Why Exploding Seatbelts Might Save Your Life
That’s right. Exploding seatbelts could save your life in the event of a collision! Seatbelt pretensioners were created to allow seatbelts to retract quickly upon impact to adjust occupants to a safer seating position. If you are unlucky enough to be in a crash, seatbelts are so important to reducing injury as much as possible so get them fastened!
How do they work?
Pretensioners work by removing the slack and forcing the passengers into a position where they can be better protected by the airbag.
Are there different types of pretensioners?
Funny you should ask because they ARE different types of pretensioners…
Mechanical pretensioners are usually connected to a long spring, compressed into a tube and kept as such until a collision occurs. The spring is released and pulls on the buckle to tighten the seat belt.
Pyrotechnic pretensioners are a little more Hollywood in that they include an explosion. Controlled by an electronic control unit (ECU) and a gas generator, it works in sync with the airbag. Gas is produced which acts as a pressure on the linkage to pull the seat belt.
Both are designed to be used once and both slacken off slightly around the same time that the air bags are deployed to control contact. Pretty clever stuff ey?
How do I know if the car I want has pretensioners?
If you are browsing online, check the specification under safety as it will most likely be detailed here. If it isn’t, you can always ring the dealership to find out!