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When a seat belt is installed wrong...

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
This, BTW, is NOT a carseat question. ;-) It's about my own beltedness!

My mom's car was in an accident a couple years ago, and required a lot of body work. They replaced the driver's side seat belt (yay, since it's a one-time use item) but they installed it wrong (d'oh!) so there's a permanent half-twist in it.

I drive her car now and then when she's out of town etc., so I'm wondering what y'all think: is it safer to have that twist in the shoulder portion, or the lap portion of the belt? The buckle tongue appears to be symmetrical, so I can flip it either way, putting the twist in whichever half of the belt.

The car is a 2002 Infiniti G20, if that seems relevant. The belt is a totally normal modern 3-point belt. It does have a height adjuster where the shoulder connects to the car's body.

On the one hand, it seems like it might be safer to have the twist in the lap portion, farther from the adjuster; OTOH, it seems like the lap portion takes more of my weight in a crash, so it's more important for it to be flat against my body.

post #2 of 4
I would take it back to the dealership/body shop and have them re-install it correctly. Most parts/labor have 2+ years of warranty on them and even if it is out of warranty its not broke...it was put in wrong and you can prove it was something they didn't do correctly by showing them (or you maybe in their computer system) you had that belt system replaced by them. I am assuming your mother had a rental car during all of the repair work. If they say it will take more than a couple of hours to re-do, I'd make them give my Mom a rental car free of charge until it is corrected.
It is preferrable that all belts lie flat with no twists in either the lap or shoulder portion.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
If it was my car, I wouldn't have driven it out of the shop that way. ;-) But it's not, and my mom just isn't as, well, organized about such things. She also had a lot of communication problems with the shop, so I don't know that she even *could* explain the problem to them.

So, leaving aside the obvious choice of getting it fixed... what would you do without that choice?
post #4 of 4
If there HAS to be a twist and your mom will not take it back to the dealership, then I would say a twist would be *preferrable* (and I say that lightly) in the lap portion of the belt (with the twist pushed towards the latchplate/buckle end if possible...in other words don't let the twist fall across her abdomen). BOTH parts work in unison in a crash to restrain her. However, the retractor will need to move to lock in a fast stop, and if there is a twist or kink in it your mom may not be protected in the milliseconds it takes for the locking mechanism of the retractor to kick in, if it is being prevented from rolling. Try to coax her to go back there and get it fixed. It's not safe.
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