Should I replace my seatbelts?

August 1, 2013 | By Jim Richardson


I am in the process of bringing my ’73 VW Camper back onto the road after a 15-year restoration. Since my highest priority is safety (hence new tires, brakes, brake lines, etc.), I have been wondering if I should be replacing my seatbelts due solely to their being 40 years old.

In the military aircraft industry, seatbelts are time and condition replaced, but nowhere in any restoration publication or insurance website is there a recommendation to do it for older cars. Do you have a recommendation?


It is indeed important to replace your seatbelts every few years. Few people seem to do it, but the sun and aging weaken the belts greatly. You are lucky that you are working on a VW, because just about everything is available for them. I suggest you check Volkswagen parts houses for belts and colors. They will have just what you want.

If your VW has three-point retracting belts, be sure to install the new replacements with the car on level ground because such belts are designed to lock into place if the car is tilted. They are made that way so as to provide maximum safety in the event of a collision or rollover.