Today: What good is a car without seats?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 2011

Dear Tom and Ray:

Last night my daughter's 2000 Acura Integra was broken into, and they stole the front and back leather seats, and nothing else. The car had been locked and the windows were not broken. A police report was made. She does not have comprehensive insurance on the car, so insurance will not cover it. How can I help her? She's unable to drive without seats. Why would anyone do that?

-- Rita

TOM: Maybe you can find these thieves and offer to sell them the rest of the car.

RAY: When you find out how much replacement seats cost -- even used seats -- you'll know why these jerks went out and stole them.

TOM: Seats can be very expensive. Some have sensors and side air bags built into them. Some have motors for electric height and recline adjustment. But yours should be relatively simple. If I had to guess, I'd say used replacement seats for this car are going to run about $500.

RAY: Your best bet is to call a junkyard. Even if they don't have a set on hand, they can search around and find out if other junkyards have them. Or maybe they can find you a set of cloth seats, which probably would cost half as much.

TOM: They also can tell you which other seats -- from other model year Integras -- will fit your daughter's car.

RAY: It's also possible that since the Integra was derived from a Honda Civic, Civic seats may fit in there. You'd have to measure a Civic seat and see if the bolt holes line up. But that may be an option, and there are a lot more old Civic seats in junkyards than Integra seats. If they fit, you probably could get non-leather, used Civic seats for $75 or $100 each.

TOM: So call a junkyard. If they can't find you Integra seats, or if the prices are prohibitive, then explore the Civic option.

RAY: Start by carefully measuring the distance between the bolt holes on the floor of your daughter's car. Draw yourself a little diagram. And then take that to a good (i.e. large) local junkyard and ask for some help.

TOM: They even may be willing to bolt your replacement seats in for you if you have the car towed over. But keep a close eye on it while it's there. It'd be easy for them to mistake it for "incoming inventory." Good luck, Rita.

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