Is it possible to swap a passenger seat for a driver seat in the same car?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

Is it possible to rotate the seats in my '96 Oldsmobile Aurora? I'm a fairly big guy, and I drive a lot. The car has more than 150,000 miles on it already. The passenger
seat has only a few thousand miles of "seat time" on it -- most of it by smaller people. Casual examination of the situation looks promising -- seat controls are mounted on
the doors, not the seats. The seats seem to be symmetrical. They both have the same functions: heat, lumbar, tilt, recline, etc. So can this be done? Will the bolts line up
with the holes? Will it be safe? -- Mark

TOM: You might be able to do it, Mark, but you're going to have to experiment. I've never done a full-frontal seat transplant on an Aurora (there are only few hospitals
in the country that do this). On most cars, seats are left and right specific, but some DO happen to be interchangeable.

RAY: And since your seats have the same electronic features, are remotely controlled from the doors and have seat belts that are attached to the pillars -- not the seats
themselves -- there's no reason not to try it.

TOM: It's a simple procedure. There are usually four or so bolts that hold each seat in place and an electrical harness that plugs in under the seat. So take 'em out some
Saturday morning and try reinstalling one on the other side. If it works, finish the job.

RAY: If the bolt holes DON'T line up correctly, put the seats back in their original positions and forget about it. It'll take you an hour or less either way.

TOM: And in terms of safety, if the holes line up and you tighten the bolts properly, it should be fine. There are no safety features in the driver's seat of this car that are
not present in the passenger seat.

RAY: If the holes don't line up and you're unable to do the transplant, there are two other options you can look into, Mark. One is to look for a newer, used Aurora
driver's seat at a junkyard. The other is to go to an automotive upholstery shop and have them restuff and, if necessary, reupholster your driver's seat. That's cheaper
than a new seat, and they may even be able to customize the Aurora's seat to YOUR seat.

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