How to Fix Driver Seat Recliner: Step by Step Guide

Having your seat fall back in the middle of driving can be not only annoying but also very dangerous for the driver and passersby. If that sounds like a daily or somewhat occasional situation for you, then reading this article is a perfect idea.

How to Fix Driver Seat Recliner

Our article on “how to fix driver seat recliner” will be your best bud for those temporary mishaps and fallbacks (quite literally so). Buckle up, and continue reading through these 5 simple steps, and fix your broken seat already. Low-cost, DIY, and definitely worth the time – these steps will be your lifesaver from here on out.

How to Fix The Driver Seat Recliner Step by Step:

Step 1: Removing Screws on the Backside

Before you go on ahead and take your whole seat apart, you will want to focus on the backside of it instead.

Fix Driver Seat Recliner

Take a screwdriver, preferably a Philips head one, and start unbolting the nuts behind. You should be able to take out two small screws. Start with the tiny bolt on the right first, as it will allow you to access the splined shaft behind.

Going for the right screw first will let you get a hold of the bar that is connected to the shaft, but not the latter component itself. Do not take out the left screw first since it will take the shaft out completely, and you might struggle to put things back in place later on.

Step 2: Put Glue on the Spline Shaft

For this, you will want to go for simple DIY glue or the industrial kind. We would suggest you go for the former type if you are well-experienced with this kind of stuff.

However, stick to the industrial type and call in a professional to help you out with this step.

The goal is to connect the spline shafts to one another again and keep it still like that. You also do not want the glue to dry out too fast, so you will have to complete the following tasks fast.

Step 3: Push onto the Nips

Now, take another screwdriver (this time a flat-headed one) and use it to push into the nips that tend to stick out from the bar behind. You want to push it as further back as possible, but make sure to not block any of the other components out.

If needed, walk around to the front side of the seat and push back while you have someone else hold the screwdriver in place behind. Just do not push too hard, or else you might force the seat to fall back again!

Step 4: Install the New Shaft

You now have to attach the new shaft onto the front seat. For this, first, make sure that the replacement you have purchased is a bit longer than the one you owned before.

This is because the new replacement should be leveled out with the sides of the seat when you push back again. If not, it will fall over the bar, and thus, you will be stuck with the same situation again.

Step 5: Try out

For the final step, all you have to do is go back to the front, sit on the seat and push back with your feet on the floor.

If you hear a creak or sounds of metal clashing together – stop and get up. You might require professional help after all.

However, you can rest assured that things are now fixed if the front seat slides back and forth smoothly again. You can take those screwdrivers in hand again and simply patch up all the stuff you dissected apart.

Additional Tips and Tricks

It is no surprise that the steps might not exactly work out as smoothly for you if you are DIY-ing the entire process. As a result, some additional tips might help you get along much easier with the repair.

1. Rotate the Bolts

Try rotating the bolts on the bar behind to see if they work smoothly or not. You should not have to force the bolts to move inside, as it has to be completely automatic. This will align each bracket behind the front seat into their respective places.

2. Grease the Shaft

Although not completely necessary, greasing the shaft with some oil or industrial lubricant will help it fall more easily onto the bar. However, make sure to only grease the ends of the component, and not all over it. You do not want to be stuck with an oily, messy front seat.

If the shaft still does not align properly, take it out multiple times and put it back in until it “clicks”.

3. In Goes the Motor End

This tip is also for the shaft. When putting it back in place, opt for installing it on the motor end before any other sides. This will allow you to bring out the component if needed, without actually scratching the motor every time.

Next Read: How to Fix a Recliner Chair Back: Read More

How to Find the Bolts on the Backside of the Seat?

Instead of fixing the recliner seat back into position, most people find looking for the screws much harder than the entire process.

Smaller, commuter cars might have really tiny bolts. Each of the screws will more or less, always be attached on the very back of the front seat, that too on the bottom. So, how do you find it?

All you need to do is put your fingers under the storage compartment on the backside. You can easily feel two tiny screws there.

Take up a screwdriver (a Philips-head one, as it is smaller in size) and slowly but gently start undoing the bolts. You want to go with a short-handled driver for this, as you would not want to scratch the door sill or floor unnecessarily.

Unscrewing the bolts apart can be very hard since you pretty much have to be leveled out with the floor to see them properly. Make sure to arm yourself with a tiny flashlight to see through the darkness and a handkerchief to keep your hands from sweating excessively.

Safety Procedures to Maintain While Fixing Driver Seat Recliner

Nobody would assume this repairing process to be dangerous; however, we would like to warn you otherwise. You can actually trigger the airbag system on the side while taking the seat apart piece by piece.

Not disabling this component can suffocate you to death if it somehow gets triggered due to the tweaking and adjustments being made.

Just make sure to abide by the following steps to save yourself from unnecessary accidents –

  • Disconnect the battery on the car, as keeping it on will allow the rest of the components to still operate
  • Take the right-sided fuse out of the car. You can check out a manual book or instruction guidelines to see which fuse you have to take out specifically for your car
  • Next, you will have to take off the cover on the dashboard with a flathead screwdriver
  • There will be a yellow wire on the dashboard. This one is specifically for the airbags on the passenger seat. Disable that one as well, since you do not want the bags to suddenly pop out while you are working
  • Finally, remove the lower panel of the steering wheel with the same flathead screwdriver, and disable the yellow wire from that side as well.

Next Read: How to Replace Recliner Tension Spring

What Obstructs the Driver Seat Recliner?

Literally, anything can break the recliner system of the front seat. This may be because of excess moisture that clogged the shaft or caused corrosion, or maybe even a broken plastic component on the backside.

However, the most common reason is if your car is simply just old. As a result, all of the other parts will start to rust, and this applies to the spline shaft and bar as well.

The motors responsible for reclining the seat tend to get tired and wary as time goes on. An easy way to keep your old car seat working for as long as you want is to grease it occasionally.

If that is too much trouble, either get a whole new seat or car instead! You can also just call for a professional if you are not too experienced with DIY repairing.

Final Words

As you can see, repairing your broken driver seat is no biggie at all. We hope after following all the steps mentioned in this article on “how to fix driver seat recliner”, you will be able to enjoy a better riding experience in general.

Make sure always to disable the airbag system before you start unscrewing the bolts on the backside. The yellow wire will cut off the system. On top of that, use a short-handled screwdriver, unless you want to place scratches all over the door sill and floor!

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