Should You Replace Seatbelts After a Collision or When Buying a Used Car?
Should you replace a seatbelt after an accident or when you buy a used car? It is not something most people think about, but the fact is that it is a critical decision that can prevent a devastating seatbelt malfunction in the future.
Inspecting Seatbelts After an Accident
If your vehicle is not “totaled” in an automobile accident, you’ll likely continue driving it after it is repaired. Even low-speed accidents can cause significant strain on the latch, belt, internal channel, rods, and springs that comprise the seatbelt assembly.
Most insurance adjusters don’t include this in their damage reports. Moreover, auto body shops overlook inspecting the seat belt assembly for signs of damage unless otherwise directed. It’s often a hidden danger that lurks undetected until the next accident happens, at which time a seatbelt malfunction can cause significant injury or death.
Inspecting Seatbelts in a Used Vehicle
Seatbelts have an effective lifespan of between 10-15 years. If the vehicle is around this age or older, it is advisable to ask the dealer or a qualified mechanic to replace the vehicle’s seat belts. This is especially important if a Carfax history report or other information shows that the vehicle was involved in an accident in the past.
Watch Out for Counterfeit Seatbelts
Fake seatbelts and other automobile components are becoming an increasingly dangerous threat to American motorists. While customs officials and others strive to keep these out of the market, the fact is that many are making their way to store shelves and third party online retailers.
While you may feel like you are getting a deal by having seatbelts you buy online, at a junkyard, or from a third party retailer installed in your vehicle, you could be setting yourself up for a devastating seatbelt malfunction.
Protecting yourself from this hazard is simple; Whenever you replace your seatbelts or other automobile components, ask the dealer or mechanic to provide you with the original box and documentation that confirms the manufacturer or authorized distributor supplied the component.
We invite you to contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. at (303) 447-1144 for more information about the impact of a seatbelt malfunction in a car accident. It is our pleasure to tell you how you can help protect yourself and your passengers from harm.
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