I have a 2000 Suzuki Esteem GLX Wagon that my husband bought used. It didn’t pass inspection at first, due to a few things (cracked CV boot, and broken door lock), but my husband fixed them and it subsequently passed. Well, I was vacuuming it out yesterday eveining and I noticed that the passenger-side seatbelt has a tag at the base that says if the “REPLACE BELT” text is showing, that the seatbelt needs to be replaced. Of course, the text is showing. Interesting how that didn’t pop up on the inspection. Anyway, I checked the driver’s side belt, and the text is showing on that tag too. I don’t see similar tags on any of the rear seatbelts (3 point belts on the outboard seats and just a lap belt in the middle).
So, is it wise and even possible to replace seatbelts yourself? This model car is not very popular, so it is hard to find anywhere with much knowledge of it and also difficult to find replacement parts. Are after-market seatbelts safe? Should we go ahead and replace all the belts in the car or just the two up front? I am especially concerned with the lap belt in the back, as that is how we have our son’s carseat anchored in the car (no LATCH in this vehicle). I wish we could buy a newer model car, but that just isn’t a possibility right now.
I’m also wondering how the belts came to be stretched so that the “REPLACE BELT” is showing. We are only the 3rd owners of the car and the Carfax report doesn’t show any history of a crash (although I know that would have to be reported to show). It has me worried about the airbags too.