Whether you’ve purchased a pre-owned vehicle, upgrading a current van or looking at a crew cab conversion you’re going to need new seats. The seating in work vans take an awful lot of punishment. They get old very quickly. They are used just about every day, have tools and equipment thrown on them and take a battering from spilt drinks and food. It isn’t much of a surprise that most vehicles will have their seating replaced at least one during their lifecycle.
Whether you are looking to replace the current seats in your work vehicle or need to install additional seating, there are so many things you will need to consider. Buying van seats isn’t as easy as nipping out for a bottle of milk.
You need to find a supplier, good quality seats, seats that will fit your vehicle and budget. There’s a lot to think about.
But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. In our Van Seats Buyer’s Guide, we’ll give you all the information you will need to purchase the best seats at the best prices. Let’s crack on.
Why replace your van seats?
There are many reasons that replacing your van seats is a good idea. Primarily, over time, you will notice that your van seats begin to wear. This is true of absolutely anything but replacing the van seats will ensure that they are safe and functional as well as being aesthetically pleasing.
Moreover, if you purchase a used vehicle, you may not know the condition of the seats and there are instances where they may be unfit for use. If the van has previously been in an accident, the integrity of the seats may not be what it once was.
Also, if you purchase a used van and the seats are looking a little tired and worn, you will want to replace them so that they look up to date and tidy. This is especially true if you are using your van in a professional capacity and want to maintain the high standards and reputation of your business has earned.
The van is also a workplace and employees or contractors have the right to expect good working conditions. Maintaining safe, secure and clean seating plays a part in providing a good working environment.
Apart from upgrading or replacing worn seating another reason to look for new seats is if you’re looking at a crew cab conversion.
What is a crew cab conversion?
Crew cabbing refers to altering the internal layout of a vehicle. Quite often, this will be done to save on tax because the vehicle will then be classed as a commercial crew cab vehicle. In this instance, you would typically remove seats creating more cargo space within the vehicle.
On the other hand, it is possible to add seating, increasing the number of people that the van can carry at any one time. Most of the time, this process will be done on vans with an existing set of two or three seats and will often double or even triple the usable seating space.
This allows you to transport more people to site at the same time increasing efficiency by making sure the full crew turns up together and on schedule.
What’s great about adding seats in a crew cab conversion is that the seating can usually be removed for times when additional cargo space is required, meaning that you are left with a much more versatile vehicle.
Can you put extra seats in a van?
In the UK, there aren’t any specific guidelines that detail whether you can or cannot add seating to a van. That said, there are other laws that include important regulations for the construction of road vehicles so when you are installing new seating in your van, you must ensure that you abide by these laws.
For detailed information, you can check out the UK Government’s website. However, in short, you will need to ensure that the vehicle, passengers (how many and the way they are carried) and the weight and distribution of the cargo is not likely to cause danger to other road users.
Furthermore, any additional seating must be installed in a secure manner especially so that they are not disturbed should there be an accident. The government recommends, and we fully support this, that you should always seek professional help when installing new van seating.
If you’re thinking about adding additional seating call us on 01455 856 816 and we’ll be happy to talk through your options. We’re specialists in this field and we’ll be able to advise you on the best way to add more seating and, of course, we’ll also be able to manufacture your new seats for you.
How to choose the best seat for your van
When you are shopping for van seats, you don’t want to take the first option available to you. And you certainly don’t want to base your buying decisions purely on price. It is essential to look over your choices and ensure that the seats you are buying are fit for purpose.
Check where the seat was made. Look for those made to British and EU standards. Is the manufacturer or supplier reputable and experienced in the industry. Be careful because there are so many resellers popping up who sell poor quality imported seats from brand new websites.
There are other things to think about and we’ll cover them all in this buyer’s guide.
This may be stating the obvious but the first thing to consider is the layout and number of seats you’re looking for. Bank of three, a double with a single, high back or semi-high back. On top of this, you must think about whether you want seats with seatbelts included or not. Do you need fixing kits etc. But these aren’t the only things you’ll have to worry about. Consider the following.
Are van seats universal?
