My seatbelt doesn't retract anymore...

so am I correct in thinking it also won’t tighten up in the event of a crash? Or are the mechanisms different?

You can possibly check it with the engine running, parked, and by grabbing the belt and quickly and strongly jerking it forward. It it locks, it is working, BUT, my advice is under **no **circumstances just let it go.

Get to a dealer and have it checked out. Your life may depend upon it.

There should be no reason to have the engine running on any car that I can think of.
If the seat belt is not retracting, then it is my guess that it is not tight against you when it is fastened. This is a bad thing.
In fact taking a running start at a seat belt is about the worst thing you can do short of leaving it off.
My suggestion is get it fixed.
Seat belts sometimes have a longer warranty then the powertrain of the car. YOu might want to read your owner’s manual.

Thanks guys. I just noticed the lack of retractioness this morning and I am concerned about it (not the least 'cause it’s so annoying to have it just sort of flop there). The car is a 18 year old Cherokee so it’s not covered by any warranties anymore. And I was planning on getting it inspected this week, I wonder if it will pass with the seatbelt like this.

Hmmmm, I almost never have passengers. I wonder if I can use the mechanism from the passenger side and stick it on the drivers side? I’ll have to do some research…

Probably not, but YMMV

YMMV, but i’ve read that sometimes the retracting mechanism simply gets dirty and stops retracting. You can try cleaning it. It it doesn’t work, then I suppose you haven’t lost anything.

In anycase, fix it(or get it fixed) asap!

I have never seen one that could be cleaned. Every seat belt system I have seen the retractor is enclosed.
I would be very leary of taking one apart to clean it. Consider the penalty for failure, if you get it back togther wrong, and it does not lock in an accident. :eek:

tremorviolet you said you almost never have passengers. How are you going to keep from getting a ticket when you do, if you have their seat belt? :smack:

The enclosed retractor is not designed to be serviced, springs will fly everyhere and you’ll never get it back together unless you have worked in a seat belt factory.

As always i’ll defer to Rick.

You say your cherokee is 18 years old? Perhaps maybe a junk yard part?

18 years old? Probably a healthy buildup of dirt, grime and crud. Now I’m not a licensed mechanic, but this should help. I’ve had old cars in the past and for a lack of money had to learn a lot about repairs on my own. If you’re talking about an '88 Cherokee or Wrangler, you’re in luck, IIRC.

When the tensioning fails, I wouldn’t trust it even if it was cleaned somehow. You can try some WD-40 sprayed liberally enough to increase the stock price, and that may help to keep it tight against you while driving. In most cases (not all) a seat belt works on the simple principle of inertia. There’s a peice that upon a sufficient impact slides forward to stop the belt from expanding. It’s independant of the mechanism that retracts it. When you crash, the seat belt doesn’t pull back against you, rather it stops your inertia from moving forward. (Hope that made sense.)

In your case with that generation of Jeep, Harmonix has the right idea. If memory serves, the assembly you need will bolt to the frame next to the seat, and the shoulder point should also be relatively easy to replace. (Even if the shoulder harness is the type that passes through the door facia, a screwdriver should be all that’s needed.)

Hope that helped a bit. :slight_smile:

BTW, a piece on the mechanics of How seatbelts work.

Thanks for the info. I found a replacement belt on the web (Quadratec) for only $70 so I went ahead and ordered it. I figured a new belt would be safer than a junk yard part that might have been in a crash. It doesn’t look too hard to replace except for prying off the decorative plastic cover. I’ll probably be back in this thread when my seat belt gets here with more questions. :slight_smile:

Cool. Let us know how it goes.