BMW Lumbar Support Not Working: Quick Troubleshooting Guide

Understanding the Problem

BMW Lumbar Support Failure

BMW lumbar support is a crucial feature designed to provide comfort and proper posture for both the driver and passenger in their seats. However, like any other component in a vehicle, it can face problems and stop working. This can result in an uncomfortable driving experience and may even affect the overall safety of the car.

Symptoms of a Non-Working Lumbar Support

The most common symptom of a non-working lumbar support is the lack of any noticeable change when pressing the buttons to adjust its position. In some cases, you may also hear a clicking sound, which signals an issue with the engagement of the step motor. Another sign of a faulty lumbar support system is the lack of movement in the seatback. When the lumbar support is not functioning correctly, it will not provide the necessary support for the driver or passenger.

Common Reasons for Lumbar Support Failure

  1. Faulty motor or pump: A primary reason for lumbar support failure is a damaged or non-functioning motor or pump. These components are responsible for providing the force needed to inflate or deflate the lumbar support’s air bladders. If the motor or pump is not working properly, the lumbar support will not be able to adjust.
  2. Air leaks: Another common cause for lumbar support failures is leaking air from the system. Over time, the air bladders or tubing can wear out and lead to a loss of air pressure, rendering the lumbar support ineffective.
  3. Damaged wiring or connections: The electrical wiring and connections play a vital role in the functioning of the lumbar support. If these components become damaged or disconnected, it may result in reduced or no response from the system.
  4. Worn out or damaged components: The lumbar support system contains various components, including motors, air bladders, and electrical wiring. Over time, these parts can wear out or become damaged, leading to failure in the lumbar support system.

By identifying the possible reasons for a malfunctioning lumbar support in your BMW, you can better understand how to address any issues and ensure a comfortable and safe driving experience.

Troubleshooting the Issue

Checking the Lumbar Support Connector

One of the first steps in troubleshooting a non-functional lumbar support is to check the lumbar support connector located beneath the seats. Ensure that the connector is firmly attached and undamaged. A loose or damaged connector may cause the lumbar support to function improperly or not work at all.

Identifying Power and Source Issues

Occasionally, power and electrical source problems can affect your lumbar support’s performance. Start by examining the ground connection for any signs of corrosion or rust that could cause a poor connection. Additionally, inspect the positive power supply to the lumbar support’s motor for voltage. A faulty power source could lead to the motor not receiving sufficient power to function properly.

Pinpointing Memory and Switch Problems

In some cases, the issue could be related to memory or switch malfunctions. If your BMW has a memory function for the lumbar support settings, try resetting it. This can sometimes resolve the issue. Likewise, ensure that the switch responsible for controlling the lumbar support is functioning correctly. A faulty switch may not send signals to the motor to adjust the lumbar support as desired.

Inspecting the Wiring, Plug, and Fuse

Ensure all the wires leading to and from the lumbar support motor are intact and free from damage. Broken or frayed wires can cause intermittent or no functionality. Make sure the plug connecting the motor to the power source is undamaged and connected properly. Finally, check the fuse associated with the lumbar support system. A blown fuse will prevent power from reaching the motor, rendering it non-functional.

Examining the Lumbar Support Pump and Motor

If all the previous checks have been performed, and the lumbar support system is still not working, the problem could lie within the pump or motor itself. Inspect the motor for any signs of visible damage or wear. If possible, test the motor with another power source to determine if it is functioning correctly. Similarly, inspect and test the pump responsible for inflating and deflating the lumbar support. A malfunctioning pump or motor may require replacement to restore proper functionality.

By thoroughly examining each of these components, you can successfully pinpoint the cause of your BMW’s lumbar support issues and take action to resolve them. Remember to always consult your vehicle’s manual or speak with a certified BMW technician if you are unsure of how to proceed with any troubleshooting steps.

Specific BMW Model Concerns

Sport Seat Issues

Some BMW owners with sport seats have reported issues with the lumbar support not working. In some cases, pressing the adjustment buttons may result in a clicking sound but no actual movement of the lumbar support. This could be due to a problem with the motor engaging or a possible malfunction within the seat mechanism. A discussion on BimmerFest BMW Forum provides insights and experiences shared by individuals who have encountered this issue with their sport seats.

