Seat Belts

Wearing Seat Belts

Using seat belts and child safety seats is the most effective way to protect occupants if a collision occurs. Therefore, wearing a seat belt is required by law in most jurisdictions.

All seats are equipped with three-point inertia reel seat belts. Inertia reel belts are automatically tensioned to allow occupants to move comfortably during normal driving conditions. To securely hold child safety seats, all passenger seating positions are equipped with an automatic locking retractor (ALR) feature that, by fully extracting the seat belt (beyond the length needed for a typical adult occupant), locks the belt into place until the seat belt is unbuckled (see Installing Seat Belt Retained Child Seats).

The seat belt reel automatically tightens or locks to prevent movement of occupants if Model 3 experiences a force associated with hard acceleration, braking, cornering, or an impact in a collision.

Seat Belt Reminders

a red person with their seat belt fastened
The seat belt reminder on the touchscreen alerts you if a seat belt for an occupied driver or passenger seat is unbuckled. If all occupants are buckled up and the reminder stays on, re-buckle seat belts to ensure they are correctly latched. Also remove any heavy objects (such as a briefcase) from an unoccupied seat. If the reminder light continues to stay on, contact Tesla.

You can temporarily disable a seat belt reminder associated with a rear seating position. This is useful when you are carrying an object in a rear seat that triggers the seat belt reminder alert. To disable the reminder, touch the associated seat on the seat belt reminder popup message that displays on the touchscreen when a seat belt reminder is active. When a reminder is disabled, the seat belt reminder icon is replaced by a seat icon, for the current drive only. Touch the seat again to re-enable the reminder.

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Warning
Seat belts must be worn by passengers in all seating positions. Do not disable a seat belt reminder when the seating position is occupied by a passenger.

To Fasten a Belt

  1. Ensure correct positioning of the seat. See (see Correct Driving Position) for details on the correct position of the driver's seat.
  2. Draw the belt out smoothly, ensuring the belt lays flat across the pelvis, chest and mid-point of your collar bone, between the neck and shoulder. Ensure the belt is routed correctly and is not twisted. Never sit on the seat belt or any seat belt component.
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    Warning
    A twisted or incorrectly routed seat belt can cause damage and interfere with the functionality of the seat belt system.
  3. Insert the latch plate into the buckle and press together until you hear a click indicating it is locked in place.
    Person putting on seat belt with a zoombox showing an arrow from the latch plate to the buckle
  4. Pull the belt to check that it is securely fastened.
  5. Pull the diagonal part of the belt toward the reel to remove excess slack.

To Adjust the Shoulder Anchor Height

Model 3 is equipped with an adjustable shoulder anchor for each front seat to ensure that the seat belt is positioned correctly. The seat belt should lay flat across the mid-point of your collar bone while in the correct driving position (see Correct Driving Position). Adjust the height of the shoulder anchor if the seat belt is not positioned correctly:

  1. Press and hold the button on the shoulder anchor to release the locking mechanism.
  2. While holding the button, move the shoulder anchor up or down, as necessary, to correctly position the seat belt.
  3. Release the button on the shoulder anchor so that it locks into position.
  4. Without pressing the button, pull on the seat belt webbing and attempt to move the shoulder anchor downward to check that it is locked into position.
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Warning
Ensure that the seat belt is positioned correctly and that the shoulder anchor is locked into position before driving. Riding in a moving vehicle with the seat belt positioned incorrectly or with the shoulder anchor not locked into position can reduce the effectiveness of the seat belt in a collision.

To Release a Belt

Hold the belt near the buckle to prevent the belt from retracting too quickly, then press the button on the buckle. The belt retracts automatically. Ensure there is no obstruction that prevents the belt from fully retracting. The belt should not hang loose. If a seat belt does not fully retract, contact Tesla.

Wearing Seat Belts When Pregnant

Do not put the lap or shoulder sections of the seat belt over the abdominal area. Wear the lap section of the belt as low as possible across the hips, not the waist. Position the shoulder portion of the belt between the breasts and to the side of the abdomen. Consult your doctor for specific guidance.

