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#1
Old 01-08-2011, 11:45 AM
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Are seatbelts universal?

I've recently acquired a 1996 Tercel from someone who lives in sunny Texas. The plastic button within the seatbelt buckle has aged and become brittle; the driver's side still (mostly) functions, but the release on the passenger side has become broken to the point of unusability. I'd like to go ahead and replace both while I'm at it.

Looking on the internet, I can buy either just the buckle (yes please!) or the entire seatbelt assembly, but I can't find any Toyota-specific seat belt buckles. My questions: Is the mounting assembly (aka the hole that bolts into the car) the same for every car? And is the actual buckle interchangable, and if not, how do I find one that will work for my car?

(I realize a salvage yard would be the cheapest way to find a guaranteed-compatible part, but I'm already dreading this backyard repair; I'd rather just buy the part.)
#2
Old 01-08-2011, 11:50 AM
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Take it to a Toyota dealer first. For some reason (and I may be completely wrong here) I thought seat belts have life time warranties. You may be able to get it fixed for free.

Last edited by Joey P; 01-08-2011 at 11:50 AM.
#3
Old 01-08-2011, 12:26 PM
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I actually called them the other day - they said it does have a longer warranty, but it's (only?) 10 years.
#4
Old 01-08-2011, 02:40 PM
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They're not universal. The actual buckle receiver mechanism (or whatever it's called) is possibly the same for similar vintage Toyotas and other Asian cars, but the actual assembly that attaches it to the floor or seat will be particular to your car. On some cars it is possible to replace just the receiver mechanism thing, but it's usually a serious pain in the butt involving plastic bits that don't like to go back together. Given that it's a pretty key piece of safety equipment, if it were me I'd try to get the actual correct part in an assembly.

I would try calling around to other dealers to see if one of them can give you just the receiver assembly-- it could be a case of a lazy parts desk blowing you off or misunderstanding what part you're looking for. Otherwise, I would really say a junkyard is the way to go. If the time to pull it yourself is the issue, there are plenty of "they-pull-it" yards around. car-part.com is a searchable inventory of used parts at yards that can mail parts. I think the "seatbelt" part listed there will be the long part, but presumably a yard that has that part for your car should have the receiver assembly too.
#5
Old 01-08-2011, 02:46 PM
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The junk yards I patronize won't sell seat belt parts. I don't know if it is a matter of liability or a legal restriction.
#6
Old 01-08-2011, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
I would try calling around to other dealers to see if one of them can give you just the receiver assembly-- it could be a case of a lazy parts desk blowing you off or misunderstanding what part you're looking for.
IIRC the automakers are only required to provide OE service parts for 10 years. it's quite possible that the dealer just can't get them anymore.
#7
Old 01-08-2011, 04:08 PM
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Called the dealership, and they want to charge me just a little over $100 for both, not including tax or installation. I was really hoping I could have found it on eBay or one of the discount parts websites, but that seems impossible. Kevbo, weird about the junk yard part! I didn't want to go through the work of uninstalling one, just to have to turn around and install it in my car, but the Internet says it'd save me about $70, so I might have to do it anyway. Unless anyone has better Google-fu or eBay-fu, I'll just have to plan on doing this on my day off this week.
#8
Old 01-08-2011, 04:25 PM
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Buy online

You can buy junkyard parts and seat belts online. There are countless sites. Here's the first I saw:
http://autopartswarehouse.com/se...t+belt&submit=
#9
Old 01-08-2011, 04:59 PM
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I know - I am looking for (preferably) an online source, hence the thread. The only thing that looks like it'd work is the buckle from the 2nd item on your link, again, there is no indication of what vehicles it fits, leading to my (answered) question about whether or not seatbelts are universal.
#10
Old 01-09-2011, 04:22 PM
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My suggestion is: pay the dealer. Seat belts are safety equipment; I wouldn't mess around with do-it-yourself repairs on them unless I was enough of an expert that I wouldn't need to ask this question.
#11
Old 01-09-2011, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TimeWinder View Post
My suggestion is: pay the dealer. Seat belts are safety equipment; I wouldn't mess around with do-it-yourself repairs on them unless I was enough of an expert that I wouldn't need to ask this question.
I strongly second this, and for similar reasons would never recommend installing used seatbelts. In the world of amateur motorsports, in which I participate, most sanctioning bodies require you to replace your harnesses every few years. New Jersey has a law that racecar safety belts cannot be more than two years old. (That's going a little too far, IMHO.)
#12
Old 01-10-2011, 04:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commasense View Post
I strongly second this, and for similar reasons would never recommend installing used seatbelts. In the world of amateur motorsports, in which I participate, most sanctioning bodies require you to replace your harnesses every few years. New Jersey has a law that racecar safety belts cannot be more than two years old. (That's going a little too far, IMHO.)
Two years is common with most sanctioning bodies but they allow a five year schedule for FIA certified belts. The N.J. law may allow that exemption. Many good (and less expensive) belts like G-Force have FIA certification. The last time I looked, Simpson and Impact did not.
#13
Old 01-10-2011, 09:47 AM
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Aww. Well, I suppose I'll just do that; I'm not terribly concerned about "safety" in a car that is already the size of an adult go-kart, but apparently, this is one thing you can't buy on the internet!
#14
Old 01-10-2011, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by chaoticbear View Post
Aww. Well, I suppose I'll just do that; I'm not terribly concerned about "safety" in a car that is already the size of an adult go-kart, but apparently, this is one thing you can't buy on the internet!
The seatbelts are your first line of defense against serious injury, and are even more important in a small car than a bigger one! I'm glad you're going to have them taken care of properly. You might ask your insurance company if they'll cover the cost. In some cases they will, even if it's below your deductible, because it's so important. I know some cover windshield repairs, and seatbelts have to be at least as important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunzio Tavulari View Post
Two years is common with most sanctioning bodies but they allow a five year schedule for FIA certified belts. The N.J. law may allow that exemption.
Apparently not. I was at a track event last year at the new New Jersey Motorsports Park, and they actually had a state trooper there inspecting the dates on everyone's harnesses! If they were more than two years old, you had to buy new ones! (I ended up not running that event because of technical problems, but my Schroth FIA-certified belts were slightly more than two years old, and it would have pissed me off to have to buy new ones at retail prices, especially since I only run a handful of events a year.)
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