Seat Switch Cost Turns Consumer Off

DN Staff

January 8, 2014

2 Min Read
Seat Switch Cost Turns Consumer Off

My wife drives a 2007 Kia Rondo, but I think the model is unimportant because this is a potential issue with all KIA's, and perhaps other auto manufacturers. The airbag light had been a problem several years ago. It was corrected by a KIA recall to replace the clock spring in the steering wheel. The car airbag light turned on again, so I thought the clock spring was faulty.

I took the car back to the dealer. A couple of hours later the technician came out and told me the front passenger seat switch was bad and it would cost $1,600 to fix it. (It costs $1,600 for a switch?) It seemed the seat had to be replaced because you cannot replace just the switch. KIA made no provision for replacing this critical safety component other than replacing the complete seat assembly.

I then started a fruitless search up the KIA food chain to try to find out the specifications and/or test parameters for the switch. After exhausting all KIA technical sources in the US, I attempted to email KIA engineering in Korea, but did not receive a reply. The seat has a 4-pin connector -- two leads for the seat belt and two leads to sense the passenger. Interestingly, the seat senses the passenger because the seat belt light comes on when the seat is occupied. The resistance check is the same for both seats. I checked a couple of other cars, with the same result.

I arrived at two conclusions:

  • The seat switch assembly was designed by monkeys, because the switch cannot be replaced.

  • The dealership technicians are not honest, as I am not certain the clock spring is again defective. The technicians looked up what the last tech said and will not contradict a previous diagnosis.

It would behoove all of us to inquire about the seat switches in our next cars. Needless to say, there are no KIA's in this family's future.

Tell us your experiences with Monkey-designed products. Send stories to Lauren Muskett for Made by Monkeys.

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