Welcome to the ultimate guide where I share how you can fix a manual car seat that won’t move forward or back.

Even today, most cars come with manual seats. So, often we find a stuck manual stuck car seat, and it can get really uncomfortable as you’re forced to stick to a recline that doesn’t suit your preference.


I can’t assure you that you’ll be able to fix this problem on your own. In certain cases, there might be a problem with the track motor installed into the seat.

A failed track motor can only be fixed with the right tools, which means you may have to pay a visit to the mechanic. But don’t lose hope yet! This happens rarely, and there are a lot more reasons that may be causing this.

There are several other issues that may cause this problem. In this guide, I’ll go through these problems and discuss their respective solutions.

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Locking Pin Malfunction

Your stuck manual car seat has lock pins that allow the user to push the seat forward or back. If the car seat won’t move forward or back, there’s a chance that the locking pins aren’t engaging.

In such cases, you need to jostle with the seat a bit. Try giving it a firm shake until you hear a clicking noise. A clicking or popping noise signals that the pins have moved back to their places.

Once you hear the noise, you should be able to move the seat again. In case you don’t hear the sound or hear it but still the seat doesn’t move, you should progress to the next step of troubleshooting.

The Car Seat Track Is Not Working Properly

Car seats come with a slider or a metal track that lets the user move the car back and forth. In the case of older cars or in moist areas, the metal slider tends to get rusty over time.

Now, a rusty car seat slider might result in a manual seat adjustment not working properly. However, this can be fixed very easily with a lubricant.

Just grab a can of WD-40, spray it over the slider, and try moving the seat again. If the track seems completely damaged, you’ll need to replace it with a new one.

One thing to keep a note of here is you shouldn’t force the vehicle seat too much in case there’s a rusty slider. Rusty sliders tend to break under too much force, so it’s necessary you be careful with how much you push it.


Manual Car Seat Stuck in Recline Position

A car seat stuck in a rearward position can be a real problem, as it reduces a lot of maneuvering space. This is especially troublesome when you’ll have to drive and the driver seat is in recline.

Fortunately, getting the seat back to the correct position will be easy. In most cases, you’ll be able to get out of this situation by jiggling the handle up and down.

If that doesn’t fix things for you, then you should try this. Sit on the passenger seat and start pushing the driver seat from the back with your legs or hands, and pull up on the handle simultaneously until the seat moves forward.

Needless to say, this might take a few tries, but you’ll be able to get the seat in your desired position eventually.


Stuck Manual Car Seat in Forward

If the car seat is stuck in the forward position, then there’s a different set of fixes you can try for it. Firstly, a lot of people leave their car seats in a locked position and later think that it’s not working.

So, check if it’s locked or not. If yes, unlocking it should solve the problem.

If that doesn’t work out for you, you can try an alternate solution. Here, you can use a screwdriver or a similar tool to pry to move the seat backward. Be gentle with it, or you may end up damaging the seat. 


How to Fix a Stuck Manual Seat Mechanism?

There are a few steps that you need to follow to fix a stuck car seat mechanism. But before we begin, I must inform you that fixing a car seat mechanism is easier said than done, so be patient in this case.

Firstly, check if the seat is correctly positioned in your car. So, you can try removing the car seat and placing it once again. Check the user manual of your car to learn how to remove the seat and install it back again.

Usually, you just have to remove the seat bolts. Re-installing the seat will remove the possibility of any offset. However, if it doesn’t work even after that, you should move to the next tip.

Now, you will need to take a closer look at the car seat’s mechanism. Please be noted that you’ll need some specialized equipment for disassembling the mechanism and putting it back up again. You can get these for a fair price at any mechanic’s shop.

Also, the process of disassembly and assembly can be found in the respective manual. However, if the necessary repairs seem too complicated for you, you can visit a mechanic instead.


Frequently Asked Questions

What might cause the car seats to be stuck?

There might be several reasons behind manual seat adjustment not working. These are:

  • The seat tracks at the bottom of the car seat can bend or break if too much pressure is applied. This might be the reason behind the car seat being stuck.
  • Another common reason is having an idle car. If the car isn’t driven for a long time, the slider or some other mechanism that helps the seat move might get jammed.
  • Not moving the seat for a long time can have the same implications as the previous point.

Can a manual car seat that won’t move affect my safety?

It can affect your safety as then you won’t be able to adjust the seat according to your needs which might compromise your comfort and visibility.



You need a lot of patience and care to fix a stuck manual car seat. If you aren’t gentle with the seat, you may end up damaging it even further instead of fixing it. So, make sure you follow the instructions mentioned here properly.

Next time you find your car seat won’t move forward or back, and you can follow the tips and tricks I just shared with you. Also, if there’s a complicated problem that you don’t feel confident about fixing, you should visit a mechanic instead.

Whichever path you choose, make sure the car is in perfect condition so you can drive safely!

Last Updated on April 27, 2023 by Danny Reid

Written by Linda Reid

Hey there, I'm Linda, a mom of three cool kids. I've tried so many car seats, you could call me a "Car Seat Detective." Searching for the perfect car seat can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but don't worry! I've committed to researching and reviewing car seats that are super safe, cozy, and great for growing kids. Together, we'll find the perfect car seat that keeps your child safe and cozy, and makes you feel like a super-parent!