There are several reasons why you may want to remove bench seats from your vehicle. A bench seat stretches across the entire width of the car and you can generally seat 3 people on the seat, unlike captain seats, which generally have a console in the center. You can take out the bench seat for more cargo space, if you want to use the van or truck for a long trip and create a sleeping space or if you just want to do some deep cleaning.
Step 1 - Finding and Removing the Bolts
Most bench seats will be bolted to the floor. You should find bolts at the 4 corners that attach the seat to the floor. Use a ratchet to unscrew the bolts. If you have trouble, you may need a friend to get under the car and hold the nut from one side while you unscrew the bolt. Once the bolts are removed, you will notice the seat is very loose and will move, but don’t pull it out yet.
Step 2 - The Wiring
Some bench seats will have wiring that you will need to disconnect. The wires provide power to the seat. Most of the time this is found on seats that convert to a bed as the wires will be connected to a motor that moves the seat. This is also the case for heated seats. The wires should easily unsnap, but you may need to go to the source and disconnect them.
Step 3 - Latch System
Your car may not have the bench seat bolted down. It may simply latch into the car floor. To remove this kind of seat, simply fold down and then lift up on the latches. There is typically latch at the front and back of the seat. With the latches up, lift the seat until the floor clips are out of the latch areas. First tip the seat out of the back latch, and then tip to remove it from the front latch. You can now take it out of the vehicle. Get a friend's help because the seat can be heavy.
Step 4 - Getting it Out
How you get the seat out will entirely depend on your vehicle. If you're taking out the furthest seat back, then sliding it out of the back door may be the easiest. However, if you are removing the middle seat, sliding it out the side sliding door may be easiest. You may want to use a spare piece of rug and slide it out as easily as possible.
Step 5 - Troubleshooting
Most people have difficulties with the latch or clip system. You do need to put some effort and power into it when pulling up on the seat. The seat weighs a bit, and most people do not pull hard enough to clear the clips from the recessed area. You can hurt yourself if you do this alone, so make sure you have a friend or family member that can help you get the seat out of the car. If you are not careful, you can damage the car, the seat and yourself.