Update on refurbishing the driver's seat in my 91 Civic:
The $10 seat I bought at the salvage yard came apart (sans
service manual instructions) okay. Like Tegger notes, the
seat covers are on tight. I only took off the bottom one.
Around two dozen clips affix it to the seat pad. The clips
are a little annoying to undo. I used 8-inch needle nose
pliers, mostly to get them off.
Compressing the foam of the seat pad facilitates removing
the seat cover; it was not too difficult to get it off. I
never felt like anything was going to tear.
The seat cover is an extravagant bit of upholstery, with its
padding and fancy, very secure stitching. I imagine it is
probably worth what the OEM dealers charge, all things
I put the salvage seat cover into the washing machine,
warm/cold with about 1/4 cup of powder detergent, super
gentle cycle, long wash. It was very dirty, from the looks
of the wash water, but after an extra rinse, the water was
coming out clear. The vinyl used in the seat cover
discolored a bit. "Armour All" fixed this right up.
I took apart the original seat that came with my 91 Civic.
This being the second time I'd taken one apart, it was much
easier. Washed its seat cover, too. It did not clean up
quite as nice as the 110k miles salvage one
did--perspiration smears still show a bit. Still, it's now a
I wwitched the thick foam pads on which one sits, since the
salvage one seemed to have more bounce left in it. I put the
newly washed and dried salvage seat cover in, skipping the
top set of clips (as an experiment, since they are
particularly annoying to remove and install). All told it
looks really nice! It feels better too, though I may spend
the $40 or so at the online OEM Honda parts sites for a new
pad within a year or so, now that I can get the seat apart
pretty quickly at this point.
So to all of you driving old Hondas whose engines will not
quit, but various accessories are looking a bit worse for
the wear: Take a day or two to take apart each seat, and
launder your seat covers. You'll have that new car feeling.