If you’ve got brand-new seat rails for your car, but you’re not sure about the installation, don’t worry—we’ve got your back! In our guide, we’ll show you how to properly install aftermarket seat rails and a new seat into your vehicle step-by-step from beginning to end.
What Are Aftermarket Seat Rails?
First, let’s make sure that we’re on the same page regarding seat rails and their purpose. Seat rails, also known as seat brackets, seat mounts, or seat bases, are the support plates that bolt to the vehicle and the base from which the rest of the seat is mounted. Cars and their seats either use bottom mount or side mounts seat rails, but sometimes even both.
The seat rails are the stationary brackets from which the sliders of your seat can slide back and forth. However, some aftermarket seats are fixed and don’t have sliders but connect directly to the seat. Some seat rails also come with an integrated slider, but our guide will assume they’re separate components.
What To Know Before Installation
While seats and sliders have mostly universal parts that fit many vehicles, the seat brackets must be specific to the individual vehicle. So, you must research your seat rails and know they’re compatible with your seat beforehand. Otherwise, you could end up paying a lot of money and putting in a lot of effort to find out your seat rails don’t fit your vehicle.
Also, remember that seat brackets can differ for driver and passenger seats, so make sure you’re installing the right parts for the right seats. If you’ve already uninstalled the factory seat from your car, take your seat brackets and place them where they’d go without your new seat to make sure the holes and bolts line up correctly.
Before installing, make sure all your parts are compatible with your car and know whether your seat and car will be using bottom mounts, side mounts, or both. Installation for side mounts and bottom mounts is essentially the same—the placement of the mounts is just different. The only tool you’ll need is a socket wrench for the bolts, so find one that fits the bolts you’ll be screwing and unscrewing.
How To Properly Install Seat Rails
Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of installing your new aftermarket seat rails. It’s best to assemble the seat mount, the seat slider (if your new seat has one), and the seat all together at once before you attach it to your vehicle. We’ll also go over how to uninstall your factory seat correctly.
Generally, it’s better to uninstall the factory seat after you’ve assembled your new seat just in case something goes wrong, but it doesn’t matter if you uninstall your old chair before or after.
Attach New Sliders to New Seat
If your new seat has sliders, which most do, you’ll have to attach those to the seat before the seat rails. Installing the sliders is a relatively simple process.
First, locate the holes at each corner of your seat, cut a hole in the fabric where the holes are (if necessary), and line up the holes on the sliders to ensure everything is aligned. We recommend you screw the bolts for the slider into the seats without the slider first to make sure they all properly fit.
Once you know your bolts fit the seat, you can attach your sliders. Make sure you use the spacers and washers with the bolts, going seat-spacer-slider-washer-bolt in order. Ensure everything is snug and straight, and then attach the slider handle. Slide them back and forth to test they slide smoothly.
Attach Seat Rails to Sliders
Now that you’ve got your sliders attached to your seat, you can connect your sliders and seat to your seat rails. You may have to use the slider mechanism to move the sliders back and forth to access the holes, but otherwise, they should be easily reachable.
There’s not much to attaching the seat rails to the sliders; line up the holes in the bracket with the nuts and secure the four bolts. Tighten the bolts until everything is firmly connected. Now, your seat is ready to be attached to your vehicle!
Uninstall Factory Seat From Car
Before you can put your new seat in, we have to get rid of your vehicle’s factory seat. If you have an older car, removing it can be as simple as taking out a couple of bolts. Newer vehicles have wire connectors; you should research and learn about your vehicle’s seat before removal.
Locate the bolts in the front and rear of your factory seat’s rails, and slide the seat all the way forward and backward if needed. It’s best to start with the rear bolts and remove the front bolts after.
Once the bolts are out of your factory seat, you’ll want to unplug all the seat connectors. Tilt your seat back to locate the connectors. Be careful; disconnecting the wires could trigger the sensors in your dashboard. Consult an expert if you’re unsure.
If the seat buckle is attached to the seat, you’ll need to remove that as well. It’s usually connected with one bolt. If the buckle is attached to the vehicle chassis, you don’t have to worry about it.
Now that you’ve removed the bolts and disconnected the wires, your factory seat is free to be removed. Factory seats are heavy, so be careful not to scratch your car as you remove it.
Installing Your New Seat
Finally, we can install the new seat. First, if you disconnected the old belt buckle, you’ll want to install that with a new bolt before putting it in your seat. You want your seat and rails to be close to the bolts, but don’t worry about being exact at the moment. Lift your seat into the vehicle, again being careful not to scratch your car.
Before you bolt it down, connect the wires that you disconnected from your old seat into your new one. Be sure they’re not in the way of sliders. If your new chair doesn’t accommodate these wires, you can leave them unplugged.
Now, line up the rails of your new seat with the four nuts on the floor or side of your vehicle. Slide the seat back and forth for easy access to the bolts, and be sure not to overtighten them. Take your time tightening the bolts, not screwing them in completely until all four are attached.
And that’s how you properly install aftermarket seat rails and new seats! Not too hard, right? Remember that you can get all kinds of aftermarket parts for your vehicle, from seat rails to exhaust systems and more at Private Label MFG!