Unstick my seatbelt.
February 24, 2011 8:40 PM   Subscribe

I have a dog seatbelt harness stuck in a seatbelt buckle. Help me get it unstuck.

As a favor, we picked up a friend's dog from a kennel. The dog's seatbelt harness has a tongue that slots into the seatbelt buckle. (The tongue is longer and thinner than the seatbelt buckles in our car, but we tried it a couple of times, and it attached and detached fine.) When we went to drop off the dog, the seatbelt buckle release wouldn't depress, and the tongue is jammed in the buckle.

Important details:
  • '08 Subaru Outback
  • Good natured mutt
posted by zamboni to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
A photo or two might help. It's hard to picture what you're describing. Have you tried WD-40? That's my default canned (haha) answer for questions that involve metal things and friction.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:04 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can you unscrew the seatbelt and at least free the dog so you can work on it a bit easier? My memory of Subaru seat belts is that they detach at the bottom of the stem that comes out of the seat.
posted by fshgrl at 9:06 PM on February 24, 2011

Response by poster: We took the dog out of the harness when we dropped him off the other day- it's just the harness that's left attached to the buckle. (I can see how I might have implied he's still there - all I was trying to say was that the buckle hasn't been pulled on by a 150 lb rottweiler.)

There's a harness that goes around the dog, a lead attached to the harness, and a metal seatbelt tongue on the end of the lead. The seatbelt tongue is jammed in the buckle. We've tried various permutations of pushing, pulling, and wiggling.
posted by zamboni at 9:42 PM on February 24, 2011

Probably gonna have to find a friendly-ish service shop to give you a hand or try the dealer. With a little calling around or a good relationship with your mechanic is shouldn't be too hard to get it out of the way without spending more than 20 bucks.
posted by iamabot at 9:49 PM on February 24, 2011

Best answer: The hole in the tongue is probably farther from the end of the tongue than on your car and is hanging up on the catch. Try sliding a metal spatula down either side of tongue while pressing the release button to coax it free. A couple of firm taps on either side of the buckle with a deadblow/brass hammer might work too. You need something with some mass but non marring.

I'd avoid lubricants; many will degrade the webbing of a seat belt and those that don't will impair a belt's ability to fuse in an accident.
posted by Mitheral at 9:56 PM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'd guess that the buckle's catch would be angled on one side (the 'outside', from which you push the tongue in) and roughly 90 degrees on the 'inside', where it holds the tongue in place through the tongue's hole.

You might be able to use a thin knife or spatula on the underside of the dog harness' tongue, to push down the catch. Just shove it in & it may depress the catch enough to allow the tongue to slide out. This might effectively be the same thing that Mitheral was suggesting.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:33 PM on February 24, 2011

Response by poster: The problem seemed to be that the harness tongue was thinner and longer than the regular one, and had gotten jammed somehow with the flat silver strip that the tip of the tongue usually presses down into the buckle. This was preventing the locking mechanism from going down/disengaging, and preventing the tongue from coming out. Spatulas & palette knives were too thick, but a metal kitchen skewer was able get down the side, and pop the strip away from the tongue.
posted by zamboni at 2:29 PM on March 29, 2011

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