Some manufacturers make seats specifically for one model whereas other van seats can be used across a range of vehicles. Checking whether you are getting a universal option is important as the last thing you want is to purchase seats only to find that they fit a Ford as opposed to your Mercedes.
However, all our seats are bespoke so with very few exceptions no matter which van you drive we’ll be able to provide you with custom seating. All manufactured in our own British workshops.
Are they removable?
One of the reasons that a lot of contractors and fleet owners choose to convert their van into a passenger vehicle is to eliminate the need to use two vans at once. However, you may also require more space in the back for cargo at times and less for people. In this instance, you will want to ensure that the seats can be removed.
Adding removable seats as opposed to fixed seating increases the versatility of the vehicle. It can be quickly transformed from a multi-passenger vehicle with seating in the rear to one with a much bigger cargo space simply by removing the seats. This can save businesses so much money on buying, maintaining, taxing and running a second van.
Where to buy van seats
The UK is known for its high standards in manufacturing and van seats is just one such example of this. When you are looking to buy new seats, you should always ensure that they are coming from a reputable British manufacturer. At Alpha Seating we have been producing seats in workshops for 20 years and have supplied thousands of seats to van owners and operators throughout the UK.
All our seats are tested against government standards and you will find that the cost of seats is comparably lower than buying cheap imported products which are inferior in quality and that will need replacing very quickly.
Can I buy seats for my van?
Whichever vehicle you own or operate you can find aftermarket seats for it. In many cases these are superior to the factory fitted seats. Although there is no one size fits all solution if you drive a van from one of the mainstream brands, you’ll have no problem finding replacement or new seats.
We have made seats for every model under the sun and can usually adapt our seating for every type of vehicle.
If you’re unsure whether you can source aftermarket seats for your vehicle, simply contact us on 01455 856 816 and we’ll be happy to let you know options you have available.
Do new van seats have integrated seat belts?
Not all van seats come with integrated seat belts but there are plenty out there that do. These seats are ideal for vans that feature larger doors at the sides as this gives you many more options as to where the seats can be placed. Doing this will optimise the amount of cargo space your van has without compromising on legroom and comfort for your passengers.
For more information on the legal side of seat belts and van seating you should consult the guidelines displayed on the government’s website – you’ll find a link to it further up the page.
Do all seats come with fixing kits?
Most seats are supplied without the fixing kit though these are readily available from the manufacturer. If you’re replacing seats the current fixings may be fine but if they too need replacing your supplier will be able to provide the correct fixing kit for the seating you purchase from them. But when weighing up the cost of a new seat do remember to factor in the possible addition of a new fixing kit.
When new or replacement seats are fitted into a vehicle it is of course essential you adhere to the UK laws on safe construction of road vehicles and ensuring that the van seats are securely fitted falls under this. It is very easy to get your hands on a seat fixing kit but you must make sure that it is approved and safe to use with the particular seat you are installing.
If you are fitting a seat in the cabin of the van then this is generally done using an adapter plate that can be attached to the original seat box. When installing additional seats in the rear of the van, it is as simple as bolting the seats into the position you require using a fixing kit and rails.
However, if you are going to leave the seats in place permanently, you may wish to use a floor strengthening kit which will boost the stability and integrity of the van floor.
Can I change the trim on my seats?
If the seat itself is in good working order, there may not be a need to replace the entire thing. When purchasing a used vehicle or after having used your van for some time, the aesthetic of the seat may become a little tired. Stains from spilled drinks, dropped sandwiches and grease from tools (and bacon butties) are inevitable. In this case, you may decide just to change the trim or cover.
This is incredibly easy and there are many services available for reupholstering your van seats. Alternatively, you may decide to purchase a seat cover that simply slips over the top of the existing ones. This is an affordable and easy way to improve the look of your seat without having to involve a professional.
Here at Alpha Seating, we have hundreds of trims available and you’re sure to be able to find the colour and design you need for your vehicle’s seats. You can see the range here.
How do I clean van seats?
Keeping your van seats clean is important, especially if you are running a business and want to maintain a good reputation. However, being a work vehicle, it comes with the territory that the seats will get dirty much more quickly than those in your car.
