Updated at: 30-08-2022 - By: Lucas

The safety of drivers, passengers, and other road users cannot be overstated. To a person raised in today’s safety-conscious society, the idea that cars were ever equipped without seatbelts seems absurd.

Seatbelts are now mandatory for both drivers and passengers when in a moving vehicle. However, putting on your seatbelt can be a challenge at times.

If a seatbelt’s cloth belt becomes caught in the retractor, the safety feature is rendered ineffective. If your seatbelt is getting stuck, this article will show you how to free it.

If your seatbelt is stuck, try cleaning it, releasing and pulling it, or opening up the mechanism and checking the spool, loop, and seatbelt hardware for faults to see if they are the source of the problem.

How Does A Seatbelt Work?

How To Unlock Seat Belt After Accident

Using seatbelts has been shown to reduce the chance of fatality in an automobile accident by 50 percent. When you consider the above figures, you can see why seatbelts are so critical for all drivers.

A seatbelt’s mechanism must first be understood in order to explain why yours keeps locking up. The following parts make up a seatbelt.

Despite their simple appearance, seatbelts are far more complicated than they appear. When the seatbelt’s webbing is attached to a retractor mechanism, it can be pulled out and then retracted.

The spool at the end of the webbing can be rotated thanks to a spring located inside the retractor mechanism. Torque is applied to the spool by the spring. Because of this method, you are able to easily pull your seatbelt out and buckle it.

The spool also has a locking mechanism that prevents it from turning and stretching the webbing. The locking mechanism is designed to keep the seatbelt webbing in place during an accident by locking the spool when the vehicle decelerates abruptly.

A pre tensioner is also a part of the locking system in newer cars. Pretensioners tighten the seatbelt webbing to prevent passengers from slipping out of their seats in the event of a collision.

What Causes A Seatbelt To Lock Up?

How To Unlock Seat Belt After Accident-3

There is a lot going on with your automobile seatbelt, as you can see!

There are numerous mechanisms at play in order to keep you as secure as possible.

However, because to the sheer number of little pieces, your seatbelt may occasionally become stuck, making it difficult to figure out why. It is possible for a seatbelt to become jammed for a variety of reasons, including:

Built-up dirt on the webbing

Dirt or grime on the webbing of your seatbelt may make it difficult for you to buckle up. The seatbelt’s retractor becomes less effective when it becomes clogged with dirt. The seatbelt may become stuck and immobilized if the dirt and grime forms a layer on top of the webbing.

Damaged retractor

Retracting the seat belt straps can be a challenge if the retractor is damaged. The spool of your seat belt may be jammed, and you’ll need to fix it if it doesn’t move.

In the event that your seatbelt gets stuck, you don’t necessarily require an appointment with a mechanic to get it fixed.

In the event of an accident, the seatbelts in your vehicle may not operate as intended if they are locking up. Also, we all know how frustrating it is to try to put on a seat belt that won’t come out of the retractor!

How To Fix A Seatbelt That Is Stuck?

How To Unlock Seat Belt After Accident-2

You don’t need a professional to fix a jammed seatbelt; you can do it yourself at home. The repairability of a seatbelt lockup varies, however, based on the source of the problem.

Here are three different approaches to freeing a trapped seatbelt that you can attempt.

Method 1 – Clean the seatbelt

The retractor of the seatbelt can become clogged with dirt and filth from the belt’s wear and tear, resulting in the belt being stuck. Don’t worry, a little cleaning will take care of this issue.

To begin, prepare a large bucket of hot, soapy water.

  1. Remove the seatbelt and place it in the pail of water as far as you are able.

Tie the seatbelt in place with clips or grips after it’s been removed from the bucket.

Submerge the seatbelt in water for about 10 minutes, then remove it.

Step 5: Wipe out the seatbelt crevice with a small tool. To avoid damaging the mechanism that holds the buckle in place, you should be careful when doing this. To minimize damage, place the removal instrument in a wet towel.

