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How to Manually Move a Power Seat Without Bringing It Down

How to Manually Move a Power Seat Without Bringing It Down

The power seat in your car will be rendered immovable when the motor suddenly dies. Electrical troubles are unforeseen events, but it can be detected earlier if you are keen enough. But when the power seat’s switch panel suddenly malfunctioned, what will you do to move the seat manually?

  • Power drill
  • 1/4 inch drive ratchet

Whatever might be the cause, you have to address first the situation and get check the problem later. Once an immediate repair is not possible at this time, a quick fix might be needed.

Almost all current models of cars have power seats. Once they broke down while there is no mechanic on site, you have to be contented with its present position. Or do some action if the situation calls for it. In this case, we shall teach you some basic techniques on how to manually move a power seat.

On this tutorial, you could learn some “first aid” tips. Fortunately for you, you don’t have to take down the seat from the car for a quick adjustment. However, you should still bring your car to a reliable mechanic to diagnose and correct the problem. He can surely make the necessary action to correct the problem.

What tools do you need

  • Power drill
  • 1/4-inch drive ratchet
  • 1/4 Square bit socket
  • Vise-grip

Step by step instructions

  • Using a power drill
  • Look under the seat

You have to bend down on your knees to see under the driver’s seat. What you will see is the power seat assembly. You will notice that it has 3 (some models have 4) motors arranged in series.

  • Notice the cables
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Common power seats have 3 motors. The first is utilized to move the seat back and forth. The second is to raise or lower the seat, while the third is to tilt the lumbar seat backward or forward. The 4th motor in other more advanced car models is used to move the seat front to back. This makes 2 separate operations in controlling the horizontal movement of the seat compared from the 3-motor power seat of other models.

Take note of the cables, every motor has its cable coupled to it on each end. Every motor controls each set of motion of the seat.

  • Disconnect cables

Disconnect these cables from the motors. The metal end (usually 1/4-inch in size) of the cables (the end mounted on the motor’s shaft) rotates when the motors are switched on, and this spins the screw shaft where the seat is mounted. This makes the motion possible. If you are not aware on which cable makes the back and forth motion, see the next step.

  • Determine which runs what

There is one way you can determine the one that triggers back and forward motion of the power seat. Set your power drill and put the metal end of the cable on the drill’s mouth. Since a power drill could be reversed, run it first in a clockwise direction.

Do this on each cable until you find which one is running the back and forth motion of the power seat.

  • Moving the power seat on your desired position

Once you determined which motor is the right one, continue this procedure until you reach the perfect position of your seat. Just remember that you only have to reverse the drill to make a back and forth motion of the power seat.

  • Using a socket or vise-grip

When you do not have a power drill, don’t be alarmed. You can still use a regular socket with a ratchet or a pair of vise-grip. But this procedure has one major setback: it will take much longer before you can adjust the seat.

This surely is better than you drive with your chest too close to the wheel or the other way around. The point is, you can make adjustments with the seat, period.

Socket set - Via Amazon.com

  • Mount the (or vise-grip) socket into the metal end

Just like what you would do if you use a power drill, mount the socket attached to a ratchet or vise grip to the end of the cable. Be sure that they are tightly in place to avoid slippage which will make your task takes longer.

  • Rotate the tools

Turn the socket or vise-grip to where you want the power seat moved (back or forward). You can also turn your tools in reversed if your adjustment is too long or too short. Continue rotating the tools until you achieve your desired position.

  • Finding the cause of the problem

There are possible causes of malfunctioning power seats. This could be because of the following:

  • Busted fuse

Busted fuse can be easily replaced by your car technician when it is found defective. This little piece of electronics is used as the “bridge” between the power supply and the switch. Power seats usually use 20A fuse. When this bridge sense a surge of power, it automatically blows off to protect the motor.

  • Burnt or shorted motors

Burnt motors may be because of defective bearings or the sudden surge of abnormal voltage. Motors are one of the most expensive parts of a power seat assembly, and they are an elaborate part of the device. Only knowledgeable technicians should be allowed to test or replace the motors.

  • Debris in the seat tracks

Carelessness inside your car can also harm some of the devices overboard. Thrashes, pencils, pens, and other small or big debris could ruin the performance of your power seat. They can clog up moving parts of the assembly or block the tracks of the seat which can burn switch, and worst, it can burn the motor.

  • Busted switch
These are some of the common signs that you might have to replace the power seat’s switch:
  • Slow movement of the seat in any direction.
  • Sudden stoppage of the switch while in operation.
  • The seat is immovable in any direction.
  • The seat won’t move back and forth.

If your technician found any one of these symptoms in your car’s power seat, it might be possible to replace the switch.

There are heavy-duty switches available in Amazon that could efficiently serve your power seat with minimum of maintenance. Like the Genuine Nissan (87066-CD001) Seat Switch and the Wells SW2348 HVAC Control Switch. Check this two out if adaptable to your car.

You can buy heavy-duty motors in Amazon that will surely prolong the life of your power seat. Some models like the Dorman 924-556 Power Seat Motor and the Motorcraft MM950 Power Seat Motor are proven to lasts. Just check them out if they fit your power seat model.


Did you enjoy this tutorial? Surely, inappropriate power seat position affects the driver's capacity to safely operate a car. The driver’s incorrect distance from the pedals and steering wheel will surely have bad consequences when driving, especially in long distances. This some knowledge on how to manually move a power seat that we have shown you may actually save lives.

Please like us and share this with others if you like it. You too can save lives.

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About the author

Carolina - Care My Cars

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