Despite being a really simple task, many people have never replaced there car seats.
There’s a whole host of reasons why you may need to replace your car seats. The most common being accidents, travel sick kids, pets, carelessness or modification purposes.
Whether you’re looking to replace torn seats, fit more comfortable seats or reduce your cars weight, here’s a complete guide on how to do it, the tools that you’ll need and how much it will cost you.
How To Replace Car Seats
I’ll make this clear now, every car is different!
While it’s fairly simple to remove and refit car seats, every car seat has different features and sometimes different configurations.
If you’re looking for an guide for your exact car, it’s best that you search “car model” & “seat removal” on youtube or google. This way you’ll get an exact step by step and know exactly what you’re in for.
That being said, most car seats are held in by a couple of bolts and are easily switched around with a couple of tools and 10 minutes of your time.
Fortunately, you don’t need many tools to remove and refit car seats. If you’ve done any mechanical or bodywork before, you probably already have the stuff that you’ll need.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Plastic or Metal Trim Tools
For most, that’s all you’ll require.
The bolts between every car will be different, some will require 10mm sockets, others may require T50 bits. If you can, research before hand, or look at the bolts to make sure you have the correct equipment.
As for the trim tools, they’re not 100% necessary, but will come in handy a lot of the time. Especially if you’re working on high end cars that use trim pieces to cover and hide bolts from plain sight.
Some of the time you’ll be able to remove pieces of trim using your hands, an old credit card or even plastic knives.
Disconnect The Battery
While in a lot of cases disconnecting the battery isn’t actually necessary, it’s safer to do so.
Disconnecting the battery and waiting for 30 minutes will help to disable seat belt pretensioners and prevent you from doing anything that could potentially cause issues.
The only most common problem after disconnecting your battery, is that you may need to unlock the car stereo system again or some other features using a code.
There are other potential problems, but they’re far less common. As long as you disconnect the battery in the proper way, you should be fine.
Locate The Bolts
When working on older or cheaper cars, you’ll probably be able to find the bolts with ease. In my 53 plate fiesta, it’s very obvious what I need to unbolt to free the seat from the car.
However, when working on modern and high spec cars, you may find that the bolts are hidden away under plastic trims.
It’s normally straightforward to remove these trims, most of the time you can unclip them using plastic or metal trim tools. Just be careful and make sure the trims are not bolted in, causing you to bend or snap them.
Unbolt & Unplug The Seat
Once you have located all of the bolts, everything else is simple and straightforward. Simply grab your ratchet and whatever socket is required and start to unbolt the seats.
Depending on the features that your car seat has, you may need to unplug some electrical connections.
If your car seat does have electrical connections, I’d make sure to disconnect the battery, not doing this could result in SRS codes to be triggered.
It’s up to you whether you unplug or unbolt the seat first. In some cases it will be easier to unplug the seat first, in others you’ll gain better access after unbolting and moving the seat.
Insert New Seat
After removing the old seat from the car, it’s time to put in your replacement car seat.
First of all, before even buying the seat, you should make sure that it will be a direct fit, if not, you’ll need to make modifications to accommodate it.
In this case, I’m assuming it’s a fit.
All that you need to do is lift the car seat into the position where the old one was sat. Make sure that any carpet is tucked under and every bolt hole lines up straight.
If you put the seat in the wrong position or orientation, you’ll have a much harder time tightening the bolts and it may not even be properly secured.
Bolt In Using Manufacturers Specifications
Finally, once you’ve got the new seat in and everything lined up, it’s important to make sure it’s secured correctly.
To do this, use your ratchet or impact gun to drill the bolts in before torquing them to manufacturers specification using a torque wrench.
You can find the exact specs in the service manual, however, most manufacturers will recommend using around 30-40 nM of torque.
Another thing that manufacturers may recommend is to replace the bolts with new ones. This isn’t necessary most of the time, but is a good idea if you can get your hands on replacement bolts cheap enough.