There is the option of taking the van to a professional valet who will deep clean the seats for you but this can get costly. If you are looking to do it yourself, the process is relatively simple. You should begin by vacuuming the van seats thoroughly to remove any debris or dust that has become ingrained into the fabric.
Next, you will need to apply a car seat shampoo and, using a scrubbing brush, work this in to remove dirt and stains. In the case of stubborn stains, you may need a special stain remover. For tight spaces, using a toothbrush to work the product in will help you to ensure that no nook or cranny is missed.
You can then dry the seats with a dry cloth and vacuum them again to bring them to a nice finish.
How much do new van seats cost?
It would be almost impossible for us to give you an exact cost for replacing the seats in your van since every project is going to be different. However, there are a few things you can keep in mind that will better help you determine the overall cost.
For example, if you purchase your seats from a retailer, the price will be considerably inflated. For this reason, we would suggest buying van seats directly from the manufacturer. Buying direct is one of the best ways for your business to save money. We’ll discuss this in more depth shortly.
Moreover, you should consider your van seats to be something of an investment. If you go for cheap imported seats, the chances are that the quality will be lacking. In this case, you may have gotten yourself a bargain off the bat but you’ll find that the seats will need replacing not too long after meaning that you’ll end up forking out more regardless. Therefore, it is far better to pay a little more upfront to get high-quality seats that will stand the test of time.
Benefits of an ergonomic van seat
If you spend long hours driving your van then you will appreciate how quickly things can get uncomfortable. The last thing you want is to put strain on your back so going for an ergonomic van seat is the best option.
When we talk about something being ergonomical, we are referring to a product that has been designed for ease of use and comfort. As a result of this, any stress on the body is drastically reduced. In the case of a van seat, it would be designed for extended use without becoming uncomfortable.
Not only this but if drivers are more comfortable then they will be able to perform better and will take less time off work for conditions like back pain. As a direct result of this, financial costs to the business will be reduced. So, while you may have to pay a little more for an ergonomical van seat, in the long run, it will be beneficial.
How to make sure your seat is set up for comfortable driving
Did you know that the way you sit in your seat when driving will impact how comfortable you are? According to Physiomed, there are several things you should do to get your seat in just the right position for optimal comfort.
● You should only ever drive a vehicle that is a comfortable size for you. If you are taller, then driving a compact van will immediately cause you to have to squash yourself into a small space that will be quickly uncomfortable.
● Begin by putting the seat into a position that feels completely unnatural. This is a good way to gauge when things feel right as you make adjustments.
● Now adjust the height of the seat so that your knees and hips are at about the same level. You should ensure that you can see everything clearly before moving on to the next step. If you find that you are too low, it may be worth using a cushion.
● Next, you will need to slide the seat forwards to a position that allows you to fully decompress the pedals but still have a gentle angle to the knee.
● The base of the seat should be in as horizontal a position as possible without drastically altering your level of comfort.
● When adjusting the back of the seat, ensure that it is at an angle of between 100º and 110º as this allows space to form between the discs in the back, keeping you comfortable.
Why you should always make sure your seat is adjusted for comfort
The main reason that having a comfortable seat is important is that any discomfort may affect the productivity of the driver. Moreover, minor irritations such as the seat belt rubbing on the shoulder can become a much larger issue when the seat is not correctly positioned.
Moreover, in the event of an accident, having a correct seating position could help to prevent serious injuries.
Where do I buy van seats online?
There are a few things in life which are indisputable. England will always lose in semi-finals of major tournaments; Politicians of every stripe are out of touch with the person in the street; buying direct from the manufacturer is better value than from a supplier.
Failing football teams and less than honest politicians aside, is an absolute truth that when buying direct from the manufacturer you will save money. And time. This is certainly true when you are looking for new van seats.
Here at Alpha Seating, we manufacture our seats to the highest British and EU standards in our own Leicestershire workshops. Each and every seat is made by experienced and skilled British craftsmen and rigorously tested to ensure the seat is absolutely top quality.
We then sell our seats direct to you, the end user. This means you get the best quality seats at the best possible prices as you’re cutting out the middleman.
To get the best deal on your new seating come direct to the specialists. Call us for an informal chat on 01455 856 816 or complete our contact form and we’ll get straight back to you.