Automotive seating has been dramatically changed in the past twenty years. With new comfort features, safety equipment, and innovations the list of jargon continues to expand. The purpose of the Car & Truck Seat Glossary of Terms is to provide definitions of terms as they're understood within the automotive seat industry.

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Types Of Seats & Consoles

For more information, check out our comprehensive guide to seat types.

Guide to Different Types of Car Seats
Low-Back Seat A seat where the leanback stops around the shoulder area. Often paired with removable headrests.
High-Back Seat A seat where the headrest is integrated into the overall seat frame without adjustments. Common in work vans and performance vehicles.
Bucket Seat A car seat made for one person.
Captain's Chair An bucket seat with one or two armrests, commonly found in minivans and SUVs, designed for comfort.
Bench Seat (Solid) A continuous seat that spans the width of a vehicle's interior, commonly found in work trucks.
60-40 Split Bench Seat A two piece split bench seat. The '60' section seats two, and the '40' section seats one. Typically has a folding armrest.
40-20-40 Split Bench Seat A three piece split bench seat. The two outer seats are the '40' section. The '20' refers to the center jump seat.
Jump Seat Console An individual seat placed in the center of the vehicle between driver and passenger. Usually folds down to convert into a center console.
Center Console

A plastic console that is between the driver and passenger seat. Can be independently mounted to the floor or integrated into the vehicle as a flow-through console.

Flow-through Console Flow-through consoles run from the dashboard all the way back to the armrest creating a 'cockpit' feel.
Sport Seats Seats designed with additional side bolstering to provide extra support during high-speed or dynamic driving.
Performance Seats Seats designed with additional side bolstering as well as slots in the seat to accommodate a racing harness. These are "High-Back" Seats
Recaro Seats A brand of high-performance seats known for their ergonomic design and support, commonly found in high performance vehicles as factory equipment.
Max-Recline Seats Manufactured by Ford, these seats allow you to recline completely flat. For more info, check out our Max Recline Seats Review.
Perfect Positioning Seats Available in select Lincoln models, these seats had 30-way power adjustments. Check out our Perfect Positioning Seats Review.

Upholstery Terms

Stitching and Design Techniques in Car Upholstery
Technique Description
Single Stitch

A basic sewing technique where a single line of thread is used to join two pieces of fabric, commonly used for simplicity and durability.

Double Stitch

A stronger, more durable stitching technique that uses two parallel rows of stitches, often used in areas subjected to more wear.

Top Stitch

A stitching technique where the stitch line is visible on the top side of the fabric, often used for decorative purposes and to reinforce seams.

French Stitch

An intricate seam where the raw edges are completely enclosed, giving a very clean, tailored finish, often used in luxury vehicle interiors.

Piping

A thin strip of fabric, often in a contrasting color, used to define the edges of upholstery panels, enhancing the design and durability.

Contrast Stitching

Stitching that uses a thread color that contrasts with the fabric color, highlighting the design details of upholstery.

Inserts

The center-most panel of material in the seat cover encompassing the area in which your thighs and back sit.

Faces

The visible parts of upholstery, such as the front of a seat or headrest, where design and material choice are most prominent.

Bolsters

The outer portions of the seat that provide lateral support during corners.

Embroidery

Decorative stitching used for logos or designs in car interiors.

Filigree

Intricate, decorative patterns that are often used to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the vehicle's interior. These designs are typically inspired by traditional craftsmanship and may resemble delicate lace or finely etched metalworks. On the Longhorn edition of the Ram, when fully optioned, filigree detailing can be found on the leather seats, with embossed or stitched patterns that add a luxurious and customized touch to the upholstery.

Embossing

A technique that permanently stamps or raises a logo or design into the material.

Leather Debossing & Embossing - SRT
Tooled Leather An embossing technique where patterns are permanently pressed into the leather, often floral in design and found in western themed vehicles. 
Diamond Stitch Also known as "Quilted" or by the Katzkin name "Tekstitch". This leather has a grid of stitch lines on it to provide a luxurious feel.
Diamond Stitch Leather aka Quilted Leather
Perforation Small holes in the seating material that are intended to provide additional airflow to keep occupants cool. Available both as a standard grid as well as in patterns.
Naugahyde A brand that manufactures vinyl and other coated synthetic materials.
Alcantara A brand name of a synthetic material that is similar to suede.
Katzkin The industry standard in Aftermarket automotive leather.
Repreve A polyester material made from recycled plastics. Used by Ford since 2012.

