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How Do Electric Car Seats Work?

by Jennifer Garcia

Types

Electric car seats are not only convenient, but they are also pretty simple to use. Some are constructed so that they have simple functions such as moving back and forth, so that the distance to and from the pedals can be adjusted, while other car seat functions are more sophisticated and allow the operator to not only adjust the distance to the pedals, but also adjust the lumbar support. In addition, some electric car seats are equipped with heaters so that starting your car on a cold morning doesn't have to be a jarring experience when you sit on a cold seat. The construction of electric seats varies, depending on their functions and how many things they can do.

Process

The inner workings of an electric seat are pretty simple. All electric seats operate by using a motor. Each seat will have a motor tucked up underneath the seat and hidden from plain view. This motor is connected to a series of wires that are also located beneath the seat's cushion. The wires are connected to not only the motor, but also to the switches that make the seat operable. For example, if you are trying to move the seat back and forth, there will be a switch located on the side of the seat that will allow you to do this. This switch is wired to the motor, which in turn, is wired to the vehicle's electrical system. So basically, an electric seat works like this: You push the button, which sends a signal through the wiring to the motor, which in turn gets its power from the vehicle's electrical system.

Troubleshooting

Because a vehicle's electrical system also functions by using fuses, the vehicle will have a fuse box located on the side of the dashboard somewhere. If your vehicle's seat won't move, the first thing you will want to check is the fuse box. You can figure out which fuse controls the mechanical seat functions by referring to your owner's manual. Simply removing the cover of the fuse box will be of no help, as all the fuses look similar and are simply numbered. Refer to your owner's manual to figure out which number corresponds with the seat functions. If this does not work, there may be a problem with the wiring, and the car might need to be taken to the dealer.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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