Step 6: Wipe down the seatbelt bucket with a clean rag after removing it from the vehicle.

It’s best if you can stretch out the seatbelt to its maximum length and hang it from the steering wheel to air dry.

The seatbelt can then be released from the retractor or pretensioner after it is completely dry.

At this point, you should not have any issues with the seatbelt locking or getting stuck.

This is the final step. Remember to clean the webbing and crevices of the seatbelt on a regular basis to avoid dirt from accumulating and causing issues.

Method 2 – Pull the seatbelt

The second method is straightforward and should be able to free a jammed seatbelt.

In order to disengage the auto lock on your car seatbelts, you must first release the seatbelt by pulling it. Check your owner’s manual or ask the dealership if you have any questions about whether or not your vehicle has seatbelt auto lock.

Step 2 Before attempting to unlock a stuck seat belt, remove the buckle from the locking cartridge if it is plugged in.

  1. If you can, gently pull on the webbing of the seatbelt to gain additional slack.

Step 4: Retract the seatbelt into the retractor by gently guiding and releasing it. If the belt is twisted or tangled, it could get stuck in the retractor and be difficult to remove. This can happen multiple times.

Method 3 – Open up the seatbelt mechanism

Pulling or cleaning the webbing and crevices will not always free a trapped seatbelt. A blocked seatbelt may necessitate the removal of the plastic mechanism to reach the microscopic parts.

Step 1: Remove the plastic cover covering the seatbelt mechanism with a flathead screwdriver. A needle-nose screwdriver works just as well here. The mechanism for fastening the seatbelts of the backseat passengers will most likely be found in the trunk. To get to the mechanism, you may have to remove the backseats.

A plastic cover must be removed in order to get access to the belt spool, loop, and other seatbelt components.

Pull the seatbelt out as far as it will go after removing the plastic covers. You should now be able to see if the seatbelt is twisted, tangled, or jammed someplace.

The seatbelt must be untangled and smoothed out before you can buckle up. Use hot soapy water and a clean towel to clean the seatbelt mechanism if you find it to be dirty or clogged with gunk.

Using needle tip pliers, try to remove any small objects from the mechanism. Seatbelts might get stuck again if the mechanism and the seatbelt webbing are not as clean as possible.

Once the seatbelt and mechanism have been thoroughly cleaned and untangled, it is now time to reinstall the plastic covers and release the seatbelt.

This is the final step. Make sure the seatbelt is operating properly by performing a few tests. Allow it to retract back into the mechanism as you carefully pull it out. When you try to stretch it across your body, be sure it doesn’t lock up again.

It should only take one of these three approaches to free a trapped seatbelt. Seatbelts that get trapped and you’re not sure why are a sign that you should seek professional assistance.


Why is my seatbelt locked?

Passengers and drivers are protected in the event of a collision by seatbelts that automatically lock at certain intervals. However, the seatbelt can get stuck in the retractor and you won’t be able to move it forward or backward any more.

There is also the risk of getting stuck in the retractor if the webbing of the seatbelt is covered with filth and grime.

How to unlock a seatbelt after an accident?

Immediately following a car collision, your seatbelt could become stuck. Locking seatbelts are designed to keep people safe and secure in the event of a collision or other catastrophic car accident.

It’s possible that your seatbelt might have been damaged or stretched out during the crash, so you might not be able to loosen it when you exit the vehicle. The emergency services will be able to free you from your seatbelt in the event of a major accident.

You can also try the other methods we’ve listed here to see if you can get the seatbelt unlocked on your own. To ensure your safety on the road, you will need to replace your seatbelt if it has been damaged beyond repair following an accident.


In the event of an accident, wearing a seatbelt can save your life. In a car accident, wearing a seatbelt can reduce your chance of death by up to 50%. You don’t want to get behind the wheel without first strapping up.

Seatbelts can, on rare occasions, become jammed, and if this happens, you’ll need to figure out how to unstick them. There are three basic ways you can try to fix a jammed seatbelt in this article.