Can You Add Seats To A Chevy Express Van?

Whether you have owned a Chevy Express Van for a while, just purchased one, or plan on it, they can seat many individuals. You might require even more seating, causing you to wonder, can you add seats?  We have done the research and compiled the information here to answer how you can maximize the seating arrangements for the Chevy Express. 

In some situations, you can add seats to your Chevy Express Van. While some factory configurations do not allow for more seats to be added, they all have the ability to be altered in almost any way you can imagine. These vans are available in 12 and 15 passenger versions, and Chevrolet has made them fully customizable in terms of seating arrangements.

This poses more questions like: Can you turn a cargo van into a passenger van? Is it legal to add seats to a cargo van? Can you put seats sideways in a van? Do Chevy Express seats fold down? Keep reading; you'll find all the answers here! 

Luxury van Chevrolet Express drives in the city street. Can You Add Seats To A Chevy Express Van

Can You Add Seats To A Chevy Express Van?

If you purchased an Express Van and there is room for more seats, you can certainly do the work and jump through the hoops to add seats; it is possible. These vehicles are mostly made for commercial purposes, which means they are stripped down and lack many features that would keep them from being customized. 

Can You Remove Seats From A Chevy Express Van?

You can also remove seats from these vans much easier than you can add them. Doing this can create more trunk space, more legroom for rear passengers, or anything else you can imagine. This is a benefit of purchasing one of these vehicles.

Removing the seats can be as easy as taking off the bolts, unplugging a few things, and removing the seats. You will also want to consider whether you want to leave or take out seat belts and other pieces that may get in the way if you want to legitimately turn your passenger van into a cargo van.

What Are The Layouts Of Each Model?

The Chevy Express Vans come in a few different models and configurations. We will explore them briefly, here.

For the models without seats, you can choose either a regular or extended wheelbase. Choosing the extended wheelbase gives you a few more feet of storage capacity. If you choose to go with a passenger-ready van, you can choose between either a 12-passenger model or a 15-passenger model.

Can You Turn A Cargo Van Into A Passenger Van?

The short answer is yes. However, there are plenty of things to consider. There are a few reasons for this.

One, you will have to consider the safety features required for passengers to ride in the seats you install. This means you may need to install windows if there are none, seatbelts, airbags, and potentially more. This will all depend on state and local laws, but seatbelts are guaranteed to be something you will need.

Installing a seatbelt properly is important for it to pass inspection and keep passengers safe. This means you will want to hire a professional when doing this type of work. We never recommend doing this on your own.

Check out the ultimate conversion, from cargo van to passenger/liveaboard vehicle:

On the flip side, turning a passenger van into a cargo van is a much more feasible job for yourself. This would just require removing items such as seats. If you are looking to do this, look for tutorials on YouTube to see how other people have accomplished this task. 

Is It Legal To Add Seats To A Cargo Van?

This question cannot be answered with a yes or no. Certain states have certain rules for adding seats and complying with safety requirements. You will want to do research concerning your own state's rules and consult many professionals before attempting to get it registered. 

To meet legal requirements, the main concern is safety. You must meet the standard safety codes for vehicles to carry passengers. As mentioned before, this will involve seatbelts, windows, and potentially airbags. Again, this will require learning about what rules your specific state has for these types of projects.

Whether or not it is legal will depend on the type of van you have. If it is heavy enough, it may be exempt from certain laws. This may mean if you own one of the bigger sizes, you could. However, if you own a small cargo van there may be no way for you to do this legally. It all depends on where you are located.

Can You Put Seats Sideways In A Van?

Most of the time this legal for seats to be backwards or sideways, but checking with local laws is definitely necessary before doing anything. It is also important to consider how sideways and backwards seats can be dangerous if you get in a wreck. Implementing airbags would be very important.

While it can be exciting to consider all the possibilities of putting seats in sideways, forward, or backward, you will want to seriously consider what is going to be the safest option for your passengers.

Do Chevy Express Seats Fold Down? 

Yes and no. Depending on the model you buy, some seats may be able to fold down completely or partially. Almost all seats will be able to recline, which may be enough for the project you are trying to complete.

To see if your seats are able to fold down or recline, check around each of the seats to see if you can locate a lever or mechanism to have them fold.

If your seats are not able to recline, you may consider purchasing and installing replacement seats which can fold down all the way. Having seats that do this can be the perfect hybrid between a passenger van and a cargo van.


Overall, Chevy Express Vans have the ability to be customized and altered to an extent. This means just because you can, does not mean you should. Laws may prohibit you from adding seats without seatbelts or safety. Doing the proper research is imperative for you to be able to complete your project the correct way. Adding seats to certain models can be much easier than others, so if you find yourself with one of these models, then it should be a much easier process.

Looking for more information involving Express Vans? We have plenty of articles for you to read: "Can You Flat Tow A Chevy Express Van?"

Wondering how long a Chevy Express Van lasts? We have the answer! Check out this article: "How Long Do Chevy Express Vans Last?"

Share this article

One comment

  1. Looking for the plastic grommet part that covers the track and the hole in the carpet.
    Seems like no one has them. Any recommendations??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *