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How to Fix a Broken Rear Seat Release Latch: VW, MKIV

As a car owner who takes pride in doing his own repairs, my articles focus on helping other vehicle owners handle DIY projects.

Fix your seat latch for under $10.

Fix your seat latch for under $10.

How to Fix That Back Seat Latch

Recently while picking up a fish tank my lovely V-Dub decided to give me another unwelcome surprise by not allowing the back seat to fold down. When I pulled up on the latch it just felt disconnected and refused to release. So if you are having the same problem here is a quick DIY. It will work with all MKIV Jettas, GTIs, and Golfs. Does it ever end with these cars?!

As with all my DIYs, I called my local VW/Audi stealership to see how much they would charge to fix this problem. I could not get a direct answer but the quote was, $115 for diagnostics + parts + labor = Do it yourself for under six dollars!

Rod Part # 1J0-885-643-E

Rod Part # 1J0-885-643-E

Tools and Parts for the Job

This DIY only requires two tools.

  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Replacement Latch

The replacement latch can be bought online or from a VW dealership. I bought mine at the dealership for $5.88 so this will is a very inexpensive repair if you choose to do it yourself. The part number is 1J0-885-643-E, you will also need the color code (for black the color code is B41, Grey is U71, Beige is Q70). The parts department should be able to help you out using the part number listed above.

how-to-fix-a-broken-rear-seat-release-latch-vw-mkiv-diy
how-to-fix-a-broken-rear-seat-release-latch-vw-mkiv-diy

Removing the Broken Seat Latch

This is the easy part. Pull directly up and pull it hard. It is stuck in there with two pretty sturdy prongs so it will require a bit of force. Don't worry about breaking it.

Once it releases, completely pull that piece out. That is the piece you will be replacing (known as the rod). In the picture below, you will notice how one of the prongs has broken off the end of the rod. That is what has been keeping the latch from releasing the seat.

Tip: Only pull out the handle, do not try to pull out the whole plastic cup as it will likely break. If you do manage to break it, don't worry it is only another five dollars.

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Broken Rod Prong

Broken Rod Prong

how-to-fix-a-broken-rear-seat-release-latch-vw-mkiv-diy

Releasing the Rear Seat Latch Using a Screwdriver

This part can be a little tricky, but after a little bit of trial and error, the back seat will release. I also recommend folding the other (working) seat down and taking a look at the latch to see how it works.

  • Slide your screwdriver into the hole above the round ring that the latch connects to.
  • Try to work your way under the latch mechanism by pushing forward and up with the screwdriver while pushing forward on the seat.

This may take a few tries, but after you've done it a few times it's pretty easy, and it really helps to try it on the working seat side first to see how the latch releases.

how-to-fix-a-broken-rear-seat-release-latch-vw-mkiv-diy
how-to-fix-a-broken-rear-seat-release-latch-vw-mkiv-diy

Attaching the New Handle/Rod

I found this part to be a little tricky too. The best method that I found to do this is to get into the back seat with it folded down.

  • Insert your new handle/rod
  • Put a finger or two in the little hole and pull the latch up as far as you can.
  • With your other hand press down hard onto the handle till it pops back into the latching mechanism.

Look at the pictures for a better explanation. The first picture is how you want to pull up the latch lever. In the second picture, you can see the end of the rod (circled in red) and the latch outlined in green. Pull up on the green part and push hard till the prongs in red pop through.

Now give yourself a pat on the back and grab a beer! I think I made this easy enough to follow, but if you have any questions just leave them in the comment section.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2010 Writen4u

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