Power Seat Not Working? Here’s What You Need to Do

Discover the causes and fixes of a power seat not working properly

  • Causes
  • Diagnosis
  • Manually Adjusting Power Seat
  • Repairing Power Seat Motor
  • FAQs

One of the most convenient features in modern vehicles is the electric car seat, providing comfort and flexibility with just the push of a button. However, encountering a situation where your powered seats seem stuck can be frustrating. 

Let’s explore the common causes of a malfunctioning power seat and how to diagnose the issue.

Common Causes of a Malfunctioning Power Seat

Common causes of a power seat not working
Several factors can contribute to a malfunctioning power seat including electrical and mechanical issues

The evolution of car seat over time has led to the development of many exciting features in it. Fom child car seats to power seats, now available in almost all modern cars, the car seats have seen many changes. Here we will discuss about the power seats and the issues they face.

However, with time or due to other factors a power seat may malfunction and diagnosing the specific issue requires a systematic approach. Here are some common reasons why a power seat might malfunction:

Electrical Issues

The electrical issues with a malfunctioning power seat are discussed below:

Blown Fuse

A blown fuse in the power seat circuit can disrupt its functionality. Fuses protect electrical circuits and may blow due to a power surge or a short circuit.

Faulty Wiring

Damaged or disconnected wiring can prevent the proper flow of electricity to the power seat components.

Broken Switch

The power seat controls, including switches and buttons, can wear out or break over time. A malfunctioning switch may result in the loss of specific seat adjustments.

Faulty or Loose Switch Connector

Connectors between the switches and the power seat may become loose or damaged, affecting communication.

Poor Ground Connection

A poor or corroded ground connection can lead to electrical issues, affecting the overall performance of the power seat.

Motor Issues

Here are some common motor issues due to which your power seat stops working.

Worn-out Motor

The electric motor responsible for adjusting the seat position can wear out over time, leading to a loss of movement in one or more directions.

Burned Motor Winding

Continuous use or electrical issues may cause the motor windings to burn out, resulting in a non-functional power seat.

Mechanical Issues

The mechanical issues observed in a malfunctioning power seat include:

Obstruction in Tracks

Objects lodged in the seat tracks or mechanical components can impede the seat’s movement. Clearing any obstructions may resolve the issue.

Damaged Gear Mechanism

Gears responsible for translating motor movement to seat adjustment may become damaged or stripped, preventing proper operation.

Sensor and Memory Module Problems

One of the causes of a power seat not working properly could indicate sensor or memory module problems.

Faulty Position Sensors

Some power seats have position sensors that communicate with the control module. One of the symptoms of a power seat not working is the malfunctioning sensors which can lead to inaccurate seat positioning.

Issues with the Memory Module

Seats equipped with memory functions may face problems with the memory module especially due to electrical issues faced after replacing car battery. This may result in the loss of saved seat positions.

Moreover, with time, various components of the power seat, including motors, switches and wiring, can experience wear and tear, impacting their functionality. Now let’s find out how to diagnose power seat issues.

Diagnosing the issue of a malfunctioning power seat
You must diagnose the issue of a malfunctioning power seat to work out an effective solution

How to Diagnose Power Seat Issues

Diagnosing issues with a malfunctioning power seat can be a systematic process. Follow these detailed steps to pinpoint the problem and work towards an effective solution.

Step 1: Test the Seat’s Functions

Begin by checking the various functions of your power seat:

  • Test recliner function.
  • Check forward and backward movement.
  • Examine the up and down commands.


  • If none of the switches work, there may be a problem with the power or ground connection to the switch.
  • If only one function is not working, focus on inspecting that specific circuit.
  • Regardless of the number of working functions, check the fuse or circuit breaker.

Step 2: Test the Circuit’s Fuse

Locate the circuit breaker, usually positioned in the junction box next to the brake pedal. Take out the fuse related to the power seat. Now, use a multimeter to test the fuse for continuity. Note that an ‘OL’ reading indicates an open circuit. However, if the circuit breaker is in good condition, reinstall it. If the fuse is blown, replacement alone may not solve the problem. Investigate wiring issues or excess current draw.

Note: A hot circuit or clicking sounds during reinstallation may indicate wiring problems or excessive electrical load.

