How to fix driver seat rails

Hi All,

I have a 2012 Subaru Legacy (Base Model). I am out of warranty now, and I have noticed that my seat almost seems to move a little when braking and accelerating. I don’t ever remember this before, but while accelerating from a stop, I get almost like a “pop” sound that appears to be coming from the back of the actual seat.

So, I am not sure if there is an easy fix for the rails, and for the back of the seat. What would be causing the back of the seat “pop” sound and feel while accelerating from a stop?

Also, what causes seat rails to go bad? Is there something I should be doing to “lock” the seat into place? I noticed that the bar you pull to move the seat back and forth also pushes downward. Is this to lock it?

I would really appreciate some feedback before attempting something.

I’m betting there are some loose mounting bolt(s) somewhere. That’s what happened to my Suburban. Tightened them up, problem gone. If there’s something else going on, I’d probably look at replacing the problem parts, should be available at a junkyard. But the work could be pretty involved.

Any idea where these would be? Should I just move the seat up all the way and then back? Tighten any bolts there? I am not sure how involved taking a whole seat out would be.

Moving the seat all the way back should reveal a bolt at the front of each rail and moving it all the way forward should do the same for the back of each rail. And no you do not have to lock the seat in place after you move it. If this is too much for you any decent auto upholstery shop can solve this.

No, that sounds easy enough! I i will have to take a look at it.

The problem should be apparent with the seat in full back or front position, and you grabbing it and trying to move it.

As you move the seat all the way forward and then back, look for junk that may have got stuck in the adjustment mechanism. You may have a pen, coin, pop can or something interfereing with the latch that locks the seat in place.

Has the car ever been in an accident that jolted the driver quite a bit?

Be aware that when you lift the seat out you’ll need to unplug a connector under the seat (it should be in the middle of a group of wires arranged to allow seat movement).

Let us know how you make out. My money is on some random item being stuck in the track interfering with proper detent engagement, as Steve suggests.

I will definitely let you all know how it goes! Just out of curiosity, does the metal bar mechanism that locks the car into place (when you move the seat forward and backwards) put a lot of wear on it when it is moved often?

Also, are there any bolts that you can adjust or tighten on the actual seat back (under the plastic cover on the back of the seat)?

Thanks all!

I think those that suggested that a foreign object got into the rails…are right on track. No pun intended.

Those old french fries from last year can really jam up the workings when they harden up with age.

Coins, a dropped pen, your girlfriends lost ear ring, the cat that went missing…any of that could jam up the works.

The seats come out with little effort, but like @“the same mountainbike” said, be careful of the wires.


I dunno but is this a power seat or manual? All my manual seats used to be a little loose after a while and move a hair. Never had that problem with power seats though. You may have to just unbolt the seat and take a look at it to see if the pawl or socket is worn a little.

The devil is in the details.

The OP states,“The bar you pull to move the seat back and forth also moves up and down.”

Does that sound like a powered seat?


Move the seat all the way back and you’ll find two bolts that hold the front of the rails to the floor.

Move the seat all the way forward and you’ll find two bolts that hold the back of the rails to the floor from the back seat.

Once the seat is remove it can be determined what mechanical malfunction is occurring with the rails/backrest of the seat.