Seat Materials

Overview of Car Seat Upholstery Materials
Material Description
Vinyl A synthetic material that imitates leather. Durability depends highly on the thickness of the material. Also known as PVC Vinyl, Leatherette, Pleather.
Suede Suede is a cut of leather material known for it's plush feel. Durable but susceptible to staining. Rarely used in modern vehicles.
Sueded Microfiber Cloth material with an ultra plush finish similar to suede.
Aniline Leather Aniline leather has no real surface finish allowing the pores of the leather to breathe. This allows for staining. Popularized during the 2000's era of Ford King Ranch seats.
Semi-Aniline Leather This leather is similar to aniline but with a light color tinting applied, protecting the topmost layer.
Carbon Fiber Carbon fiber is a composite material used in performance vehicles.
Rich Corinthian Leather You're 40 years late to this party, go buy a Cordoba.

 

Seat Functions & Features

Comprehensive Guide to Seat Features
Feature Description
Recline Function This feature allows the seat leanback angle to be adjusted.
Lumbar Support A feature in car seats that provides extra lower back support typically using cables.
Pneumatic Lumbar A feature in car seats that provides extra lower back support using air pumps and a bladder system.
Bolster Support A feature in car seats that provides extra support on the sides of the leanback.
Heated Seats Seats equipped with built-in heating elements, typically resistance wire or carbon-fiber based.
Cooled Seats This term can refer to both ventilated or air conditioned seats. For more information on the differences, check out The Basics of Air Conditioned & Heated Seats
Ventilated Seats Seats that have built-in fans with channeled foam and breathable fabric to allow air circulation.
Air Conditioned Seats These seats combine ventilation with thermoelectric units to cool the air before blowing it through the seat.
Massaging Seats These seats utilize multiple air bladders, air pumps, and a distribution manifold to adjust pressure & support throughout the seat.
Memory Function A feature that allows users to save and recall seat positions electronically. Usually has multiple presets. This can also incorporate other vehicle systems such as power mirrors and steering wheel positions.
Seat Slider Lever A mechanical lever located typically underneath the front of the seat to allow forward and aft adjustment.
Rear Seat Entertainment Systems integrated into the back of front seats providing multimedia entertainment options for rear passengers.
Folding Seats

This allows the leanback of the seat to fold forward. In Coupes this is typically around 45 degrees forward to allow rear seat access. In SUVs the leanbacks often fold down flat for additional cargo space.

Stow N Go Seats Seats that can be completely folded flat to create fake floor. Also called "Cargo Floor" seats.
Tumbling Seats These seats fold forward similar to folding seats and then tumble forward to allow even more space. Common on second row seats in full size SUVs to allow third row seat access.
Powered Seats Seats that utilize electric motors for some or all adjustments.
#-way Powered Adjustments The number in this situation refers to the directions you can adjust a seat. Each motor-function has two directions, ie: Power sliders are a 2-way adjustment.
6-Way Power The industry standard allows forward/aft adjustment as well as height adjustment both in the front and in the rear.
8-Way Power This typically refers to a seat with a 6-Way Power Seat Track plus the addition of powered lumbar or recline.
10-Way Power These seats feature the standard 6-way track, power recline, and 2-way power lumbar adjustment.
12-Way Power These seats feature the standard 6-way track, power recline, and 4-way power lumbar adjustment.
Two-Point Seatbelt Otherwise known as a lap belt, this seatbelt has two connection points. Common in center seats, somehow found in the 2024 Ram Classic. Come on Ram, you can do better.
Three-point Seatbelt The combination of a two-point lap belt with a shoulder belt. Standard for driver and passengers seats since 1968. 
Active Head Restraints These headrests use sensors and electronics to deploy in an accident in an attempt to prevent neck injuries.
Passive Head Restraints These headrests use natural pressure, typically applied backwards to the leanback, to force the headrest forward in a rear-end collision.
Integrated Seatbelt System

Seats equipped with an onboard seatbelt as opposed to mounting to the vehicle frame. More information on this topic can be found in our Comprehensive Guide to Integrated Seat Belts.

Thigh Extenders Also known as "Leg Extenders", this adjustment allowed the front edge of the seat to be moved forward and backward.
Map Pockets Storage compartments located on the back of one seat to provide additional storage space within the vehicle cabin. Primarily used by children for storing Goldfish crackers & legos.

ISOFIX System

LATCH System

Standardized system of hooks and straps in vehicles and child seats that ensures easy and secure child seat installation. Known as LUAS in Canada.
Removable Seats Seats designed to be quickly and easily removed or re-positioned, often found in the third row of SUVs & Minivans.
Swivel Seats Seats that can rotate about a vertical axis, typically used in accessible vehicles or vans for easier entry and exit. Not common in production vehicles due to safety, though Ford teased the return swivel seats.
Air Ride Seats Seats that use air pressure to provide for a cushioned riding experience.
Suspension Seat While most modern seats use a spring mechanism for the cushion, this refers to seats that use a suspension system for the complete seat to aid in ride comfort. Common in work vans.
Safety Alert Seat (General Motors) A seat that vibrates when the Lane Keep Assist function is triggered due to unintentional lane drifting.
Wireless Charging The ability to charge a compatible device without a cable. These charging spots are usually on or in the console.