Step 3: Check the Seat’s Main Connector

If none of the switches are working, inspect the seat’s main connector, usually located underneath. Identify the main connector beneath the seat and ensure the connector is not loose or disconnected. 

After that, examine the wiring for power and ground. Ground wires are typically black or brown, while power wires are brighter colours like orange or red.

Test the Wires with a Test Light

  • Place one side of the test light on the ground side of the electrical connector.
  • Connect the other side to the positive side.
  • If the test light illuminates, indicating power and ground, the electrical connection is sound and the motor may be defective.
  • If the light remains off, there may be an issue with the switch.

Step 4: Test a Specific Switch

If necessary, separate the switch panel from the seat and examine the electrical connectors. Confirm that the electrical connectors are securely connected without green corrosion or discolouration on the terminals.

Note: A thorough examination of the connectors helps identify potential issues with individual switches.

Once diagnosed, you can proceed with the appropriate fixes of a power seat not working or get your seats replaced. However, if you are stuck in the middle of nowhere with your power seat not moving, it is better to try to move the seat manually. Let’s find out how to manually adjust a power car seat.

How to Manually Move a Power Car Seat

Before attempting any repair, it’s crucial to ensure the vehicle’s engine is turned off. For added safety, disconnect the car’s batteries to prevent the flow of electricity to the power seat. Here’s a detailed step-by-step process of manually moving a power car seat:

  • Carefully detach the negative battery cable of the car seat and set it aside, ensuring safety during the repair process.
  • Use a screwdriver to unfasten all screws holding the trim panel of the car seat. Pull out the seat cover to release any remaining clips, gaining access to the seat’s internal components.
  • Push down and slide off the power seat switch connector. Once disconnected, proceed to manually move the power seat.
  • Either unfasten trim screws or use a knife or scissors to cut open the rear end of the seat, exposing the lengthy shafts controlling the seat position.
  • Cut any mesh along the axis, revealing the seat’s position control shafts. Use pliers to move these poles in the desired direction (Left for forward or right for backwards).
  • Adjust the seat position until you are comfortable. Test drive the car to ensure the desired position is achieved. 

While temporary manual adjustments can offer a quick solution and improve car ergonomics, addressing the root cause through proper troubleshooting is important. Moreover, if you car seat cover got damaged during the process, here is a list of vendors for car seat covers in Dubai, from where you can find a reliable cover.

Additionally, you can also try repairing the power seat motor and see if the problem resolves. That said, let’s learn how to repair the motor of a power car seat.

power seat moving options
If the power seat is not working, you can try to move it manually after some adjustments

How to Repair the Seat Motor

By following these steps, you can repair the motor of your power car seat:

  • Unscrew the motor housing and free the cable inside, ensuring not to lose any screws. This step allows access to the internal components of the seat motor. 
  • Identify the plastic conduit and wire propeller inside the motor housing. Refer to the wiring diagram, on the car manual, to confirm the correct components, ensuring precision in the repair.
  • Securely attach the drill and motor to one side, ensuring proper mounting. Connect wires based on the wiring diagram, reconnect the motor to power and test the power seat functions.

However, if the power seat issue is beyond your expertise, seeking professional help is advisable. While this ensures a faster and more automatic fix, it comes with a higher cost, depending on the extent of damage. Furthermore, if the issue is beyond repair, the only choice you are left with is to replace it. 


Can aftermarket power seats be added to a vehicle?

Yes, aftermarket power seats can be added to vehicles. However, factory-installed seats are often better calibrated to the car’s design.

What controls a power seat?

A power seat is controlled by an electric motor. Any electrical or mechanical issues with this motor can cause malfunctioning in a power seat.

That’s all about a malfunctioning power seat and how to tackle this issue. All in all, regular maintenance, prompt identification of issues and timely repairs contribute to the longevity and optimal performance of power seats in vehicles. Moreover, it is important to know your car parts and be informed of their lifespans. Considering this, you might be interested to learn about the functioning of power windows which is a feature often neglected.

However, if your car is posing issues every now and then, it is better to switch to any of these used cars for sale in the UAE.

For more on car problems and their fixes, stay tuned to the dubizzle auto blog.



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