically check those buckles to ensure they can fasten smoothly and securely. They should release quickly as well. It's also a good idea to make sure no small objects, coins or even food has made its way into the buckles, causing blocks.
Don't neglect cleaning
Sometimes, a standard cleaning may be enough to extend the life of your seat belt. Mild soap and water is likely the best choice for scrubbing the strap, but the buckle gets a bit trickier. Stay away from lubricants or anything that could rust the metal. Instead, search for cleaning products specifically designed for the restrainers - asking a professional from an auto repair franchise
for a recommendation is a safe bet. CarTrade reported that dust or other buildup can grind against straps
any time they're pulled, so this step is a must for smart owners.
Stick to a schedule
Seat belts may not be at the top of your vehicle maintenance
checklist. It's understandable to be more worried with the health of your engine or the condition of your tires
, but there should be some kind of plan for examining seat belts. Whenever you have an oil change
or schedule a tune up
, take the time to check the seat belts yourself. You can also remind the experts that examine your car to give these features a second look, but a thorough facility will likely be testing them anyway.
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