How to ensure your seatbelt will save you

We regularly have our engines serviced to ensure they run correctly but it’s a little known fact your seatbelts need some attention too.

They need to be regularly inspected to ensure they’re safe but the good news is you can do most of these checks yourself.

Firstly, ensure the seatbelts are clean. Dirt and grit can cause internal damage to the webbing so use mild soap and lukewarm water to wipe down the belt.

Check the belt is securely attached to the end fittings and lies flat its entire length. Warping of the webbing may indicate it’s been stretched during a crash and should be replaced.

Ensure the seatbelt webbing and stitching isn’t frayed, damaged, or sun bleached and keep an eye out for cracks, warps or other damage to the plastic and metal components of the clasp.

Tongue and buckle assemblies should securely latch and eject freely.  Test the retracting mechanism by grasping the belt and pulling it sharply – it should lock.

Ideally, the belt should retract fully by itself, but many need a bit of assistance to go that last little bit.  Provided the belt stays firm across the occupant when fitted this isn’t too much of an issue.

Finally, inspect the anchorage points: these should be securely fastened and free of any damage.

If you’re unsure if your seatbelts are in the right condition, speak to your mechanic. If there’s any doubt about the belt’s safety, replace it – you and your passengers’ lives may depend on it.