Premium Package Problems

Users who have opted for the Premium Package on their BMW models may also face lumbar support challenges. This package typically includes electric lumbar support adjustments, which have been reported to occasionally fail or malfunction. There is limited information about specific issues tied to the Premium Package, but one option is to consult a BMW specialist or dealer to diagnose and resolve the problem. A relevant discussion on touches on this issue with a 2015 model and offers potential solutions.

Leather Seat Whims

BMW leather seats are known for their comfort and durability, but lumbar support functionality in these seats can still have occasional hiccups. It is essential to maintain proper care and usage to prolong the life of the leather seats, especially with regard to lumbar support mechanisms. Some users may find the lumbar support too firm or not sufficient enough to their preferences. In these cases, it could be necessary to adjust seating positions or explore aftermarket options to enhance comfort. A related discussion about lumbar support in BMW leather seats can be found on BIMMERPOST.

Steps to Repair BMW Lumbar Support

Fixing Lumbar Support on Your Own

If you are experiencing issues with your BMW’s lumbar support, such as it not inflating or adjusting properly, there are several DIY fixes you can try. Start by diagnosing the problem: carefully remove the seat back to access the lumbar support mechanism, and inspect the wiring, motor, and inflatable bladder for damage or disconnection. Oftentimes, the issue can be as simple as reconnecting a wire or removing obstructions in the inflation tube. You can also refer to a video tutorial on how to fix lumbar support issues on BMW E90/E82 sport seats.

Professional Lumbar Support Repair

If you are not comfortable troubleshooting and fixing the lumbar support issue on your own, it’s best to consult a professional. BMW dealerships and authorized repair centers can diagnose and fix lumbar support issues. They have access to specialized tools, equipment, and parts that may be required to properly repair your vehicle’s lumbar support system. It’s essential to find a trusted technician who has experience with BMWs, as they will be familiar with the specific components and mechanisms involved in your car’s lumbar support.

Replacing Defective Parts

In some cases, the problem with your lumbar support might be due to a defective part that needs replacement. BMW lumbar support systems typically consist of an adjustable inflatable bladder, a motor for inflating the bladder, and a control switch. If any of these components are damaged or malfunctioning, they will need to be replaced. You can either purchase original BMW parts or find compatible aftermarket alternatives.

To replace a defective lumbar support component, you must first remove the seat from the vehicle and disassemble it. Depending on the specific issue, you may need to replace the motor, control switch, or bladder. Once the new parts have been installed, reassemble the seat and test the lumbar support function to ensure everything works as intended. Remember, if you are not confident in your ability to perform this repair, it’s best to consult a professional technician to avoid causing further damage to your vehicle.

Prevention Measures for Future

Maintaining the Seat Bladder

Taking care of the seat bladder is crucial in ensuring the BMW lumbar support continues to function optimally. Checking the seat bladder regularly is one preventive measure that can be taken. Inspect for any punctures, leaks, or signs of wear that may affect its ability to provide proper lumbar support. In case of any issues, it is recommended to consult a professional BMW technician to perform necessary repairs or replacement.

To extend the life of the seat bladder, avoid excessive pressure or sharp objects that could damage it. Moreover, keeping the car clean and devoid of debris can prevent foreign objects from coming into contact with the seat bladder and causing harm.

Looking After Seat Controls

Ensuring proper function of the seat controls is another crucial preventive measure. Seat controls should be tested periodically to confirm that they are working correctly. This can be done by adjusting the lumbar support using the controls and checking if the intended movements are happening.

When adjusting the lumbar support, avoid applying excessive force, as this may harm the controls. If any issues, such as unresponsiveness or unusual noises are encountered, consult a BMW technician for repair or replacement of the controls.

Routine maintenance of the seat controls and the surrounding area helps in extending their lifespan. Dusting, cleaning, and keeping the area around the controls free of debris contribute to better functionality. Avoiding spills or exposing the seat controls to moisture can also prevent electrical issues and malfunctions.

By following appropriate preventive measures, you can ensure that your BMW lumbar support remains in working condition, contributing to a more comfortable and ergonomic driving experience.

Georg Meier

BMW technician since 1996. I began my automotive journey in 1993 as an apprentice mechanic at Automag, the world's oldest BMW dealership in Munich. With years of experience and dedication, I garnered a wealth of knowledge about the intricacies of BMW and MINI vehicles. The love/hate relationship with the brand led me to found BIMMERIST where I share expertise and insights with fellow enthusiasts.

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