How to free a seat belt in 2005 Nissan Wingroad wrapped around a kids booster seat and locked?

Posted on 2014-03-29
Last Modified: 2014-03-30
One of the rear seat belts in our car has become wrapped around the arm of a childrens booster seat and seems to have triggered the ratchet mechanism that prevents it from releasing more belt to loosen it. Giving the retraction mechanism some slack makes it just retract the belt a little more and locks everything even more tightly into place.

I've tried parking on a reasonably steep hill (facing up) and it still didn't release. The mechanism for the belt seems to be difficult to access within the body of the car; I can't see how I would get to it, though presumably there must be a way (though with the bulky kids car seat stuck in the way, there is a chance I won't be able to get to it because of that).

Short of disassembling the seat belt mechanism, however it might be done, does anyone have any other ideas how I might get the belt to release?

One idea I had was to get someone in the back and accelerate up a steep hill (which would have a stronger effect than simply being parked. Even if it is possible for this to work, I think the belt might need some slack given to it at the time (perhaps with someone sitting in the back), though I'm not sure how much. Each time it gets a little slack, it tightens more, so I won't be able to keep trying this!

Cutting the arm off the booster seat may work (not sure whether the seat will remain usable), though I'm worried the seat belt might get damaged in which case it would need replacing anyway.

Anyway, new ideas are appreciated! Thanks
Question by:Terry Woods
LVL 94

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 100 total points
ID: 39964416
The booster seat I have is readily replaceable and not expensive. It should be possible (without seeing it) to cut off the plastic arm.

The arm on my booster is quite thick (may be hollow). I think I would stay away from the belt and use a small short hand saw to get started.

This would be my recommendation as I imagine I could do this without damaging the belt.
LVL 31

Accepted Solution

Frosty555 earned 300 total points
ID: 39964446
The ratcheting mechanism is not going to be affected by the angle of the car or its acceleration. The ratcheting is a feature of the seatbelt specifically for using the seatbelt to anchor things in place like a carseat or cargo. In this mode, the seatbelt does not extend, it only ratchets tighter. This is different from the normal "locking" that happens when you tug on the seatbelt sharply.

To release the ratchet, you have to undo the buckle and let the seatbelt retract fully back into the car. Once it is retracted the ratchet will release and the seatbelt operates normally again.

I can't imagine how you got the seatbelt wrapped around a carseat... maybe a picture would help? Can you not just unbuckle the seatbelt and slide the carseat out sideways, or retract the seat belt fully back into the car?

Otherwise I'd say yeah, disassemble the car seat or cut the arm off of it.
LVL 34

Assisted Solution

Michael-Best earned 100 total points
ID: 39964648
Without seeing your situation it is difficult to advise.

You may be able to release the seat belt by removing the seat belts anchor post with a torx wrench.

As you stated you may damage the seat belt by trying to cut the booster seats arm.
It may be cheaper to cut and replace the seat belt.

Visit your local dealer who may be able to release the rachet mechanism or advise you further.
LVL 35

Author Closing Comment

by:Terry Woods
ID: 39965657
Thanks for your suggestions!

It turns out a friend used to be a mechanic, and after my wife mentioned the issue on facebook, he came over to help out. The solution we used was to remove the seat belt hanger (I think that's what it's called) while preventing the belt from retracting further to give just enough slack to get the loop of seat belt from around the arm-rest of the booster seat. Once done, the belt just could be removed through the slots in the back of booster seat and fully retracted, at which point the ratcheting mechanism (that Frosty mentioned) disengaged.

I probably should've thought of that myself!

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