Reset May Be Needed to Erase Vendetta from Murano's Memory

Dear Car Talk:

At random times, my 2016 Nissan Murano attempts to crush my knees. In normal operation, the driver's seat slides backward when I turn the engine off, and I open the driver's door. This makes it easier for me to get out, which is very helpful as I am mobility-challenged.

But at random times, the driver's seat moves forward at a crisp velocity and pins my knees against the dash in an attempt to make me the same height as the French artist who loved the Moulin Rouge.

I do not understand my Murano's vendetta since I have taken good care of it, and I have not lusted for a new car. Any thoughts? -- Arnie

I'd invest in some NFL-regulation knee pads, Arnie. I've honestly never heard of that happening.

From my understanding of the system, you program your preferred driving position into the seat's memory setting. Then when you get in the car and start the engine, the car's body control module (a computer) moves the seat to your stored setting.

When you exit the car, it's supposed to move the seat to its maximum rearward position to give you more room to get out. But in your case, at random times, it pushes the seat in the opposite direction, closest to the steering wheel.

If it's your body-control module going haywire and thinking backward is forward, you'll need help from your dealer. But here are a few things you might try first.

On the chance that there's a bug in your seat's memory settings, rather than the body-control module, it's worth trying to reset them. You can start by simply overriding your current settings with new ones. But ideally, you'd like to clear the seat memory entirely. Check your owner's manual to see if there's a way to reset all the seat memory.

If not, you can clear it by disconnecting your battery for a few minutes. You'll also lose other saved settings, like your clock and radio presets, but that's not a huge deal. If your at-home resets don't solve the problem, then I'd ask your dealer if he can reset the body-control module -- essentially reprogram it. There may even be a software upgrade that's available.

I'm guessing there's a software glitch that's causing this, and reprogramming the module might ultimately be what's needed to fix it. Hopefully, you won't have to replace the body-control module, because that'll run you $1,200-$1,500, which is a lot of knee pads.

In the meantime, you can always turn off the automatic seat positioning feature (instructions are in your manual). I know you find it helpful, but if the alternative is joining the knee replacement of the month club, you might be better off living without it until the problem is solved.

Not sure what to do with your old car? Your favorite NPR station can turn it into your favorite radio shows. Here's how.

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