If you have a power seat that won’t move up and down, back and forth, or recline, this guide and video explains how to diagnose and fix an electric car seat by checking the wires, switches, and electrical connections. The power seat in this example is a typical power seat without a memory module or other types of electronics.
How to Diagnose and Fix a Power Car Seat That Won’t Move Up and Down, Back and Forth, or Recline
Steps for How to Diagnose and Fix a Power Seat Not Working
- Test the Seat’s Functions and Determine How Many Are Not Working
Check the seat and see if the other functions are working like the recliner, forward and backward, or up and down commands.
If none of the switches are working there’s most likely a problem with the power or the ground connection to the switch.
If only one function is not working, then you can inspect that specific circuit.
No matter how many functions are working, check the fuse or circuit breaker first.
- Test the Circuit’s Fuse
The circuit breaker is located in the junction box next to the brake pedal.
Remove the fuse and test it with a multimeter for continuity. If it’s an open circuit, meaning electricity isn’t getting somewhere to power the parts, the multimeter will read “OL.”
Read more on how to test a fuse with a multimeter
Reinstall the circuit breaker if it’s in good condition. If the fuse is blown, just replacing the fuse will not fix the problem. Since fuses don’t blow on their own, it’s an indicator of a wiring problem or something drawing too much current.
There’s also a problem with the circuit like a wiring problem or another related problem like an excessive electrical load if the circuit is really hot or you hear clicking when you reinstall it.
- If No Switches Are Working, Check the Seat’s Main Connector for Looseness and Power and Ground
If no switches are working, check the seat’s main connector, which is located underneath it. A loose or disconnected connector can cause problems.
While the switch is not likely to disconnect on its own, it may not have been connected properly if the seat was removed for example, or an object like a gym bag may have disconnected it.
If the connector is not loose, check the wiring for power and ground. Most of the time the ground wire will be black or brown, and the positive side will probably be a brighter color like orange or red. These will also be a little thicker since the motor needs more amperage. If you see a lot of wire, the thicker ones will be the ones connected to the motors.
Place one side of the test light into the ground side of the electrical connector and the other to the positive side of the connector. If the test light lights up, there is power and ground, the electrical connection is good, and the motor is defective. If the light doesn’t turn on, there is most likely a problem with the switch.
- To Test a Specific Switch, Find and Test Its Connector Under the Seat
You can also separate the switch panel from the seat and confirm if the electrical connectors are connected and secure. See that there’s no green corrosion or discoloration on the connector’s terminals.
To test a specific switch, you can find its connector underneath the seat, connect a test light to the power and ground, and see if the switch or the motor is defective. The process is similar to testing a power window motor.
Diagnose and Replace Parts on Many Makes and Models
Learn how to do more than diagnose a power seat that won’t move up and down, forward and back, or recline. 1A Auto’s how-to video library has thousands of videos for diagnosing and replacing parts on many makes and models with expert advice and tips.
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