How to manually move a power seat in an Impala?

This blog post will answer the question,  ‘How to manually move a power seat in an Impala ?’, and cover topics like causes behind a malfunctioning electric seat, DIY fix in an Impala to move power seat manually, and troubleshooting and fixing of an Impala electric seat.

How to manually move a power seat in an Impala ?

An electric seat in an Impala can be moved manually by pressing against the seat in a downward direction by applying pressure on it and pushing the seat forward or backward simultaneously. The electric seat only needs to be removed in the event of cleaning the vehicle floor or in the case of a malfunctioning of an electric seat.

Electric seats are beneficial in the following ways:

  • No application of load is required to move an electric seat forward or backward, especially for the elderly.
  • The driving position of an individual can be programmed into the seats and in case of tampering with the seating position the original position can be retained via these programs.
  • Seats can be adjusted while the vehicle is in motion
  • Some electric seats have massaging features for further comfort and sophistication

Causes behind a malfunctioning electric seat

The following are the possible causes behind a malfunctioning electric seat.

  • Unresponsive seat functions
  • Faulty fuse
  • Loose seat connectors
  • Faulty seat motor
  • Faulty control switch

DIY fix in Impala to move power seat manually

The following DIY fix can be applied to manually move a power seat in Impala. This method was observed after experimentation on an Impala model in which the seat was only moving unidirectionally.

The problem, in this case, was found to be a faulty switch as operating it did not seem to cause any movement in the electric seat in the forward direction.

  • Firstly we need to locate the seat control panel where the control buttons are seen popping out
  • We need to take a flat head screwdriver and take out the control panel cover
  • Next, we need to take out the seat cover which is attached to the seat by two clips on either end
  • We now observe a set of teeth holding the switch in place. The flat head screwdriver needs to be used to push the teeth to take the switch motor out.
  • We can see a couple of covers enveloping the switch motor, with the help of the flathead we can take those out to expose the switch motor.
  • Next, we need to check if the metal contacts of the switch motor responsible for moving the electric seat are broken or have a loose cable 
  • In this case, the problem was found to be some broken contacts that were either moving too far out or too far inside

It should be noted that these parts should not be touched by the bare hands as it might create sparks or even blow a fuse and end up causing a bigger problem.

Troubleshooting and fixing of electric seat

Troubleshooting and fixing an electric seat can be done in the following ways:

  • Testing all seat functions
  • Inspecting the fuse box
  • Inspection of main seat connector
  • Checking seat motors
  • Testing the control switch

Testing all seat functions

It is advisable to check all seat functions like seat height and backrest tilt mechanisms to find out what is working and what is not. If none of these functions work, it indicates a total lack of power. 

The problem is identified as the independent circuit or the motor in case the horizontal adjustment is not working.

Inspecting the fuse box

Inspection should ideally start at the fuse box and circuit breaker. Using a multimeter or a test lamp further accelerates the process, although visual inspection can also be conducted.

After setting the multimeter to Ohm and connecting test probes we should be getting a number such as 0 or 0L, indicating that the breaker is working.

In case it is too hot to pull out or if the new breaker clicks the moment it has been positioned in place, there is a high probability of a centralized electrical problem within the system.

Inspection of main seat connector

Inspection of the main seat connector is important as it has a chance of becoming loose. This might happen in case of the rear passenger hits it with their foot or it comes in contact with a bottle of water that might have rolled into it.

Inspection is easier with a four-doored vehicle as the rear door can be opened and we can kneel and locate the connector and check if it is properly attached.

In case the seat does not receive any power, we must use the test lamp on the ground and the power pins belonging to the connector. The ground pin is either black or brown with a wire at the back. The power pins are of a red or orange wire.

We need to check if the test lamp illuminates as soon as we connect it to the power pin. If this is not the case, then the seat is not receiving any kind of power and a trusted electrician needs to be consulted for further diagnosis.

Checking seat motors

To investigate which motor has gone wrong, we need to detach the electric seat from its mounting position and tilt it to the side. The seat comprises two motors for moving the seat up or down.

Seat motors are a fairly simple arrangement and are only connected by ground and power pins. The motors are responsible for horizontal travel and tilt adjustment.

Firstly we need to locate the wires leading up to the motors and disconnect them. Next up, we need to attach the ground and positive wire of the test lamp to their primary power source.

At the same time, we need to use the motor control switch to check if power is flowing towards it. If no power is detected, either the control switch has become defective or the motor needs to be replaced.

Testing the control switch

To investigate the control switch, we need to check if the power plug on the connector switchboard has become loose. We also need to take a look at the connector pins to identify any signs of corrosion.

Inspecting the switchboard is not a complex process as it only involves checking if the connector plugs in or not. If not, it is advisable to purchase a new switchboard as they are relatively cheaper.

Research shows a pictorial and video graphic representation of the troubleshooting methods required to fix an electric seat not moving.


This blog post addressed the question, ‘ How to manually move a power seat in an Impala ?’ 

We understood the different causes responsible for a malfunctioning power seat not moving with electrical assistance. We also came across a DIY fix performed on an Impala model and learned about the various troubleshooting techniques to fix or identify the root cause behind this problem. Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to manually move a power seat in an Impala ?

How do power seats work?

Heated seats are powered with the help of a heating element, that is made of a long strip of a certain material that functions as a resistor. The main function of the resistor is to obstruct the flow of electricity. On passing an electric current through the resistor, the energy created is turned into heat which in turn heats the seat occupant.

How do I know if my seat switch is bad?

If the seat ceases to move forward or backward even after toggling the switch multiple times, it is a sign of a faulty switch. However, if the seat does not move at all, a blown or defective fuse might be the issue in this case.

What is electric seat in cars?

A power/electric seat is mainly prevalent in front seats or driver seats in cars. They are mainly controlled by a joystick or a toggle switch along with some electric motors. Luxury cars have power seat control for the passenger seats as well.