How often do you pay attention to your seatbelt? It’s kind of become a mindless task you just know to do when you get into the car, right? Click-it or ticket! When you’ve been in an accident, it’s normal practice to take your car in and focus on the immediate needs of the vehicle. Most people look at a car and say, “Oh yeah, that side panel needs repair,” or “definitely have to check the windshield.” But did you know your seatbelt needs to be inspected after a collision?

Not many people do. Not many insurance companies or body shops do either. But at Paul Bros., we do and we will inspect. We’re a shop that focuses on making sure your car has been repaired to OEM standard. We’ll make sure your car is properly inspected before and after a repair unlike a lot of other shops who focus on simply getting the car in and out.

Your Seatbelt Needs to Be Inspected After a Collision

According to surveys conducted by CRASH Network and Collision Advice, only 31 percent of shops reported being reimbursed for procedures when dictated by OEM repair and it was more likely that insurers never paid or shops never asked. Doesn’t this make you want to take your car to a shop that will always check and ask for everything you need?

Finding the Right Shop…
Too few shops research and are up-to-date on OEM repair procedures and aren’t aware of requirements. Seatbelts should always be inspected and in some cases even replaced if they were being used during an accident. Your seatbelt is one of the many tools put in place to keep you safe during a collision, yet not every insurance company will reimburse repair shops for this procedure.

Seatbelts are becoming more of a priority in the auto repair industry in terms of collision repair. But, could it be the inspections aren’t happening because shops aren’t being paid? A survey conducted by CRASH Network a few years ago stated that less than 24 percent of shops said they were paid regularly for completing the inspections. This year, the number has only leaped to 31 percent. Perhaps shops should simply start including the inspection as part of their routine.

Checking Seatbelts After a Collision

If you’ve been in a collision, there is a chance the structure of your seatbelt has been compromised. The seatbelts and seating in your car have its own unique system like everything else in your car. The way technology has advanced in the auto industry, your car can most likely tell how and where you are sitting in your car and if you are wearing your seatbelt or not. I know even in my 2006 Jeep Liberty, if I drive more than a few yards without my seatbelt a beeping warning will sound. Imagine what a 2018 model would do!

Must-Dos…

After an accident, your seatbelt should be inspected roughly every 6 months to a year. Perhaps this should be done more if you own an older vehicle. The best shops will perform a seatbelt inspection which includes:

• Checking for cuts, fraying, or tears in the materials of the seatbelt where threads appear to be coming apart. If there are areas where the seatbelts are no longer solid, it should be replaced.

• Seatbelts are held in place by retaining bolts. These bolts are located along the floorboards or along the rear sides of the seats. When bolts are loose, they should be tightened. Any missing bolts should be replaced immediately.

• The buckle parts need to be checked for signs of corrosion, cracks, or other visible damage. If these are found, it could cause the buckle to not latch properly or come unlatched during a collision.

• Check the auto-return mechanism for the seatbelt. This is the part that will bring your seatbelt to a normal resting position once it has been un-latched. If there are signs of corrosion or damage, it could prevent the seatbelt from returning to normal and might not engage to keep you from flying forward.

• Faded seatbelt fabric may seem simple, but the sun’s rays are powerful. They’re powerful enough to cause the materials to weaken over time. A weak seatbelt strap could snap during impact, defeating its purpose to save your life.

Always Ask if Your Seatbelt Needs to Be Inspected After a Collision

Like we mentioned earlier, seatbelts are so common we kind of forget about them. But no matter what, your seatbelt needs to be inspected after a collision. We take for granted everything they do until we’re in a collision. And while no one should ever hope to be in a car accident, you should always hope your seatbelt is on and working. At Paul Bros., we will make sure your entire vehicle is inspected properly and up to OEM standards to keep you safe. If you’re having issues with your seatbelts or have just been in a collision and need vehicle repair, don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact us to schedule an appointment today.

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