How to Take Apart a Car Interior


If you are restoring or customizing a car, the interior is more than likely going to receive some attention as well. Over the years, car interiors take real beating from drivers and passengers climbing in and out. Removing a car interior for renovation or replacement is relatively involved, but can be done with the proper tools and approach. It is recommended that you consult a workshop manual specific to your car when removing an interior.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket set and ratchet
  • Screwdrivers (flat-head and Phillips)
  • Allen wrenches
  • Metal and plastic scrapers
  • Respirator
  • Remove the seats first. This will make it easier to remove the rest of the interior and allow you to have more room. Seats are generally held in with four bolts, two in the front and two in the back. Slide the seats back to access the front bolts and forward to access the rear bolts. The bolts will be removed with either a socket or an Allen wrench. Remove the rear seats as well.

  • Remove the seat sliders and adapters if they are still mounted in the car. These are generally removed with a socket as well.

  • Remove the foot well trim panels on either side of the car in the foot wells. These will be held in with screws and or clips. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws. If the panels are held on with clips, simply pull gently on the panels to release them.

  • Remove the center console, which is usually bolted to the floor and possibly to part of the dash. Some of the screws or bolts may be hidden. Disconnect any wires or wiring harnesses fastened to the center console and remove it from the interior.

  • Remove the seat belts, which are held in with large bolts on the floor and behind the seats.

  • Pull the carpeting up. Some vehicles have large one-piece, molded carpeting that is removed in one piece. Other cars, particularly classic cars, have multi-piece carpeting that is removed one section at a time. Note how the carpet pieces overlap for later installation of the existing carpet or new carpet.

  • Remove the sound-deadening underneath the carpeting. Wear a respirator when doing this to avoid inhaling the dust from the sound-deadening and the adhesive that holds the sound deadening in place. Scrape up any adhesive still on the floorboards with a chisel and wire brushes.

  • Remove the headliner. This may require that the front and rear windows be removed since the edge of the headliner may tuck between the windows and the body. The windows should be removed by a professional shop to avoid breaking them, which could potentially lead to a costly fix.

  • Remove the door handles, window switches or cranks if the car doesn’t have power windows. These parts are usually held on with small hidden screws or clips. Remove the armrest, which is usually bolted to the door through the door panel. Remove the door panel, which is held on with clips or screws. Gently pull the panel off if it is held on with clips. Put the clips in a plastic bag so you don’t lose track of them.

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