Height-Adjustable Driver Seat - Feature Explained
In this Feature Explained article, we’ll present the most detailed analysis of your car's height-adjustable driver seat feature. We’ll list out the pros and cons of a height-adjustable driver seat, explain how it works, and provide the typical cost of getting a height-adjustable driver seat from the aftermarket, and its repair and replacement costs. Based on this analysis, we’ll suggest if you should add this feature to your car or skip it.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Height-Adjustable Driver Seat?
The pros, or advantages, of a height-adjustable driver seat in a car, are:
- A height-adjustable driver seat lets shorter drivers increase the height of the seat base to improve visibility
- It lets taller drivers decrease the height of the seat base to improve headroom
- A height-adjustable driver seat is a must-have feature if you have multiple members in your family with varying heights driving the same car regularly
- Overall, a height-adjustable driver seat allows the driver to find a comfortable driving position
A height-adjustable driver seat has virtually no disadvantages or problems. After all, a height-adjustable driver seat is a feature in your car that lets you adjust the height of the seat according to your preference. So, whether you are tall or short, you will appreciate a height-adjustable driver seat.
What Is A Height-Adjustable Driver Seat?
A height-adjustable driver seat lets the driver increase or decrease the height of the seat base. In its high position, it helps shorter drivers with better visibility. Meanwhile, if taller drivers find themselves brushing their head against the roof liner, then it lets them lower the seat base to improve headroom and find a comfortable driving position.
How Does A Height-Adjustable Driver Seat Work?
Typically, there are 2 types of height-adjustable driver seats – manual- and electronically-adjustable driver seat. In manually-adjustable driver seats, the seat base is mounted on cross members called the seat riser. The seat riser is coupled to a lever on the side of the seat base. Drivers can increase the height of the seat by pulling the lever up and decrease the height by pushing the lever down. You will need to pull or push the lever a few times to get it to your preferred height.
In electronically-adjustable driver seats, the seat riser is coupled to electric motors that move the seats up or down. The controls for electronically-adjustable driver seats are typically found on the plastic shroud that covers the bottom half of the seat base or on the door panel.
How Expensive Is It To Repair Or Replace A Height-Adjustable Driver Seat?
The cost of repairing or replacing a height-adjustable driver seat depends on the kind of repair it requires. Typically, the height-adjustable driver seat in your car, especially manual ones, last as long as the car itself. However, it is possible to break the lever by applying too much pressure. While the lever itself could be as affordable as a few hundred rupees, the seat has to be disassembled for replacing the lever. This could cost between Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,000.
Unfortunately, repairing an electrically-adjustable driver seat costs a lot more. If the switch assembly or the electric motor for the height adjustment becomes faulty, then you’re looking at an expense of up to Rs. 15,000, excluding labour charges. It’s worth noting that if the car has electric height adjustment, it typically also has adjustment for reclining and fore and aft movement adjustment. Such a seat will have 3 electric motors for 6-way electric adjustment. Replacing either of the 3 motors in a mass market car could cost Rs. 5,000 - 10,000.
What Is The Cost Of An Aftermarket Height-Adjustable Driver Seat?
Unfortunately, height-adjustable driver seats are not available from the aftermarket. However, there are various accessories, such as cushions and seat risers, from the aftermarket that allows you to increase the seat height in your car. However, we do not recommend these devices as they can prove unsafe in the event of an accident. Unlike car seats, aftermarket seat cushions are not tethered to the car. Hence, they can slide forward in the event of a crash. This is a risky setup for your safety because in the event of a crash, the airbags could hit your face and chest at a different point than the manufacturer intended. The quality of seat risers cannot be guaranteed as the metal used in their construction may not be as strong as the original seat mounts that come with your car from the factory.
The only viable option is to replace the original car seat with one from the higher variant, which gets this feature. Even this is advisable only for manually-adjustable seats. It could cost Rs. 7,000 - 12,000 to get an OEM-spec Generally, cars which get an electrically-adjustable driver seat have manual adjustment in lower variants. So, there are good chances that you won’t have to fiddle with installing an electrically-adjustable driver seat just to get height adjustment.
How Easy Or Complex Is It To Install A Height-Adjustable Driver Seat?
If you intend to get a height-adjustable driver seat, you will have to ensure that at least the top variants of the model you own come with this feature. If so, then you need to buy the seat from the top variant, which gets the height adjustment feature. Then you can get a mechanic to replace the driver seat with the new one. For manually-adjustable driver seats, we believe it’s okay to swap it with another one from a higher variant. But if the higher variant only gets an electrically adjustable driver seat, then it can get quite complex. So, we won’t recommend getting such a seat in this case.
What Cars Get Height-Adjustable Driver Seats?
In India, most cars from the B1-segment (Maruti Arena Swift, Renault Triber) and above get manually-adjustable driver seats, at least in their higher variants. However, electrically-adjustable driver seats are available in cars from the C-segment (Hyundai Creta, Tata Harrier) and above.
Verdict - Should I Get An Aftermarket Height-Adjustable Driver Seat?
It’s a little tedious and expensive to get a height-adjustable driver seat after buying the car. So, you should consider the variant, which comes with this feature from the factory. While you could get an OEM height-adjustable seat from your authorised car service centre, we do not recommend them as they are quite pricey considering that they're only adding this one feature to your car.
Note: Check your Car EMI with our - Car Loan EMI Calculator
You can use our Fuel Cost Calculator to see how much any petrol, diesel or CNG car will cost to run based on the latest fuel price in your city.