Seat belt indicator warning

2008 Suzuki XL7 Luxury FWD
105,000 miles
3.6L 6 cylinder engine

The “buckle seat belt” symbol keeps popping up on the dashboard for the driver’s seat even though the seat belt is certainly buckled. This happens off and on throughout a drive, but it does happen at least once every time the car is driven. Other than the constant dinging and the dashboard light, the seatbelt seems to be working properly.

We took it in to a mechanic and they said it is a switch in the seat belt assembly that is failing, but they don’t sell just the switch. They have to replace the whole assembly. They determined this by doing an electrical test in which they compared the resistance of the working passenger seatbelt to the non-working drivers seatbelt.

We are concerned that this is a problem that would cause the seatbelt to fail in the case of an accident. If we ignore this problem and just have them shut the seat belt warning sound OFF, are we in danger?

Basically I just want to know how critical is this problem? They want $500 for the part and $200 for labor.

The seat belt won’t fail; they are designed to hold you once they are fastened. You have an electrical problem a short somewhere.

Personally, I would disconnect the warning signal and just carry on. The system was designed to remind you to fasten your belt only.

+1 to Docnick’s explanation.
The OP is confusing the electrical warning signal with the mechanical function of the seatbelt.
If the belt is latched, it will not “fail” in an accident–unless the fabric portion of the belt is badly abraded or has a cut in it.

And, as Docnick stated, simply disconnecting the wiring for the warning light is the best way to go with an “orphaned” vehicle that is at least 7 years old.

The warning light was placed there to remind folks who aren’t interested in personal safety to latch the belt. Clearly, the OP is interested in safety, so the warning is redundant for him/her.

Ok. Someone else told me the "buckle switches are plugged wired into the SRS module and may affect airbag deployment."
So if the car thinks the driver is not buckled, will the airbag deploy in the case of a crash?

That is a possibility, so on that basis, it may be worthwhile to have it repaired properly.

If anything the air bag would deploy with more force if it thought the occupant was unbelted. I guess I would wire the switch closed all the time so that it thought the belt was always buckled. We went for many years without air bags, warning lights and even seat belts and somehow survived.

“We went for many years without air bags, warning lights and even seat belts and somehow survived.”

Except for the people who didn’t survive, and can’t respond…

Since none of us knows for sure the algorithm involved in deploying the airbag and how it would be affected by a seatbelt disconnected (although it definitely would not affect the force with which the bag deployed, as that’s inherent in the charge), and since disabling the warning would mean that the driver would not be aware if his/her belt were NOT properly clipped, I truly think the only acceptable answer is to get it fixed.

Besides, what if the OP’s wife drives the car, or his kids begin to drive the car? Would he/she be able to sleep nights if one of them were seriously injured because the belt wasn’t properly clipped and he/she had disabled the warning rather than fix the problem? I know if it were my family, I wouldn’t.

I’m sure glad my belt was engaged when I was rearended today. I’d probably have ended up in the hospital getting an epidural instead of driving away. I guarantee you that I won’t ever disable my seatbelt warning system.

It’s possible a little spray of electrical contact cleaner on the switch contacts will fix the problem. I’ve never tried it for car gadgets like this, but I use mine all the time on lamp switches, appliance on/on switches, and the like and it often works. It may be necessary to remove the seat belt ass’y first though, to gain needed access. And the shop might refuse to do this, as it isn’t a repair recommended by the manufacturer. But you’d know if it worked or not, b/c the resistance would return to the correct values, the seat belt alarm system would work correctly, alarm if the belt wasn’t fastened, and no alarm if they were fastened.

The safest route is probably to do what your shop says however, replace the belt.

George, that’s a great idea.
Oil-free electronics contact cleaner can be bought in spray cans at any Radio Shack… quick, while they’re still in business.

Cleaning the switch contacts will most likely solve the problem. The switch just closes and makes a connection when the belt is latched. A very simple electrical problem to fix. If cleaning the switch contacts can’t be done I would try to get a used latch from a salvage yard and replace that part of it.

The airbag for that seat may very well be designed to not deploy if the circuit for the belt latch isn’t closed, for safety reasons. Not wearing the belt could be more dangerous than not having an airbag if the airbag was deployed. I believe some people have been killed by airbags going off and they were too close to them when they did go off.

I have the same problem, would this be cover by the warranty?

You must be referring to TRICHLOROTRIFLUOROETHANE. Our avionics shops had cases of the little spray cans. It was EPA banned quite a few years ago so even if OP could find a Radio Shack (last one in my area closed last year) they would not have any.

He did originally recommend that in 2015…a google search still brings up results, though :sunglasses:

You also have a problem with the seat belt warning indicator on your 2008 Suzuki and you want to know if it would be covered by warranty? I believe that your warranty expired many years ago. :wink:

On the other hand, if you have a much newer car–of any make or model–and it is still within the “bumper-to-bumper” warranty period, then virtually any problem would be covered–unless the problem is due to negligence, or abuse, or accident damage.