How to modify car seat covers to fit with side air bag seats

Written by eric cedric
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How to modify car seat covers to fit with side air bag seats
Many modern autos have air bags for safety. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Seat covers prolong the life of your auto seats' upholstery. Because many modern automobiles have driver and passenger side airbags, often deployed off a seat-side, it is crucial to use a cover that keeps the deployment area free and open. To save money, modify your existing seat covers versus buying or ordering a custom set of covers for your car. While it may not be as aesthetically pleasing as a custom set, the seats are protected and the airbags maintain their effective use.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Cutting board
  • Tape measure
  • Water soluble marker

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  1. 1

    Locate the deployment areas for the airbags. Most autos have stickers or indicators for where the airbags are housed. Look at the sides of the seat, facing the other seat. Many airbags are deployed from the inner side of the opposite seat (the left side of the right passenger seat, and the right side of the left side driver's seat).

  2. 2

    Put the seat covers over the car seats. Mark on the cover (with the marker) the area where the airbag is deployed and remove the covers.

  3. 3

    Spread the covers out on a cutting board and cut out the airbag deployment area. Keep at least two extra inches around the hole to accommodate any shift in the cover, thus preventing airbag misfires.

  4. 4

    Place the seat covers back on the auto seats and align the airbag holes to the deployment zones.

  5. 5

    Check the seat covers every few days to ensure the airbags deployment zone is not covered.

Tips and warnings

  • Many automakers do not recommend using any seat covers, modified for airbags or otherwise. Safety needs to come before the life of the seat upholstery. Make your own decision regarding the safety of modified seat covers and seat-side airbags.

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