Seat Parts & Systems

Details of Car Seat Components
Component Description
Adapter Bracket A bracket that allows you to install seats and consoles out of vehicles that would typically be incompatible with yours. These brackets are vehicle specific.
Memory Computer A computer that stores & recalls memory settings for the seat. This is the part that is often bypassed during Ford seat upgrades
Climate Control Unit The seat computer or relay box that specifically handles only the heated and/or cooled seat functions.
Headrest (Adjustable) Typically adjustable only in height, some vehicles are equipped with adjustable tilt as well.
Inboard Armrests These armrests are fastened to the seat and placed on the center side of the vehicle.
Outboard Armrests These armrests are fastened to the seat on the outer side. Has not been common since the 90s.
Leanback Frame The metal framing inside of the back rest of the seat.
Recline Mechanism The unit, powered or manual, that engages and disengages the cam system to allow for recline.
Seat Pan The structural base underneath the seat cushion, typically fastened to the seat track. Contains the suspension system for the cusion.
Seat Track The mechanism that allows adjustment of a seat. Includes the seat rails, height adjustment, tilt adjustments, and sometimes recline adjustment.
Seat Rails (Sliders) The system that allows forward and backward adjustments. These use small rollers and either a manual locking mechanism or a powered motor.
Mounting Bracket The brackets that connect the seat rails to the floor. Normally riveted onto the seat rails. Frequently removed during seat swaps as seen in the 2010 Challenger Seat Upgrade Guide.
Seat Springs Springs designed to absorb bumps for added comfort and extended seat life. Typically fastened to the seat pan.
Seat Trim Piece A plastic piece that covers up the electric and mechanical aspects of a seat, often holds the seat switches. Also known as Seat Valence.
Seat Switch Switches that handle the electric functions of the seat including power adjustments and lumbar support. Can be located on the seat, the console, door panel, or within the infotainment system.
Seat Foam Flexible, form-retaining material, typically polyurethane, used in car seats to provide cushioning and support. Can refer to the foam on the leanback or the seat cushion bottom.
Seat Cushion The shaped foam cushioned that sits atop the seat pan.
Seat Leanback The complete backrest assembly of the seat.
Seat Cover (Skin) Vehicle specific upholstery that fastens directly to the seat foam. Recommended to be installed by professionals.
Seat Cover (Aftermarket) Often universal, these covers slip on over the factory seat cover. Can be installed yourself.
Seat Position Sensor A sensor that detects the position of a seat and is typically used to optimize airbag deployment based on the occupant's proximity to the dashboard.
Seat Heater Pad Heating elements that warm the seat surface to increase comfort in cold weather. Typically resistance wire or carbon fiber.
SRS System The Supplemental Restrain System controls the airbags as well as the seatbelt pretensioners and other safety features. Understanding the SRS system is crucial for seat swaps, read our Seat Swap Warning Light Guide.
Side-Impact Seat Airbags Airbags mounted inside of the seat that deploy in the event of a side impact. These typically destroy the seat cover when deployed.
Seat Belt Pretensioner When an accident occurs this system nearly instantaneously retracts the seatbelt helping brace the occupant for impact. Typically powered by a small explosive charge.
Occupant Classification System Part of the SRS system. This system identifies if the passenger seat is occupied and enables or disables the passenger front airbag accordingly.
Side Bolsters The sides of a seat that help to stabilize the occupant during turns, providing lateral support.
Lumbar Support Pump A pneumatic pump that generates pressure for use in lumbar systems.
Seat Track Covers Covers that protect the seat rails from wear and debris, while also enhancing the vehicle's interior aesthetics.
Seat Track Motor A DC motor that turns gears in the seat allowing adjustments.
Seat Track Transmission A metal shaft that transfers the spinning force of the seat track motor.
Seat Track Bushings The mechanism that allows seat adjustments to be made smooth. Also known as "track guides". Repairs involving these typically cost more than a complete seat track.

Truck Cab Sizes

Types of Truck Cab Configurations
Regular Cab

A two door truck without rear seats.

Synonyms: Standard Cab

Extended Cab

A four door truck. The rear doors are smaller than the front doors and often open backwards.

Synonyms: SuperCab, Cab Plus, Club Cab, Quad Cab, Double Cab, King Cab

Crew Cab

A four door truck. The rear doors are approximately the same size as the front doors and open regularly.

Synonyms: SuperCrew, CrewMax

Mega Cab A RAM specific cab size. This is a crew cab with added space behind the rear doors.