Seat Bottom General Installation Guide


This document will serve as a general installation guide for replacing a bottom seat cover (or foam cushion). There are unique aspects of any installation based on the manufacturer, seat style, power options, etc. The goal of this guide is not to provide exhaustive coverage of all possibilities, but simply to overview the general process that one would follow when attempting installation.

Table of Contents

Step 1. Documenting the Process

  1. Snap some quick “before” photos of the seat(s) you’re working on.
  2. Keep your camera app handy and take photos as you go. You may find it helpful to refer to them during the installation process.

Step 2. Removing the Seat(s) from the Vehicle

  1. To access the front two bolts, move the seat as far back as it will go (away from the steering wheel).
  2. Unfasten the front two bolts/nuts:
    • Some seats do not have bolts or nuts but instead have tabs. See Figure 1 for reference.
    • In some cases, the bolts are located in the seat channel. See Figure 2 for reference.
    • Some bolts or nuts may be covered by a plastic trim cover. See Figure 3 for reference.
  3. To access the rear two bolts/nuts, move the seat as far forward as it will go (towards the steering wheel).
  4. Unfasten the rear two bolts/nuts.

The following are common bolt styles used to secure the seat frame to the vehicle (see Figure 4 for reference):

  • Hex Nut.
  • Torx Nut.
  • Torx Screw.

You can use standard or metric sockets to remove both Hex Nuts and Torx Nuts. To remove Torx Screws, you'll need the proper size Torx bit.

Once the bolts are removed:

  1. Place the seat in a mid-point position (not all the way forward or all the way back). See Figure 5 for reference.
  2. Ensure the seat back is upright and any lumbar support (if applicable) is set in a neutral/relaxed position (fully retracted into the seat).
  3. If your vehicle has power seats, raise the seat to provide more clearance to work underneath it.
  4. Disconnect all electrical and airbag connections (these connections are located in the floorboard and connect to your seat). Each connection type is unique to prevent re-wiring mistakes. However, feel free take a photo of the connections before disassembling them for reference during re-installation.
    • Note: Do not turn on the ignition with the seat unplugged as it may trigger a warning light on the dashboard and require a mechanic to clear it.
  5. Carefully lift the seat out of the vehicle and place it on a sturdy workbench.
    • Note: The seat frame is heavy and has sharp edges and will easily scratch the surface it is on.

Step 3. Removing the Seat Controls

If you have a manual seat, there may be one or more plastic pieces used to adjust the seat. If you have a powered seat, there may be a plastic side panel, typically containing power control switches, lumbar knobs, and/or levers that control the angle of the seat back.

  1. Unscrew any screws that hold the panel or manual levers/knobs to the seat frame.
  2. Disengage any plastic hooks or catches that still attach the panel to the seat, and disconnect any electric connections attached to the panel. See Figure 6 for reference.

Step 4. Detaching Plastic J Clips from the Seat Pan or Frame

  1. Start by using a pry tool or screwdriver to unhook the plastic J clips that secure the upholstered cover to the metal seat pan or frame.
  2. Once all the clips have been detached, unroll the cover by turning it inside out, starting from the front and moving towards the back.
    • Note: If the seat backrest frame passes through the bottom seat cover, it will be necessary to remove the backrest from the seat to continue. See Figure 7 for reference.
  3. With the J clips detached and the cover unrolled, you should now be able to remove the cover and cushion from the seat pan/frame.

Step 5. Detaching the Seat Cover from the Foam Cushion

Note: If you are not reusing your existing foam cushion or seat cover and your seat does not have heating or ventilation capabilities, you can proceed to Step 6.

  1. Locate the attachment method anchor points used to secure the seat cover to the foam cushion.
  2. Based on the attachment method, follow the appropriate steps to detach the cover from the cushion:
    • Velcro: Carefully separate the Velcro strips a few inches at a time, holding down on the bottom strip to prevent tearing it from the foam cushion. See Figure 8 for reference.
    • Retainer Clips: Gently pull the plastic strips from the retainer clips, being mindful not to rip the clips from the foam cushion. See Figure 9 for reference.
    • Hog Rings: Carefully clip the hog rings to separate the hog ring strip on the cover from the hog ring bar inside the foam cushion. See Figure 10 for reference. Check for any broken pieces of hog rings in the cushion and remove them to prevent any damage to both the cushion and cover.

    Note: Some rare seat covers may have metal bars that slide through cloth loops in the cover and attach to the foam cushion using hog rings. These metal bars should be re-used with the new seat cover.

  3. If your seat has a heating element and it needs to be removed, carefully peel it off the foam surface to avoid damaging the cushion. You can use spray adhesive to attach the heating element to the new foam cushion.
  4. If you are replacing your foam cushion, and your seat is ventilated (meaning it is equipped with heating and cooling functions), you may need to detach the heating/cooling mechanism from the foam cushion for use with the new foam cushion. Ventilated parts may be glued onto the surface of the foam cushion, so remove them carefully to avoid damaging any parts.