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Broken Seat Frame in Driver and Passenger Seats

  #1  
Old 01-30-2015, 10:35 PM
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Default Broken Seat Frame in Driver and Passenger Seats

I have a 2006 PT Cruiser with about 17,000 miles. Relevant to my posting is that the interior in general and the leather seats in particular are in immaculate condition.

I recently took the car to a dealership to investigate why the backs of the driver and front seats could not be adjusted. I thought some cables might have become loose or broken. I was told that the internal frames in both seat backs were broken and had to be replaced. The parts cost over $1000.

I find it strange that the frames in both seats broke after so little use and around the same time. There is no indication of any impact on the seats. In fact, the seats have no marks on them at all and show no signs of wear. Moreover, the former owner was a short, older woman who could not have weighed much.

Consequently, I wonder whether the unusual failure of the seat backs is due to a defect in manufacturing. The condition of the car in general and the interior in particular suggests that there is no other reasonable explanation. I am not aware of any recall notice, but that doesn't exclude the possibility of a defect.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with broken seat frames? Is there something about the design of the seats that might have led to the failure of their internal frames?
 
  #2  
Old 02-02-2015, 12:04 AM
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One would think that a "broken frame" would be relatively obvious. The frame of a seat is like the skeleton of your body. A broken bone is pretty noticeable because of flopping around and a broken frame of a seat should also be pretty obvious. Something should be loose and floppy.

What did they do to determine that the frame was broken? Did they remove the cover or cushioning? Did they show you how they determined that the seat was broken?

It's a lot easier to replace the whole seat and charge you $1000 than it is to take a seat apart and repair it, and probably more profitable for them.

You might want to get a second opinion if they aren't giving you straight answers that add up. As long as this thing is off warranty anyway, you might want to see if you can fix it yourself. I once had a problem with a reclining seat back that wouldn't move. The cable had become a little rusted where it went around a corner. At that time the car was a couple of years old and I surmised that the back probably had never been adjusted and the cable had never been moved. I think it probably took me 20 minutes and a little grease to get it fixed.

Yours is nine years old and it's quite possible that the little old lady never adjusted the seat back and the cable just seized up. I would at least take a good look at the adjustment mechanism before I spent $1000 on replacing parts that look good.
 
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Old 02-02-2015, 09:23 AM
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Thanks for your detailed response.

I don't know if it makes a difference, but the report from the dealership actually stated that the "seat frame at each front seat has failed." I believe that the word "broken frame" was used in our conversation. I also recall the service advisor mentioning that he was told by the mechanic that it wasn't a matter of fixing a cable, which was what I had said I thought the problem was in the first place.

The service advisor told me that the mechanic told him that he had removed the seat cover (perhaps more) to take a look at the frame. I did not see what the mechanic found. Next time I am at a dealership for any problem I will ask that photos be taken of any internal damage if I can't go onto the shop floor and see it myself. A lot can get lost in translation.

Perhaps more importantly, do you know of any videos on the Internet that show how to take the driver and front passenger seats apart in a PT Cruiser? (It it matters, the horizontal part of each seat is electronic and seems to work fine. It is just the seat backs that don't adjust.) If nothing else, it will give me a better idea of what the problem could be and what to ask about if I bring it to another service center for a second opinion.
 
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:24 PM
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Not aware of any videos, but that doesn't mean there aren't any. Seat construction isn't exactly high tech, so if you can find any video about disassembling a seat you will have most of what you need to know. You may want some tools like hog-ring pliers and trim tools but those things are relatively cheap.
There are usually some trim pieces that cover the working parts of a seat that are easily removed for inspection of what's underneath. You might want to take a look at the seat and see if there's something you can take off that might cover the adjustment mechanism and see what you can find.
 
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