May 17, 2016 3 min read

How to find the tether points in your car

What is a top tether?

Almost all ISOfix car seats will have a third point of contact with the car, the new i-Size car seats always have a third point of contact. Without getting too jargon-ey, that means that the child car seat will connect to your car with the two isofix points, and either a top tether, or a support leg. The tether and the support leg (both third points of contact) both do the same thing in an accident, they help stop the forward momentum. Some car seats that install with a seatbelt also have a top tether.

The child car seat will attach to the tether bolts using a strap that looks like a car seat belt, with a clip on the end.

The problem with top tethers

Tethering incorrectly is one of the most common mistakes parents make when installing car seats, and it's not hard to see why:
  • Tether points aren't in the same place in every car
  • Not all cars have tether points
  • On some cars tether points are called anchor points
  • Luggage clips look deceptively like tether points
  • Sometimes tether points are in the middle of the boot- people unclip the tether to get more into the boot
  • Tether points aren't always clearly labelled
  • Not all child car seats have tether straps
After all the problems we've listed above, it's important that you find the real tether point in your car. Remember that if your child car seat has a tether point, that it would have passed the safety testing using the tether, and it's an integral part of the safety of the seat. We can't know how the seat will perform without the tether, and we definitely wouldn't recommend that you use the seat without the tether (if it has one).

How to find the tether points in your car

The first stop is your car's manual. It will tell you where the tether points are located.

Spot the anchor point!

Anchor points/ tether points/ tether bolts (all the same thing!) tend to be square-ish in shape, and thicker metal than a luggage clip. They'll usually be in the centre of a seat, so the back seat of the car may have two or three anchor points, in the centre of each seat.

They're usually D shaped, but not always!
You can also have a look in the car. Some tether points will have an anchor symbol next to them, like this.
Anchor bolt symbol. Note that the symbol is still quite a distance from the actual bolt- that's the anchor bolt at the top right. Confusing!

Anchor bolt symbol. Note that the symbol is still quite a distance from the actual bolt- that's the anchor bolt at the top right. Confusing!

Beware of luggage clips

Make sure you don't secure the car seat to a luggage clip. Luggage clips aren't as strong as tether bolts as they aren't designed to hold much weight in the event of an accident.
We hope that you've found this article, please contact us if you're confused about the location of the tether points in your car, we're happy to help!

Common tether point locations

You might find the tether points behind in the middle or the bottom of the seat back. It might be at the top of the seat (kind of underneath the head rest), or somewhere in the boot.

Can I have tether points retro fitted?

If your car doesn't have tether points, you can have them fitted by some mechanics. Obviously there is a cost involved, and not all child car seats require the use of a top tether, so in most cases we would recommend looking for a different child car seat without a tether. If you already own the child car seats and you've just bought a new car without tether points, installing them will probably be a cheaper option than buying new car seats. Here are a few garages in Auckland who provide the service.

See our selected range of car seats here

Anchor Bolt Installers in Auckland

Seatbelt Specialists
5 Silverfield Road
0800 467 233

Auckland Seatbelts (mobile service)
027 273 8802

Seatbelt Installers Mechanical Repairs
1 Maurice Road
(09) 525 3214

Seatbelt Specialists (mobile service)
(09) 444 0099

Seatbelts & Services
17 Industry Road
(09) 525 3627

203 Lincoln Road
(09) 837 0600

Mt Eden Automotive
18 Mt. Eden Road
Mt. Eden
(09) 373 5509

Safer Seatbelts Ltd
182-184 Great South Road
Takanini 0800 732 823

Barry Clarke Automotive
273E West Coast Road
Glenn Eden
(09) 818 1854

Stoddard Road Motors (2000)
56-58 Stoddard Road
Mt Roskill
(09) 630 8634

Tetley Wheaton Automotive Ltd
159 Apriana Ave
Glen Innes
(09) 528 7867