First I would suggest using a carpenter's level to be sure the seat cushion is level. I suspect you won't find a problem there.
Next, use a tape measure to compare the ride height on both sides of the front end. A common place to measure is from the ground to the top of the wheel opening or to the top of a side marker light. A slight difference there is common too, but if you find two inches of difference, suspect a weak spring. That doesn't normally show up for many years. Uneven ride height could cause the seat to lean and you would have to tilt your head to feel you're sitting straight. Ride height would have to be pretty bad, I would think.
You'll have to look at the seat mounts. On most cars, there are four threaded studs coming up out of the floor. The seat sits over those studs, then nuts hold the seat down. The holes in the seat base could be ground on their right side to allow the seat to be moved to the left a little, but I don't think the metal braces are wide enough to elongate the holes 1/2". Some cars, like my Caravans, have the bolts built into the bottoms of the seat bases, and they stick through the floor. Big nuts attach on the bottom, under the vehicle. In that case, you could just drill new holes to the left of the old ones. My floors are flat in that area. Most cars have raised areas that are stamped into the floor sheet metal so you can't mount the seat anywhere else.
Be aware that moving the seat could have unintended consequences related to seat belt access or operation, or air bag effectiveness. If you have side air bags, you'll be sitting closer to them. They'll hit you with greater force than intended.
If any of these suggestions look like they might work, understand you might have to do the work yourself. Most shops won't get involved with modifying anything related to safety. Even though common sense says this shouldn't be a problem, there are many things manufacturers do after finding things related to crash-testing. Dodge, for example, found a potential problem with the engine lifting bracket on their trucks that could catch the wiper motor in a real severe crash and run it into the center passenger's face. They reposition that bracket after assembly. If a mechanic innocently uses that bracket and doesn't put it back in its proper position, he just opened himself up to being part of a potential lawsuit. Things like this is why reputable shops and their employees won't do certain things. Common sense has given way to fear of lawsuits.
What I would recommend first is to put some small shims under the right side of the seat base. That will move the top of the seat to the left and might be just the change you're looking for. Measure the distance between the seat headrest and a point on the car body before and after to see how much change occurred.
You might also hunt for another car like yours to see if the seat is off-center the same way. At least you'll know if it was designed that way.
It might help to know that all roads lean to the right so rain will run off. This is called "road crown" and every alignment technician is aware of it and tweaks a car's settings a litte so you don't have to tug constantly on the steering wheel to keep going straight. Seats are designed to sit level on a level road. By adding shims to raise the right side, you will likely be making the seat sit straighter on the highway than it is now.
Sunday, March 7th, 2010 AT 5:33 PM