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Discussion Starter #1
I have the typical broken driver seat frame and would like to survey those here who have had this issue. What did you do to fix it?
1. replace with new?
2. replace with salvage unit?
3. Have it removed and rewelded?
4. JB Weld it? (*chuckle)

I will not be buying new from the dealer. But if there was a reputable source for a properly welded frame I might consider it.

I have a welder and consider myself a novice, though I am adept at fixing most anything. Is this something I could fix myself and not create another problem? I love the advice and stories I’ve gotten from those of you here, and would appreciate your help on this one. Thanks!
 

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Since you have to remove it anyway and can weld I would weld it. This way you can get a good look at the other welds while it's out and really see it's construction.
Junkyard would be second option but you risk the chance of another failed weld along with new being the same.
Welding is the cheapest option and no running around.
 

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I have the typical broken driver seat frame and would like to survey those here who have had this issue. What did you do to fix it?
1. replace with new?
2. replace with salvage unit?
3. Have it removed and rewelded?
4. JB Weld it? (*chuckle)

I will not be buying new from the dealer. But if there was a reputable source for a properly welded frame I might consider it.

I have a welder and consider myself a novice, though I am adept at fixing most anything. Is this something I could fix myself and not create another problem? I love the advice and stories I’ve gotten from those of you here, and would appreciate your help on this one. Thanks!
I've been able to get away with having the seat all the way down. Perks of being taller.
 

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Like @repairman54 said, you have to remove the seat regardless, might as well explore the option of welding it back together. It should be doable.

Finding a junkyard seat is going to be a mixed bag. You have to find a seat that matches your car and hope the condition is as nice as yours, while also having a better weld.
 

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OMG! If I had a welder and was "adept at fixing most anything", I don't know why I'd be worried about "creating another problem". I would just remove the seat, weld it, and put it back in there. No way would I even consider looking for a junkyard replacement.

So - what kind of problem do you think you might create?

And while I'm asking questions here ... how the heck does a seat frame break? Never heard of such a thing. Where is it breaking and why? I remember when I was a kid, my first car was a 1980 Plymouth Champ (bought it used with 35,000 miles). The driver's seat front-left floor anchor broke free one day when the metal around the welded nut rusted out. I ended up putting one of those metal, spring-loaded drywall anchors in there. Worked good enough for me (LOL!).

But you're saying the seat frame broke???
 

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OMG! If I had a welder and was "adept at fixing most anything", I don't know why I'd be worried about "creating another problem". I would just remove the seat, weld it, and put it back in there. No way would I even consider looking for a junkyard replacement.

So - what kind of problem do you think you might create?

And while I'm asking questions here ... how the heck does a seat frame break? Never heard of such a thing. Where is it breaking and why? I remember when I was a kid, my first car was a 1980 Plymouth Champ (bought it used with 35,000 miles). The driver's seat front-left floor anchor broke free one day when the metal around the welded nut rusted out. I ended up putting one of those metal, spring-loaded drywall anchors in there. Worked good enough for me (LOL!).

But you're saying the seat frame broke???
Calm down, man. Lmao.

It's a known defect in the 7th gen that there's spotty quality in particular welds of the seat frame. Most seats last forever, but some are just waiting for the right stress to break free and the seat sort of collapses, which basically makes the car un-drivable if you aren't over 6 foot.
 

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The front crossbar that transfers the up/down from one side to the other is a round bar welded into the two frames. It usually breaks at the right weld. It looks more like a tear or rip than a break.
 

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I have the typical broken driver seat frame and would like to survey those here who have had this issue. What did you do to fix it?
1. replace with new?
2. replace with salvage unit?
3. Have it removed and rewelded?
4. JB Weld it? (*chuckle)

I will not be buying new from the dealer. But if there was a reputable source for a properly welded frame I might consider it.

