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B1971 OBD-II Trouble Code: Passenger Seatback Rearward Switch Circuit Short to Ground

diagnostic check engine light

B1971 code definition

The B1971 trouble code detects a passenger seatback rearward switch circuit malfunction.

What the B1971 code means

The B1971 code is a generic OBD-II trouble code that signals a circuit error from the passenger seatback rearward switch. This switch is usually located on the outboard side of the front passenger seat, and is used to adjust the seat forward and rearward. When a passenger seatback rearward switch circuit error is detected by the body control module or the powertrain control module (PCM), then the B1971 code will possibly be stored.

What causes the B1971 code?

The B1971 trouble code is commonly caused by two different issues. The first common cause is damaged electrical components in the seatback switch or the power seat system, such as shorted wires, open connectors, and blown fuses. The second common cause is a defective passenger seatback rearward switch. The code is sometimes triggered by a malfunctioning body control module, but this is a fairly rare occurrence.

What are the symptoms of the B1971 code?

The B1971 trouble code will likely result in an inoperable passenger seatback rearward switch. If this is the case, the front passenger seatback will not be able to be adjusted rearward, and most likely forward as well. The code can also cause the check engine soon warning light to illuminate on the gauge cluster.

How does a mechanic diagnose the B1971 code?

The B1971 code is diagnosed with the help of a standard OBD-II trouble code scanner. A trustworthy technician will look at the freeze frame data from the scanner and gather information about the code, while also looking for additional trouble codes that have been detected. In the event that multiple codes are present, they should be diagnosed in the order that they appear in. The trouble codes should then be reset, and the vehicle restarted, so that the B1971 code can be checked for again. If the code is no longer present, then an erroneous detection, or an intermittent issue are the likely causes.

If the B1971 code is still detected, then a visual inspection of the electrical components will need to be performed. Any electrical parts that are damaged or compromised in any way will be replaced. The technician will then inspect the passenger seatback rearward switch.

When any replacement or repair is made, the inspection should be halted so that the codes can again be reset, the vehicle restarted, and the B1971 code checked for. This will allow the mechanic to know as soon as the problem is fixed.

Common mistakes when diagnosing the B1971 code

The most common mistake that is made when diagnosing this code comes from a failure to abide by the OBD-II trouble code diagnosis protocol. Technicians should always follow the protocol step by step, to guarantee accurate inspections and repairs.

Fully functional passenger seatback rearward switches are often unnecessarily replaced, because the electrical components were not first inspected.

How serious is the B1971 code?

A car with a B1971 code will still be drivable, and won’t have any drivability issues. However, the front passenger seatback will likely not be able to be adjusted, which can be a hassle, both from a comfort and a practicality standpoint. A vehicle with this code should be inspected as soon as is convenient.

What repairs can fix the B1971 code?

Possible repairs for the B1971 trouble code are:

Additional comments for consideration regarding the B1971 code

The B1971 code is a manufacturer specific trouble code. Manufacturer specific codes are codes that have different definitions depending on the automaker. The B1971 code will detect a passenger seatback rearward switch circuit error in some cars, but may suggest a very different body issue with other cars. As always, technicians should be very aware of the vehicle that they are working on when diagnosing the B1971 trouble code.

Need help with a B1971 code?

YourMechanic offers certified mobile mechanics who will come to your home or office to diagnose and repair your vehicle. Get a quote and book an appointment online or speak to a service advisor at 1-800-701-6230.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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