How To Install Seat Belts

by Cassandra Tribe
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Using seat belts can save your life and can save you and your community money. The safety factor is obvious, but not everyone is aware that taxpayers bear 85 percent of the cost (medical care, emergency response) when an accident involves a driver who is not wearing a seat belt. Make sure your seat belts are in working order; if they're worn out by age or from being activated in an accident, you can install another set yourself.

Step 1

Trace the straps from the original seat belt back to the anchors that attach the belt to the frame of the car. If you are installing seat belts that have a shoulder harness, the shoulder strap from the original belt will terminate in an anchor on the side of the car frame. Lap belts will have an anchor in the bottom of the frame.

Step 2

Lock the crescent wrench on the side of the anchor bolt that is in the car. Either have a helper hold the wrench stationary, or make sure that if the wrench turns, the handle will become blocked against the actual car seat and not be able to continue turning as you work the other end of the bolt free.

Step 3

Locate the bottom of the anchor bolt. For lap belts, you will find it protruding through the bottom of the car. For shoulder belts, you will not be able to access the end of the bolt but can immediately begin to turn the crescent wrench in a counterclockwise direction to unscrew the bolt from the side frame. For lap belts, attach a socket wrench to the nut on the bolt under the car and turn the socket counterclockwise until it is completely off the anchor bolt. Withdraw the bolts from the bolt holes.

Step 4

Remove the old seat belts and anchoring hardware. If you have a retractable seat belt, remove the entire case that contains the spool that held the old belt. Install the new belt by bolting the new spool case in the same position as the old one or, if it is a "straight belt" that does not retract, bolt the anchor plate down. The anchor plate will be one of the two plates included with your replacement belt but the only one with a 45-degree angle to it. Your retractable belt is completely installed at this point. To finish installing a straight belt, there's one more step.

Step 5

Thread the belt through the anchor plate and around the locking plate. The locking plate is the plate that looks similar to a large, flat washer. Pass the belt through the hole in the center once and then loop it over the top of the locking plate and back through the center once more so both plates lock together and the belt does not move when you pull on the belt. Repeat steps four and five to install the other side of the seat belt.

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