I have a welder and consider myself a novice, though I am adept at fixing most anything. Is this something I could fix myself and not create another problem? I love the advice and stories I’ve gotten from those of you here, and would appreciate your help on this one. Thanks!
This happened to me on my 2012 1LT 2.4L. The driver seat frame broke and the seat started bouncing and listing to the right. I was so outraged, I brought it to the dealer. 'This sort of thing shouldn't happen. The frame should last forever' I thought. 'Surely, they should make it right'. Turns out there was a (hidden?) extended warranty on the frame and the dealer fixed it for a nominal fee of about $100 (probably the dealer's co-pay - who says warranty repairs are free to the customer?). What can one do at that point? It was probably the best option anyway. I'd suggest checking with the dealer.

-Rocky
 

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This happened to me on my 2012 1LT 2.4L. The driver seat frame broke and the seat started bouncing and listing to the right. I was so outraged, I brought it to the dealer. 'This sort of thing shouldn't happen. The frame should last forever' I thought. 'Surely, they should make it right'. Turns out there was a (hidden?) extended warranty on the frame and the dealer fixed it for a nominal fee of about $100 (probably the dealer's co-pay - who says warranty repairs are free to the customer?). What can one do at that point? It was probably the best option anyway. I'd suggest checking with the dealer.

-Rocky
$100 is a pretty sweet deal on the repair. I'm not sure the problem was worth getting outraged over, seems like people in general have an unrealistic notion about how reliable cars "should" be (beyond not stranding you on the side of the road). It's actually pretty remarkable how low maintenance cars have become despite their complexity.
 

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2x CP
People do not realize how good they have it today compared to driving cars from the '60's and '70's and how much maintenance you had to do to keep them running and at 100k they were basically worn out.
Today you can go to 50k miles with just oil changes on a new car before even needing brakes or tires. Not so back in the ''good old days''.
 

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$100 is a pretty sweet deal on the repair. I'm not sure the problem was worth getting outraged over, seems like people in general have an unrealistic notion about how reliable cars "should" be (beyond not stranding you on the side of the road). It's actually pretty remarkable how low maintenance cars have become despite their complexity.
First off, I didn't know it was going to be just $100 at the time the seat frame broke. It only turned out that way after I found out that Chevy was going to back up the repair. Second, you have a lot of seat frames break on you? Regular occurrence for you? Sorry, forty years of driving cars, many of them old and I've never had a seat frame break on me and this is was on a 5 yr old Malibu. It's not like it was exposed to the elements (not even high humidity in SoCal) so, yeah, I was pretty outraged at the failure. The fact that it was $100 to repair was a moderately happy outcome. If it was an extended warranty item, shouldn't the repair be covered? That dealers have the customer cover the dealer copay is a bit silly, in my estimation. Either it's a warranty item or not Having a dealer copay gives the dealer an incentive to lower his costs by sticking it to the customer ... great for customer relations.
 

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Mraki,

You’re 100% correct! Broken seat frames are unheard of. Clearly, GM (or whoever they contracted to make seat frames) F’d it up!

So OK ... admit it and fix it! End of story. And don’t charge the customer ... that’s ridiculous! It’s not their fault; it’s your fault (GM).

You’re well within your rights to be “outraged”. Bad enough you were driving around sitting in an unsafe seat! Good thing you didn’t get hurt in an accident or you also would’ve been well within your rights to sue them!

Now go back to the dealership and demand your $100 back! And don’t go back to that dealership again - they’re a bunch of crooks!
 

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2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T
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Ditto on what cp and repairman wrote.

So where are we at in this discussion? The OP hasn't responded, a couple "me too" posts from other owners follow. Lingering outrage over a $100 repair to a 2012 car? A mid-size $20k car has weaknesses. $50k cars have weaknesses. I passed an $80k Ghibli dead on the side of the road last week. Some unlucky owners got a bad weld - it's a possible weakness. You get in and out over and over and over and slam yourself into the seat because its a sedan exposing that weakness. Buying a car gives you a warranty and some items get coverage beyond that warranty. The purchase itself isn't an entitlement for every part on the car to function perfectly until the end of time. If a $100 repair to a 2012 car is causing emotional outrage, I suggest leasing might be a better option. To anyone else facing a seat repair I hope it gets done as pleasantly as possible.
 

