Driver's seat won't move

Last night I drove my wife’s 2016 Hyundai Tucson, which I rarely do, and since there’s a 10" difference in our heights I tried to adjust the (power driver’s) seat but it wouldn’t move. We could both hear what sounded like an electric motor running but nothing else happened. And based on her height and the relative position of the passenger seat, the seat can’t possibly be all the way back. Later, I looked under the seat and between the seat and center console and didn’t see any loose wires or obvious obstructions. Because I rarely drive it, I have no clue how long the problem has existed. It’s going in for normal maintenance soon, and the plan is to have the seat looked at while it’s being serviced, but in the meantime, on principle, does anyone have any ideas? Thanks.

Stripped gearbox on the seat motor. Maybe cause by something jammed in the seat tracks.


In my experience, most problems of this sort are the result of something falling into the seat tracks.

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Have you tried pushing back on the seat while operating the motor?


Not yet but I will.

Second the above, clear the tracks and then help the motor with a push in the direction you want to seat to move. Some things need to be used to stay functioning.

Clear the tracks of what? There are no obstructions visible.

There might be something jammed and completely in the track (not visible). I helped my wife get a small bottle of hand sanitizer that fell between the seat and console. I had to get down and look at the seat track, and it was not easy to see inside it. Maybe your Kia is different.

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Possibly. If I get a chance I’ll try a vacuum.

Question for the experts: does the gear have a clutch or other mechanism to prevent the unit from stripping gears?

There’s a shear pin holding a pinion gear to the motor shaft.

Does it move in any direction? Front, back, up, down, tilt?

Every seat adjuster that I have worked on had a direct drive motor, no gears. There is a plastic square drive output socket on the motor that connects to a cable similar to a speedometer cable that connects to the seat adjuster.

If Hyundai is using shear pins it seems that they are designed to fail. A seat motor has limited strength and has an internal circuit breaker in case the motor stalls, it doesn’t need a clutch or shear pins.

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Sorry, I should have been more clear. It moves up and down and I can change the angle of the seat back. It just won’t move front to rear.

That is a pretty clear indication of something caught in the tracks.

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Seems that way to me too. But since I can’t see anything I’ll leave it to the professionals.

If you have a short screwdriver, you could probe inside the tracks to see if you can pop something free.

Could be. I’ll try it and see.

I would also try donning a pair of exam gloves, and manually probing the tracks.

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I wouldn’t be surprised to find a penny or a dime jamming things up. They end up under there all the time.

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