ARE YOUR SEAT BELTS SAFE?

Did you know that it is generally one or two things which most commonly cause seat belts to fail a roadworthy test?

Restraint Technology explains that when it comes to a road worthy, there are common issues that can see your belts fail the test. These are:

1. Worn webbing
The seat belt webbing can become frayed, torn, faded; it can be chewed by the dog, caught in the car door, marked by cigarette burns, cut or even have furry edging. These faults can significantly affect the performance of the seat belt in a negative way and will see affected belts fail a roadworthy test every time.

2. Retractor failure
When the seat belt retractor fails to retract the webbing, this often occurs because the clock spring (large spring on the side of the retractor) becomes tired and worn out. To comply with the Australian Design Rules, clock springs are designed to perform 55,000 cycles (extraction and retraction = one cycle) in their life time. Dependant on usage, this equates to approximately 10 years of service. Over time, the spring can simply wear out and when this happens, the entire seat belt retracting mechanism which houses the clock spring must be replaced; it cannot be repaired.

Remedies
Restraint Technology can replace worn webbing using AS1753 Australian Standards approved webbing. Any hardware such as anchors, webbing retainers and tongue stops can also be replaced at this time if they are rusted or worn. The process involves completely removing the old webbing from the retracting mechanism, cutting the correct length of replacement webbing, rethreading the hardware and sewing and labelling new webbing onto the retractor.
The second problem of a failed clock spring requires the entire retractor mechanism to be replaced. Restraint Technology has a broad range of Australian Standards compliant replacement seat belt retractors which will fit most applications prior to 2006. If the seat belt has a pre-tensioning or pyrotechnic device (explodes and pulls the seat belts tight when the airbags fire) installed into the retractor, the seat belt retractor must be replaced with a genuine part.

Repair limitations and tell-tale signs of accident damage
If the seat belt was worn while the car was involved in an accident, both the seat belt and the buckle must be replaced, warns Restraint Technology. This is because seat belts and buckles are designed to work only once under load.
Failing to replace a seat belt and buckle which have been worn in an accident is highly dangerous and will most likely result in the seat belt failing to do its job if involved in another accident, Restraint Technology cautions.
Tell-tale signs that a seat belt has been used in an accident include either the seat belt not releasing from the retractor or the retractor rewinding in a notchy fashion or not rewinding at all.
Also, the buckle may not catch anymore or may rattle significantly, and/or the retractor may rattle significantly. If any of these issues are seen, the entire seat belt assembly and buckle must be replaced.
Webbing can provide a major tell-tale sign that it has been worn in an accident when it displays a wave running through it and/or displays burn marks around hardware and narrowing of the webbing. Restraint Technology will not replace accident damaged webbing and will recommend replacing the entire seat belt assembly and buckle.

Note to repairers
Under no circumstances should the retractor mechanism be opened in an effort to release or improve the retraction of the seat belt. This is considered tampering and is not approved by any seat belt manufacturer. Removing the clock spring cover is highly dangerous as the large clock spring is under load and will jump out and can injure the eyes and face.
Restraint Technology performs repairs and replacements all over Australia and says that no matter where you are, its team is only an overnight bag away.

To discuss your seat belt requirements, call Restraint Technology on 03 9729 1988.