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I'm not sure where this incredulous attitude about seat problems comes from. Front seats are a very common source of problems in all cars. I've seen brackets fail, adjustments fail, seat rails come undone, and--yes--even seat welds come apart. Just fix it and move on instead of making yourself miserable expecting special treatment beyond your purchasing agreement.

People constantly laud the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry as the models of sedan perfection, but the 2008-2012 Accord used to chew through brakes and rotors, the generation before that had the infamous disposable 5-speed automatic transmission, and the 2007-2011 Camry had something like 7 major safety recalls because of "unintended acceleration" where the gas pedal would get stuck and the powerful V6 couldn't be stopped with the brakes.
 

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The "unintended acceleration" that couldn't be stopped by using the brakes suggest the following possible scenarios:
  1. The brakes are in extremely bad condition
  2. The brakes are poorly designed
  3. No such engine exists in a modern family car

  1. If the brakes are in such disrepair that they can't slow and/or stop the car, then the owner needs some remedial training on how to operate a car.
  2. If the brakes are in good condition and still can't stop the car, then the designers goofed badly.
  3. Brakes, in general, can develop more HP than a consumer-grade engine. If they can't stop the car, then either the operator is not jamming them to the floor in a life-or-death struggle, or the designers used postage stamps instead of brake pads.
Brakes are way more powerful than engines. Don't believe me? That's okay. Go get an app for your phone or tablet and measure the G-forces when you accelerate like you're running a race. Next, measure them when you hammer the brakes and keep them nailed to the floor until you stop. You will have generated more Gs while braking than accelerating. Lots more.
 

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I'm not sure where this incredulous attitude about seat problems comes from. Front seats are a very common source of problems in all cars. I've seen brackets fail, adjustments fail, seat rails come undone, and--yes--even seat welds come apart. Just fix it and move on instead of making yourself miserable expecting special treatment beyond your purchasing agreement.
If you look at my original response post, it was to suggest to the original poster to consult his dealer to see if he would take care of it for him as he did me. I also called it a moderately satisfactory outcome where the modifier "moderate" only came about because the dealer made me pay the dealer's co-pay. It would have been fully satisfactory if, as a warranty item, it was fully warrantied. That's what warranty means to me. You've seen many more cars than me, then, but I've never had a car seat weld fail, even on 25 year old cars, let alone a 5 year old one. That others have had the same problem with their Gen 7 Malibu and that this was an extended warranty demonstrates that this was an acknowledged flaw from the manufacturer. I paid the co-pay and I've gotten past the problem a long time ago and I've been far from miserable. I was just helping a fellow owner know that he was not alone and that he had recourse with the dealer. That's what these forums are for, right?

People constantly laud the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry as the models of sedan perfection, but the 2008-2012 Accord used to chew through brakes and rotors, the generation before that had the infamous disposable 5-speed automatic transmission, and the 2007-2011 Camry had something like 7 major safety recalls because of "unintended acceleration" where the gas pedal would get stuck and the powerful V6 couldn't be stopped with the brakes.
Brakes on the Camry? You mean those things with pads and sliders and a hydraulic system exerting pressure on those pads to stop the car and rotors spinning, heating up and having pressure exerted on them to stop the car? Or the Accord ECM which no doubt manages the automatic transmission of the Accord and that manages temperature, gas pressure in the injectors and air flow and spark timing and exhaust O2 in addition to the shift points based on throttle position, speed and possibly traction? Yeah. I could see how you could mistake that for a seat frame weld.

