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Old seat belts

On older model cars without air bags, how do you know if the seat belt still works? When I yank on the driver belt shoulder harnass, it doesn’t “catch”. The ones in the rarely used back seat do. Does this mean my driver’s seat belt is worn out and needs to be replaced?

This is one of those questions that only get answered by being in a wreck…You live or die, then you know…If you try to replace them with new parts, you are in for another nasty surprise in most cases. There ARE no “new parts”. Ten years, that’s it. Because this is a MAJOR liability issue, few shops or mechanics will touch it…

Seatbelts will not lock up while the vehicle is standing still and in PARK or the PARKING brake is applied. (At least my '04 Matrix works that way)

You can test this yourself, BUT, caution and common sense prevails.

Find an EMPTY parking lot (check them out at different times of day) and do not attempt this at night or you’ll find yourself explaining to an officer of the law just what you are doing. OK?

Give yourself lots of travel space and get the vehicle moving quickly.

25 to 30mph is enough to try this.

Hammer on the brakes and try to throw yourself forward (not TOO aggresively now) at the same time. Be prepared to immediately restrain yourself if the seatbelt does not work.

BTW, how old is the Corolla?

The Corolla is a 1990 with automatic 3 speed transmission.

A shoulder harness works on the pendulum principle. When you hit something the pendulum swings forward and locks into a notch on the gear which then locks the belt.

Over time the pendulum can get sticky with a grease/dirt film and this could be causing your problem.
Some trim would have to be removed to access the mechanism and find out what’s going on in there.