Minivans offer customers maximum interior space for the size of the vehicle. On a platform just a bit larger than a full size car, you can fit a driver and six passengers - or a driver, three passengers, and a bunch of stuff. To haul really large items like dressers or chairs, the middle row will even fold down in certain models, to make the rear space one big platform.
Of course, knowing how to stow all of the seats in your Dodge or Chrysler minivan is crucial to really make use of the interior space. Luckily, their “Stow n Go” seating system makes this really simple. Dodge invented the minivan, so if anyone has it figured out, it’s them.
Part 1 of 2: Stowing the rear seats
If you don’t have many passengers but you need space for larger items, you can just fold down the third row of seats and they will stow themselves in the trunk.
Step 1: Open the rear hatch and empty the trunk. The trunk has to be totally clear in order for the rear seats to be stowed - they will eventually be tucked away underneath the floor of the trunk.
If there is a mat or cargo net on the floor, remove it before continuing.
Step 2: Locate the inch-wide nylon cord labeled with a number “1”. The cord will be off to the side behind the rear seats.
Pulling on this will fold the headrests down and will fold the backrest half of the seat down flat onto the other half.
- Note: On some models, the rear portion of the seat does not lay totally flat until Step 3.
Step 3: Find the cord marked with a “2”’ and pull on it. It will fully flatten the seatback against the bottom half.
On some models, this cord will partially dislodge the seats for stowing.
Step 4: Find a cord marked with a “3” and pull it at the same time as the number “2” cord. Release the number “2” as you pull on cord “3” and the seats will move back and stow themselves on the floor of the trunk.
Part 2 of 2: Stowing the middle seats
In situations where you need a ton of space for cargo, you can also fold down the center row of seats and they too will simply stow themselves in the floor. This is also handy if you want to give the passengers in the rear a lot of leg room!
Step 1: Move the front seats all the way forward. Then locate two panels made of carpet on the floor in front of the middle seats.
Store these panels off to the side for the moment; the spaces that hold the seats needs to be clear for the next steps.
Step 2: Locate the lever on the side of the seat. You’re looking for the lever that allows you to fold down the seatback against the bottom half of the seat.
Before using this lever, fold the headrests down against the seatback so they do not stick out when the seat is folded in half.
When you pull the lever, try to lower the seatback until it sits almost flush with the bottom half.
Step 3: Open the floor compartment to stow the seats. This step requires both hands, but is very straightforward if you know what to do. Find a knob on the floor in front of the seats, slightly underneath them in some cases.
Push this knob to open up a spacious cabinet that can hold the seat that is now bundled up. Hold the cabinet covering up with your left hand while you do the next part.
Pull on the knob on the floor; this will dislodge the middle seats. Pulling the loop of nylon cord located at the base of the seat backs will allow them to tumble forward into the cabinet space.
Step 4: Put the compartments and carpet back in place. Close the cabinet door so that it sits flush with the opening then replace the carpet panels over the area.
You should now have plenty of space for whatever large cargo you need to haul in your minivan. Now that you know how to utilize your Stow ‘n’ Go seating, you can take full advantage of the size and space afforded you inside your vehicle.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Use “Stow ‘n’ Go” Seats in a Dodge or Chrysler Minivan and was authored by Ian Swan.