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Driving With Passenger Seat Removed? Any Error Codes?

Deaf Paul

Supporting Member
Apr 9, 2023
Oahu, Hawaii
Aloha from Oahu. This is my second post which is slightly modified from my first post asking the same thing on the M3 sub forum.

My wife and I both are coming from “his and hers” BMW i3 as our EV commuters. We bought my wife a new base 2023 M3 last week. I am about to make an offer on a 2020 LR M3D with FSD and Accel Boost that I test drove yesterday. However I am also considering going to a Model S P100D instead depending on how the S might handle a missing passenger seat better than the M3.

Because the M3 front passenger seat will not recline flat enough, nor does the headrest come off, the car will not fit my surfboards unless I remove the passenger seat It looks like. I had the exact same issue with my BMW i3 which I resolved by removing the passenger seat.

However I learned the hard way that the car complains every time I start it, and requires that I clear a warning message every time before I can access anything with the car’s system, including the back up camera/radar. I find it extremely annoying and this is giving me a pause thinking about living with a Model 3 as my next daily.

Before the i3, I had a Honda Fit that I did the same to (it reclined flat, and the headrest came off but I wanted the extra space and weight savings anyways) and it did not complain or throw any codes at all which was great.

Has anybody here ever driven the model S with the passenger seat removed and can share whether the car threw a fit or not?

What about purchasing the top rack and putting your surf boards up there?
From my first post asking in the M3 Sub Forum: “I leave my board(s) in my daily almost 24/7 when not riding it. Adding racks and leaving it on the racks would result in sun/heat damage within hours here in the tropics, or result in theft. No, I don’t want to move it off and back onto the car multiple times a day…”
I have a 9'2" classic in my S, with the seat. Plenty of room for other boards or me camping.
You probably will need to connect an air bag or equivalent jumper if you pull the seat.

Maybe separate the base of the seat and leave the back and wires laying down on the floor. Secure it with a rachet strap to protect the wiring.
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I recline and back up the passenger seat almost completely. Sometimes I put the nose on top of the pass seat headrest and the tail on top of my folding bike on the pass side so that I can nap on the driver side.
I don't drive like that because the board is too close to the glass at both ends.
The nose normally is almost touching the dash next to the glovebox. The right hand rail on the center console.
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