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why is my seat belt light flashing

That year RAV4 doesn't use a buckle switch. There is a sensor mechanism on the reel, which is fairly easy to get to (seat belt anchor bolt, plastic moulding, 2 reel mounting bolts). However, since the dash light is apparently coded to only extinguish after a series of pulses from the sensor, you can't override the blinking light by simply short-circuiting. I think the problem lies in the sensor mechanism not being held together very well (poor manufacturing quality, or just bad design), and it eventually quits sending pulses. You can try taking the mechanism apart, cleaning the contacts and putting it back together.

It's a snap-together plastic gearbox. It just pops out of the side of the reel using a very small screwdriver as a wedge after you've disconnected the wire harness. You need to mark the gear position before you disassemble. Clean the carbon deposits from the contacts, put some fresh dielectric grease, replace the gear in the same position it was in, and then snap it all back together and re-install the reel. Test it before you tighten all the bolts and put the plastic moulding back on (i. e. start the engine and put the seatbelt on).

If the light still blinks, you might try testing it while someone else is holding pressure on the sensor mechanism to hold it in place. If this works, then you just need to find some way of securing it permanently - could drill a tiny hole for a set screw. If nothing seems to make it work, then either the mechanism is just too worn, or the wire to the dash is bad. Unfortunately, it's difficult to determine which of these is the case. The replacement reel/belt/sensor assembly is around $200, so not a very cheap experiment.

That's tapped me out. Hope this helps.
I had the same problem with my 2004 SR5 which I have owned since new. Did a little bit of research and it appears that the inner seat belt buckle contains a microswitch that senses when the seat belt tab is inserted. On the theory that the buckle or the microswitch has some dirt or debris in it, I decided to try cleaning the buckle/switch. I used MAF spray (any electronic cleaning spray would be fine, I think) and gave the buckle a couple of good long blasts through the tab opening in the top.

I wrapped a cloth around the buckle first to catch the liquid solvent that ran out. And just to be clear, I did this with the buckle installed and connected - i. e. I did not remove it from the vehicle. And. success! No more flashing seat belt light! As a backup, here's the part number should you need to replace the buckle - $23. 84 from 1sttoyotaparts. The -B2 is a color code, so watch out for that. Also there's a different part number if you have a manual seat. Driver seat belt inner (Buckle, W/power seat, Charcoal Left) 73240-0C050-B2

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