Pregnant woman with seat belt positioned between breasts and to the side of abdomen
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Warning
If the seat belt is uncomfortable, adjust the seating position instead of wearing the seat belt incorrectly.
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Warning
Never place anything between you and the seat belt to cushion the impact in the event of a collision.

Seat Belt Pre-tensioners

The front seat belts are equipped with pre‑tensioners that work in conjunction with the airbags in a collision. The pre‑tensioners automatically retract both the seat belt lower anchor and the upper shoulder webbing, reducing slack in both the lap and diagonal portions of the belts, resulting in reduced forward movement of the occupant.

Person in car seat wearing a seat belt with arrows on the lap belt pointing to the buckle and arrows on the shoulder portion pointing to the seat belt anchor

If the pre-tensioners and airbags did not activate in an impact, this does not mean they malfunctioned. It usually means that the strength or type of force needed to activate them was not present.

The rear outboard seats are equipped with shoulder pre-tensioners to retract the seat belt webbing to reduce forward movement of the occupant.

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Warning
Do not bend, sit on, or interfere with the pre-tensioner assembly. Doing so can cause damage that interferes with the proper functionality of the seat belt system.
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Warning
Once the seat belt pre-tensioners have been activated, they must be replaced. After any collision, have the airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners and any associated components checked and, if necessary, replaced.

Testing Seat Belts

To confirm that seat belts are operating correctly, perform these checks on each seat belt.

  1. With the seat belt fastened, give the webbing nearest the buckle a quick and forceful pull. The buckle should remain securely locked.
  2. With the seat belt fastened, give the webbing closest to the door a quick and forceful pull. The permanent seat belt attachment should remain securely locked. Never attempt to remove this attachment.
  3. With the belt unfastened, unreel the webbing to its limit. Check that unreeling is free from snags, and visually check the webbing for wear. Allow the webbing to retract, checking that retraction is smooth and complete.
  4. With the webbing half unreeled, hold the tongue plate and pull forward quickly. The mechanism should lock automatically and prevent further unreeling.

If a seat belt fails any of these tests, repair immediately. Do not allow occupants to sit in a seat with a failed seat belt.

For information about cleaning seat belts, see Seat Belts.

Seat Belt Warnings

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Warning
Seat belts should be worn by all occupants at all times, even if driving for a very short distance. Failure to do so increases the risk of injury or death if a collision occurs.
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Warning
Secure small children in a suitable child safety seat as described in the Owner's Manual. Always follow the child safety seat manufacturer's instructions when installing.
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Warning
Ensure that all seat belts are worn correctly. An improperly worn seat belt increases the risk of injury or death if a collision occurs.
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Warning
Never sit on top of any seat belt component. Doing so can cause damage or improper deployment of safety equipment.
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Warning
Do not wear seat belts over hard, fragile or sharp items in clothing, such as pens, keys, eyeglasses, etc. The pressure from the seat belt on such items can cause injury.
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Seat belts should not be worn with any part of the strap twisted.
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Each seat belt assembly must be used by one occupant only. It is dangerous to put a seat belt around a child being carried on an occupant’s lap.
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Seat belts that have been worn in a collision must be inspected or replaced by Tesla, even if damage to the assembly is not obvious.
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Seat belts that show signs of wear, or have been cut or damaged in any way must be replaced immediately.
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Avoid contaminating a seat belt’s components with any chemicals, liquids, grit, dirt or cleaning products. If a seat belt fails to retract or latch into the buckle, it must be replaced immediately. Use the mobile app to schedule a service appointment.
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Do not make modifications or additions that can prevent a seat belt mechanism from taking up slack, or that can prevent a seat belt from being adjusted to remove slack. A seat belt with slack greatly reduces occupant protection.
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Do not make modifications that can interfere with the operation of a seat belt, or that can cause a seat belt to become inoperable.
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Do not use after market comfort and convenience products that attach to the seat belts.
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When seat belts are not in use, they should be fully retracted and not hanging loose. If a seat belt does not fully retract, schedule a service appointment.
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Warning
The seat belt system has no user serviceable parts and may contain pyrotechnics. Do not disassemble, remove, or replace components.