-mraki
 

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The "unintended acceleration" that couldn't be stopped by using the brakes suggest the following possible scenarios:
  1. The brakes are in extremely bad condition
  2. The brakes are poorly designed
  3. No such engine exists in a modern family car
  1. If the brakes are in such disrepair that they can't slow and/or stop the car, then the owner needs some remedial training on how to operate a car.
  2. If the brakes are in good condition and still can't stop the car, then the designers goofed badly.
  3. Brakes, in general, can develop more HP than a consumer-grade engine. If they can't stop the car, then either the operator is not jamming them to the floor in a life-or-death struggle, or the designers used postage stamps instead of brake pads.
Brakes are way more powerful than engines. Don't believe me? That's okay. Go get an app for your phone or tablet and measure the G-forces when you accelerate like you're running a race. Next, measure them when you hammer the brakes and keep them nailed to the floor until you stop. You will have generated more Gs while braking than accelerating. Lots more.
A lot of factors added up to create Toyota's unintended acceleration problem that killed a number of fully alert people who simply weren't ready to be thrust into that situation. A camry has crappy brake-feel to begin with, imagine a panicked person trying to hit the brakes at 60 mph + full throttle with 270 horsepower. You get one or two attempts to fight the speed before the brakes are totally overheated and useless.

Driver error was a factor, but several design elements from the pedal to the powertrain computer compounded the danger to a panicked driver. There's a reason Toyota/Lexus models had more complaints of this nature than all other manufacturers combined.
 

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If you look at my original response post, it was to suggest to the original poster to consult his dealer to see if he would take care of it for him as he did me. I also called it a moderately satisfactory outcome where the modifier "moderate" only came about because the dealer made me pay the dealer's co-pay. It would have been fully satisfactory if, as a warranty item, it was fully warrantied. That's what warranty means to me. You've seen many more cars than me, then, but I've never had a car seat weld fail, even on 25 year old cars, let alone a 5 year old one. That others have had the same problem with their Gen 7 Malibu and that this was an extended warranty demonstrates that this was an acknowledged flaw from the manufacturer. I paid the co-pay and I've gotten past the problem a long time ago and I've been far from miserable. I was just helping a fellow owner know that he was not alone and that he had recourse with the dealer. That's what these forums are for, right?
Beyond your suggestion to bring the car to the dealership, your only other contribution to this conversation--as well as the other member Colt--has been to stoke anger about the situation and to lash out at the notion that maybe it's ultimately not that big of a deal.

It seems as though GM has reacted appropriately by offering extended coverage, so I fail to see how inflaming the discussion with anger is constructive or helpful at this point.

If it wasn't clear, I brought up the Accord and Camry to illustrate that no ownership is free of possible design defects.
 

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Never had a seat failure ? You have been lucky.
I've had a few and seen a few. Larger sized drivers tend to have more seat related issues. Family experience on that one.
Seat frame issues go back into the '90's, Mom's Oldsmobile had one break that I had to change out and she wasn't "large'' like my seat breaking brother.

I'll say it, you can't afford a $100 repair ? You can't afford a car, get a bicycle or take public transportation. Cars are a luxury and cost money. Can't fix it yourself, too bad so sad ...
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Wow, I’m glad I could start such a lively discussion! I’m pleased to see all the activity surrounding my question. Thank you for all your replies. I haven’t been receiving email notifications that I have responses and I just happened to check on it.

I should make clear that I am not an experienced welder, though I got a cheap little flux core welder last year and have only used it a couple times, and not very well! I know it’s not hard to blow through a thin piece of metal if you don’t know what you’re doing. The leather seat skin needs to be replaced as it is torn from the broken frame poking through the bottom, as well as ripped stitching in the seat back. I have a local auto specialty shop that retrofits new vehicles from dealers with leather and other interior upgrades, so I think I’ll check with them on the frameas long as they’d be doing the skin too. My father-in-law used to work for them so I know their work is top-notch.

I’m thinking I’ll go the DIY route first, and if it doesn’t work out I’ll have the shop do it.

By the way, it angers me as much as anyone that these seat frames were made so poorly, and for so many years. I used to work in manufacturing quality control, and it is NOT hard to change an automated weld process when a defect is discovered. And the fact that it is so widespread points to design and manufacturing engineering defects that demand a recall or no-charge repair response from GM. This is a serious safety issue, and a costly one at that. I could be looking at $1000 not just for the seat frame, but also the entire seat skin that is ruined as a result.
Have a nice weekend!
 
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