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Is my car seat broken? If not, how to fix?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am soooooo pissed. We were all set to go to the library and have a great fun day full of activities and now we can't go anywhere. Worse, I told DD about everything and now she's crying b/c we are effectively stranded.

The straps on DD's Britax Marathon are way loose and won't tighten. The last people to use the car seat were my parents and I hope that they didn't drive with her that loosely strapped on.

Anyway, I've yanked and yanked. Tried to assess what the problem might be but I can't figure it out.

Any ideas? Or do I need to go out tonight and buy a new car seat asap?

V
post #2 of 16
Can you undo the straps completely and re-attach them maybe?
post #3 of 16
Are they caught on anything in the back? Is the strap caught in the adjuster release in the front? Are you pulling with a tug-release-tug motion? As I'm sure you know you can't just keep pulling on a Marathon adjuster. It's not a smooth one. Straps twisted anywhere? Does it tighten if DDs not in the seat? Is it RF or FF?
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
With help maybe. I know nothing about how the thing is installed--DH did all of it and he is out of town this week. I did talk to DH and he has no ideas for me either.

I know how to tighten and loosen the straps (obviously) and I can't spot anything obvious there. Nothing is twisted. I can't see anything stuck. I've check the lever. The thing does not 'ratchet' tight at all. I yank and there is zero movement.

I mean, I hate this seat and the plan was to get a new one but not on an emergency basis kwim?

My nephew will be here later and is pretty handy (engineering student) maybe he can figure it out.

I am so irked. We had such a great fun day planned and now we can't go anywhere.

V
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Amy~ View Post
Are they caught on anything in the back? Is the strap caught in the adjuster release in the front? Are you pulling with a tug-release-tug motion? As I'm sure you know you can't just keep pulling on a Marathon adjuster. It's not a smooth one. Straps twisted anywhere? Does it tighten if DDs not in the seat? Is it RF or FF?

It's FF and I did try with and without DD in the seat. Yeah, I know about the tug and release, but it's not moving at all.

By adjuster release do you mean the lever you flip to make the straps loose? It seems to be fine--I can't spot any issues with it. For the record, I can't loosen the straps any further so it may be jammed both ways, tightening and loosening.

V
post #6 of 16
How is the seat installed? Are you using the Latch? (The two plug in looking thingys on either side?)
If so, perhaps your parents didn't understand and maybe threaded the seatbelt though and fastened it. If the seatbelt is tight and threaded on the wrong side of the straps behind the seat, the seatbelt will pinch the straps and you won't be able to adjust them at all.
If not why not take the seat out and rethread the straps.
post #7 of 16
I think an uninstall is in order.... take it apart and make sure it looks fine in the back
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
It's latch as far as I know. I'll get my engineer in residence to help me with an uninstall. Or maybe Babies R Us would have a car seat tech on hand that could help?

I emailed my parents and asked them if they had any issues with the seat.

V
post #9 of 16
Yes, uninstall the seat. The manual will be right there under the cover so take a look in it and make sure the way the straps are routed in the back looks the same as the pics in the manual. The manual will also give instructions on reinstalling since DH is away. If everything looks right and it still won't tighten, call Britax and explain the problem and ask them what you should do.
post #10 of 16
BrU usually doesn't have tech but independent baby stores sometime do. Or call the firestation and see if anyone there is a tech. You want to make sure they are a certified CPST (ask for credentials) before letting them touch it though. There are lots of well-meaning firefighters that have made things worse with peoples seats while trying to help. Or if you let us know where you live someone may be able to hook you up with a local tech. I know quite a few from car-seat.org and could help you locate one. Alternatively you could head over to car-seat.org yourself and seach their listing for a tech in your area. I'd link it for you but I'm on my iPod and it doesn't work very well.
post #11 of 16
This happened to me and it turned out the metal piece that keeps the straps from pulling out completely was jammed up under the seat. Definitely uninstall, flip it over and explore what's up. I hope it's easily fixed.
post #12 of 16
I think it is really important for everyone to know how to install and uninstall car seats yourself just in case you are ever in a bind and need to put it in another car, Like if you break down on the road, blow a tire, loose your oil plug, etc. and have to call a tow truck.

If you stranded already, you might as well take it out now and take a look, read the manual, and learn how to use the seat yourself Bet you will find the problem!
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
My nephew fixed it in less than a minute. The strap was jammed.

It seems to be okay.

I'm just incompetent.

V
post #14 of 16
I've had this happen when the hooks for the straps in the rear caught against the fabric of the seat. So I say uninstall, see if it moves NOT installed, then reinstall. If you're desperate, maybe a friend or neighbor could help you with the uninstall/reinstall.
post #15 of 16
I am glad your nephew was able to get it working however you really do need to learn to uninstall and install your seat.
post #16 of 16
I agree, you need to know how to install and un-install the seat. Go to this link, http://www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm

Make an appointment, and make sure the technician instructs you on installing the seat.
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