CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Rear Seat Belts LOCKED (2007 Prius)

Ok. So we bought a used 2007 Prius about a week ago. The seat belts in the back worked fine until a couple of days ago. All of the sudden all three seat belts in the rear of the vehicle will not loosen. They retract further into the molding with each of our attempts to pull them out.



We have not been in an accident. The only thing I can think that might be related is that my husband and a friend took the kids on a trip together which meant installing a second car seat. They weren’t using the LATCH hooks. Maybe they pulled one of the belts out too far and activated something?



I’ve looked through the manual, through forums, and searched endlessly but no one seems to share this issue. Ideas?? I’m guessing the ALR is engaged but can’t figure out how to reset it without taking it to the dealer (and spending a lot of unnecessary money).

Kermit The Frog: It’s Not Easy Being Green.

Green Mama, have you called your dealer? Run this by them. There could be an easy solution. They can’t charge you for a call, can they? Do what I do. Call several Toyota dealers. Some know what’s happening and some don’t. The internet can give you several toll free numbers.

CSA

No money should be necessary, contrary to what you think.

On every make of car with which I am familiar, the passenger restraints (aka seat belts) have a lifetime warranty. However, you should confirm what I am stating by opening up the glove compartment, taking out the Owner’s Manual (or other appropriately-titled booklet containing the information on all of the vehicle’s several warranties) and reading the details on the seat belt warranty. The warranty should cover the belt itself, as well as the functioning of the retractor mechanisms.

On every make of car with which I am familiar, the passenger restraints (aka seat belts) have a lifetime warranty.

Lifetime warranties only apply to the ORIGINAL owner.

I’ll call around but the warranty on the restraint systems is 60 months or 60k. My car has 90k on it.

“Lifetime warranties only apply to the ORIGINAL owner.”

That may be the case with some makes of car, but not with others.
Please allow me to quote from the relevant warranty on Subarus:

“Seat belt coverage lasts for the useful life of the vehicle and includes seat belts and related components which fail to function properly during normal use.”

As you can see, there is no mention of original owner, or subsequent owners–only that the coverage lasts as long as the vehicle is functioning, apparently. Since a warranty is, in effect, a contract, extraneous factors (such as whether the owner is the first owner) cannot be added to what is stated in print.

I don’t know how the seat belt warranty is worded on Toyotas, but my suggestion of reading the Owner’s Manual is the sure way to find out the specifics on this topic–as well as virtually everything else that the OP needs to know about the car. If the OP is lucky, perhaps Toyota’s seatbelt coverage is as good as Subaru’s

It’s a shame that Toyota terminates their warranty coverage so early.

That may be the case with some makes of car, but not with others.
Please allow me to quote from the relevant warranty on Subarus:

From Subaru’s website.

Please take a look at paragraph 3…

“These warranties only apply if the car was imported or distributed by SOA and sold to the first retail purchaser by an Authorized SUBARU Dealer in the United States.”

They don’t…Lifetime warranty…at least my 05 and my wifes 07 lexus did.

Well, it looks to me like both Toyota/Lexus and Subaru have both changed their seatbelt warranty coverage.

On my '02 Subaru, there is no restriction as to who the owner is. And, apparently on your '05 & '07 Toyota/Lexus products, it is a lifetime warranty. However, the OP tells us that the coverage on her '07 Prius is 60 months/60k. So, I am forced to conclude that both manufacturers are beginning to “cheap out” on this type of coverage.

Exactly. So does anyone have ideas on how to disengage the rear ALR?

I would suggest calling the toll-free Toyota Customer Care phone number provided in the Owner’s Manual. If the person who answers the phone can’t help you–and he/she probably can’t–they can transfer your car to a technical expert who may be able to help you.