This information provides the operational requirements and conditions for seatbelts in motor vehicles. All seat belts should be original equipment — as installed by the vehicle manufacturer — or compliant replacements.

Tongue and buckle assembly

Check the engagement of the tongue and buckle:

  • The buckle and tongue assembly should securely latch together with only limited free play.
  • The tongue should eject actively when released.
  • There should be no visible cracks or other damage on the buckle
  • A seatbelt bucker coming apart

    Example - damaged buckles

    A seatbelt bucker coming apart that has been taped up

    Example - damaged buckles

  • The buckle cover must be in position and undamaged.
  • The tongue should have no metal deformation or visible cracks on metal or plastic sections.

Pyrotechnical buckle pretensioner

If the pyrotechnical buckle pre-tensioner has fired, then the stalk cover will be deformed, and the buckle will sit low on the stalk. Both buckle and belt assemblies must be replaced.


  • Pull the belt out as far as it will go then release it. The belt should return all the way to the retractor without sticking, gripping, or stalling.
  • The retractor should lock if the webbing is pulled out suddenly.


  • The webbing should be securely attached to its end fittings, displaying no stretching or pulled stitching.
  • Seatbelt webbing with stretch damage caused by a collision

    Example - stretch damage
    from a collision

  • The webbing should be flat (untwisted and not tied in a knot) throughout its entire length.
  • The webbing should not be:
    • frayed
    • Seatbelt webbing with fraying along the edge

      Example - fraying edge wear

      Seatbelt webbing with excessive fraying from the edge

      Example - excessive fraying
      with edge damage

    • burnt
    • rippled
    • split
    • torn
    • altered or modified.
  • Look for severe fading as exposure to sunlight could reduce the strength; this could be apparent as visible texture change of the webbing fabric.

Note: The pictures shown above are examples only and not objective. The extent and type of damage will vary from one vehicle to another.


  • Ensure all anchorages are securely attached and free from corrosion, distortion, cracks, fractures, or other damage likely to cause failure.
  • All anchorages should be either:
  • Seat belt assembly should be securely fastened to the anchorages.

Contact Vehicle Standards



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Page last updated 13 April 2023

Provided by:
Department for Infrastructure and Transport
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