Solving your car power seat problem may be preceded by conducting a thorough diagnosis of the likely causes of stuck seat. How to manually move a power seat can be an easy DIY task which will save you a lot of money.

Most vehicles in that market today are shipped with power seats already installed in them, unlike it used to be in the recent past when this type of seats was the preserve of luxury cars. Whenever you encounter a jammed seat, you need to know the type of seat that has been installed in your vehicle before trying out any solution to manually move your car’s power seat.

Power seats come in two broad categories; the four-way and the six-way power seat. The four-way power seat allow for motion in the forward-backward and up-down direction while the six-way power seat will move in the same directions as the four-way seat, but with additional fine-tuning adjustments that support lumbar adjustments as well as the ability to tip the seat bottom by adjusting the front section to be raised or lowered with respect to the back-rest alignment.

A seat may be jammed if it cannot freely move in the forward or backward direction, but can only move in one direction, or simply works inconsistently. Your first step is to find out if your seat’s other components are working, by confirming that the fuse, the relay switch, and the circuit breaker are in good condition. You can also confirm if the car’s electrical circuit is complete. When no other components seem to be working then it is high time you headed to your favorite auto shop to get a new fuse for replacement.

Look on the seat trails if you can spot any stain from sticky liquids such as sodas or a coin lodged in between forcing the power seat to stay locked in one position.

I may offer some solutions that will make it easier to manually move the power seat without spending any money.


Things You Need

Now that you have tried moving your vehicle’s power seat and it seems not to be moving, you will need to get yourself ready with the following instruments to confirm that other components of the car seat are working.

Automotive Meter

You can use this device to get the voltage output that your seat is receiving from the power source.


A Cordless Drill Battery pack

Very essential for hot wiring the power seat motors during diagnosis.

Car Battery

Needed to provide voltage when testing the power seat motors as well as the relay switches.

Car Battery

Allen-Key, Pliers and Spanners

Very essential for loosening tight bolts or for opening control panels when accessing the powers seat wiring.


What to Do

1. Contact Diagnosis

Bad contacts can also lead to electrical transmission failure rendering the seat immobile. Confirm that seat switch mechanism has clean contacts and that is making proper contact with other connecting points so that you can be sure the seat is properly powered.

2. Swap Motor Connectors

All seat motor connectors have the same connectors, You can try to move your car’s power seat by, for example, moving the middle connector to the front motor connector if you intend to move the seat forward. By doing so when you activate the middle motor the seat will move forward or backwards assuming that the front motor connector has a problem. An alternate and almost similar solution are to hotwire the front motor of the seat to a 12 volts battery and see if you can initiate a forward seat movement ( the same can be done to the back and middle motors for backward and sideway movements).

3. Check the Engine Control Unit (ECU)

Some vehicles have their engine control unit battery hidden on the left front seat. The ECU has its own battery that stores the seat position memory and other various components such as mirrors. When the ECU battery dies, moving the car power seat may be stuck in one position or you may exhibit unexpected results such as the mirror button moving the seats and the seat button moving the mirrors. To be able to move your seat manually you can remove the small battery to clear all memory, then manually move the seat to a comfortable position as you plan to buy another battery.

3. Check the Engine Control Unit (ECU)

4. Push the Seat Down Then Move it

This is the simplest and should be your first line of action provided that the motors are still on and running and you have also confirmed that nothing is hindering the seat movement. Simply push the seat downwards with considerable pressure while at the same time moving the seat backward or forward depending on the position you want to move the seat. You can try the same for the side movements.

Alternately you can hold on to the switch and try to move the seat in the desired direction.( if this does not work, you may need to replace the entire seat motor).

4. Push the Seat Down Then Move it

5. Re-Align Transmission Cables

Look below the seat you will find three cables that connect to the power seat transmission and check if they are all connected. A common problem here is one cable may be disconnected. All you have to do is to push the cable back to its position ( A click will confirm correct positioning). In some instances where the cables are worn out due to entanglement between the seat and rail, you may need to replace them.

6. Hot Plugging ‘Memory Seats’

This requires someone with experience in handling the intricate details of a car’s electrical wiring. Connect your battery pack to the fuse block, with the positive terminal connected to the fuse and the negative terminal connected to the brake master cylinder. Try and locate the coded wires and ‘test’ to see the direction of seat movement. The wires are coded as follows:

  • The violet wire moves the seat forward.
  • The blue one the seat backwards.
  • To raise the seats you touch the the white colored wire.
  • Black wire to lower the seat.

7. Loosen the Seat Bolts

Another reason to look at as to why your vehicle’s power seat are stuck could be as a result of the built up tension between the seat and the bolts connecting it to the rails. Loosening them may give the seat a maneuvering space.


To manually move your car’s power seat could be as easy as removing stuck coins from the seat track or could be as complicated as testing the contacts, relays, and motors for power transmission. When you realize that your car’s power seat can only move in certain direction and not in others, I recommend a permanent solution which is to replace the switch after carefully testing its terminals.

I am sure you would want your seat to be back to its normal seamless power adjustments, then the best way to make sure this is the case, Whenever your car is scheduled for service let the service personnel look into the status of your car’s power seat switch and assembly.

The solutions offered in this article are quite straightforward and can be done right at the parking lot without the help of a mechanic. As always make sure you conduct a proper diagnosis to get rid of the most obvious problems. If you like the solutions highlighted here, we welcome your criticism and additional comments that relate to this common problem.

This Video link will help you sort out the forward-backward movement of your power seat.

If you have some questions about or suggestions for this article, kindly leave them in the comments section. You can also share this article with your friends and family if you liked it!

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Chief editor at Paul's Gigantic Garage. I came up with this blog to help you to sort out some basic problems your car may be facing and in turn, save lots of cash by some of my DIY tips that I hope will get your car out of its current situation. I also had in mind motor enthusiasts who for the love of cars who are constantly looking for information about cars on the latest trends, questions, fixes, driving, tricks, and accessories.


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