Causes of a Jamming Seat Belt and How to Fix It

Causes of a Jamming Seat Belt and How to Fix It

For many, a stuck seat belt is nothing but a small nuisance. Generally, some amount of tugging will get it loose, allowing for buckling in. Unfortunately, this “small” problem will only get worse over time! Sooner or later, that belt will be stuck entirely—or worse, fail when it is supposed to work in an accident. 

That being said, seat belts are one of the most important safety features in any vehicle, and if your car’s seat belts seem to get stuck a lot of times, you must fix it. Before we go into how you can fix a jamming seat belt, let us first talk about the problem’s common causes.

 The cause of a stuck seat belt

There are a few causes of a seat belt getting stuck. 

The first and most common reason is that dirt and grime have gotten into the inner workings of the seat belt. When it gets retracted, this dirt slowly collects and jams the mechanism! This will cause the entire set up to malfunction and get stuck. 

Another reason is that the retractor itself is locked! While you can certainly have this fixed at a repair store, there are some DIY guides out there that can help you fix this issue by yourself.

Addressing a stuck seat belt

Now that you know the common causes of a jammed seat belt let’s get into how to fix it.

When tackling dirt, the best way to fix this is to clean the seat belt. To do this, you will need a few things: hot water, some laundry detergent mixture, and a brush. With these in hand, go ahead and fully retract the seat belt until you cannot pull anymore. You can clamp it down at the base to stop it from drawing back with a clip. 

Now, apply the detergent and hot water mix into the seat belt, brushing the belt’s entire length to get rid of as much dirt as possible. Soaking the seat belt in a bucket of the mixture also helps! Once that is done, brush it once more with clean water until there is no more soap oozing out of the belt. With the belt thoroughly cleaned, leave it to dry completely before letting it retract and use it.

To address a locked retractor, you can first try pulling at the belt as hard as you can to undo the lock. If you cannot do this, you may need to remove the retractor from the car and fix it outside. Once you have access to the retractor, use a screwdriver to turn the spool—this will gently pull the belt back into the retractor.


A stuck seat belt can be a nightmare, especially if it gets stuck when you are driving and want to leave. In either case, if you are having trouble fixing the seat belt or are unable to fix it at all, it is always recommended to send it to a car repair shop for fixing! They will be able to thoroughly address the problem and advise how you can avoid such a problem later down the line. 

That said, if you are dealing with a seat belt problem right now, have it fixed right away. A working seat belt can be the difference between walking away from a crash and possibly losing your life! Give yourself the highest chance of survival and fix that seat belt immediately.

Do you need to get your seat belts inspected to ensure their working condition? Safety Restore is a leader in post-accident restorations with a focus on seatbelt and airbag module repairs. If you are looking for seat belt repair services in Westfield, let us fix your seat belt today!