Which is safer?

It has been a long time since my last visit to the forums. Thank you to moderators and everyone who contributes, as always, for your help.

My daughters are 9 (90% height/50% weight) and 7 (8 next month, 98% height/85 or 90% weight). They normally ride in Kiddy Cruiser 3 HBB in both my 2018 Honda Pilot, and my husband’s 2018 or 2019 Ford F-150.

The seatbelts on my car are defective. I first found this when my older daughter reached for her seatbelt when she got in the car, and it was completely detached from the floor anchor. I have found one belt after another developing holes in the webbing (look like fraying/excessive wear). The second row passenger and middle seats have been replaced.

I have been fighting with Honda and dealership since finding the second belt basically fall apart, requesting all seatbelts be replaced. I can only assume that even before holes are visible, they do not have strength to withstand crash forces. There was a third belt visibly falling apart, but I had not been aggressive following up with American Honda, after being ignored for by American Honda employee assigned to my case. I checked the (unreplaced) belt on my younger daughter’s seat monthly, and figured when the next belt failed visibly, I would deal with it.

I am traveling 10 hours on Saturday, and checked belts again several days ago. The remaining 2nd row belt, my younger daughter’s daily seat, has a hole where it attaches, and now all 3 belts in the 3rd row (which have been used maybe 20 times altogether) also have holes. I am having them replaced, but parts won’t be in until next week.

In summary: Only available seats (replaced/working belts) are second row passenger (Kiddy Cruiser 3) and middle. I purchased a Chicco Gofit plus yesterday for school run, and it fits in middle row. The belt lies where it should on shoulder of my younger daughter. I don’t feel comfortable with the belt coming from the ceiling in this position. It just doesn’t look as safe/containing, but I don’t know if this is true. I will use it for school run, but I worry about interstate travel with her in this position.

My alternatives are my husband’s F-150, which I rarely drive and handles very differently, or renting another midsize SUV.

Any suggestions or thoughts?

As an aside, I think this will be my last Honda. I had an Accord in college, Odyssey with babies/toddlers, followed by 2 Pilots. My 2016 was a “lemon” (transmission replacement and other issues within first 6 months), but Honda had great customer service, so I replaced the original Pilot with my current one. This problem with seatbelts has been the polar opposite experience, customer service-wise.

I have been treated as if I am being deceptive, when logically… how do I stand to benefit? I have had to leave my car at the dealership for service multiple times, take a lot of my time on hold and arguing, new seatbelts don’t exactly add value to the vehicle. The whole reason I purchased a Pilot is the advanced safety features in my Touring model. Defective seatbelts with the tensile strength of gauze kind of defeat the purpose of all the advanced technology in the world.

Photos of belts added for info.
 

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SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
This is a very unusual issue and I don't recall seeing anything like this with multiple seatbelt failures of this type in one vehicle. On a vehicle that is only a few years old, this seems like it has to be something that was a quality defect at the factory or something that was damaged by a technician or rodent etc.

As for what to do, obviously I would not use any position where you are concerned with seat belt integrity. If there are issues on so many belts, I would be concerned about the front rows, too.

If the F-150 is a crew cab, that would be my choice for sure. Obviously a rental is a good option if the cost isn't an issue and you are more comfortable driving a smaller vehicle.
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
I agree with Darren, but want to add that the belt coming from the ceiling in and of itself isn't a problem as long as fit is good. But yeah. I would also worry about the remaining belts.
 
This is a very unusual issue and I don't recall seeing anything like this with multiple seatbelt failures of this type in one vehicle. On a vehicle that is only a few years old, this seems like it has to be something that was a quality defect at the factory or something that was damaged by a technician or rodent etc.

As for what to do, obviously I would not use any position where you are concerned with seat belt integrity. If there are issues on so many belts, I would be concerned about the front rows, too.

If the F-150 is a crew cab, that would be my choice for sure. Obviously a rental is a good option if the cost isn't an issue and you are more comfortable driving a smaller vehicle.
Thank you for responding. I checked back in, but hadn’t seen replies before making a decision. I took my car, with the girls in the passenger and middle second row seats (where original belts were previously replaced).

I thought these defects were very weird. Someone at the dealership suggested rodent damage, but rodents leave other damage/evidence. There were no urine or fecal droppings anywhere, and no other damage. Rodents would not specifically target seat belt webbing in multiple locations, without leaving droppings or any other damage. There is damage on the plastic that contacts the third row belt (seen in one photo), but I think this is where the out-of-place, partially detached belt was stuck (I keep 3rd row folded flat normally), and rubbed against the plastic with car motion. That also surprised me, the amount of damage to the plastic just from contact friction.

I am worried about the front belts, too. The local rep apparently agreed to replace the damaged belts as a goodwill gesture, but won’t replace the front ones. The driver and passenger belts are different. The are anchored to the floor with a rigid plastic-covered piece that is much narrower than the rest of the belt. I’m debating whether to just pay to have them replaced, but hoping they were installed at a different spot on the assembly line than the other belts.

The only explanation I can come up with is some kind of chemical spill on the belts when they were in a common location prior to installation, which caused damage to the integrity if the material, but only became apparent over time/premature deterioration. After the first belt failure, I had my eyes and hands on ever accessible portion of each belt. The later failures were definitely not visible or palpable after the first or second belt failures.

i am hoping because the front belts are so different, and no failure apparent on my driver’s belt, even with many times the wear and tear of the failed belts, they escaped whatever damaged the others.

I’m probably going to trade the vehicle in early, once the car sales market normalizes. It doesn’t “feel” safe to me anymore, and I’m going to be anxious about it even with replaced belts, since I still don’t know the cause.
 
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I agree with Darren, but want to add that the belt coming from the ceiling in and of itself isn't a problem as long as fit is good. But yeah. I would also worry about the remaining belts.
Thank you for responding as well. I updated in a response to Darren, just so everyone knows the outcome, and to thank you both for responding.

I had found similar to your ceiling belt response searching old forum posts, which helped my decision.
 
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