Car seat bolt mounts have been around for 15 years. The first one that I ever ran into was from a company called Arkon out in California. They made a 15-inch seat bolt mount for your satellite radio. This was infinitely better than the sticky mount that you got with your XM Radio which fell off the dash the first hot day in July. I really thought I was a genius when I found that. Even though it was only 15 inches high, it placed the radio at the perfect location and I never had to worry about the sticky mount falling off the dash ever again.
Now it’s 15 years later. You can still buy that satellite radio car seat bolt mount. If I remember correctly I paid $10 plus shipping so it’s a lot more today but they still work really well and even at twice the price, they are worth it. Back before the turn of the century, you didn’t have GPS, smartphones and tablets to mount in your car. Today though, you do, and car seat bolt mounts have matured along with the electronics industry. A seat bolt mount can be purchased that includes a universal cradle or custom adapter for virtually any device that you would want to mount in your car or truck.
You might be asking your self if car seat bolt mounts are right for you. The first question to answer is whether or not your car seat bolt is exposed and accessible. In the majority of the cases, the answer yes but in some rare cases, the manufacturer places the bolt underneath the seat or has covered it with molding. Now that you have determined that your seat bolt is accessible, make sure that your passenger is not going to mind giving up a small portion of their knee room to your mount. While most seat bolt mounts are flexible goosenecks, some are not. I recommend the gooseneck for the ability to angle it out of the way and to give you, the driver, the best angle. And thirdly, determine the height that you need to see it. I have seen seat bolt mounts in 15, 18, 22 and 30 inch lengths. The 18 inch length seems to work best for most cars. SUVs can benefit from the 22″ length and large trucks can consider the 30 inch when available.
After purchasing your seat bolt mount, get ready for what will hopefully be a simple five minute installation job. You will need pliers or a wrench to loosen your seat bolt. You will notice that one end of the mount has a claw or loop. Try to purchase the mounts with the claw versus the loop. The loop means you need to completely remove your seat bolt where the claw just requires a loosening of a few turns. Once you get your seat bolt mount in place under the bolt, tighten the bolt. Use your pliers or wrench to tighten it as much as possible. I have seen so many buyers of these mounts complain that their mount is flopping from side to side every time they make a sharp turn. When I inquire about how they installed it, the answer is that they just hand tightened the seat bolt.
Today, you can find seat bolt mounts for virtually any device. Our favorite seat bolt mount use is for your phone. These mounts keep your phone out of your cup holder or passenger seat and keeps it handy where you can glance down for a quick moment. The Arkon Car Seat Bolt Floor Mount for Smartphones is a seat bolt mount that I have used for many years so can vouch for its sturdiness and ease of use. The Arkon Car Seat Bolt Floor Mount for Tablets is a tablet version of this same mount. This is also available in a taller 22″ Car Seat Bolt Floor Mount for Tablets for SUVs. The taller versions also work well in cars where it’s a little easier to bend it over your console if you have a front seat passenger. Tablets can be pretty large and the added height of the mount helps to clear the passenger seat. For a little more money, the taller version gets my vote for tablets, but for phones, the shorter 18″ version should work fine.
I have found most car seat bolt mounts to be well made and the gooseneck types typically hold up to about 1.5 pounds without any compromising of stability.
An interesting article called How to Install a Car Seat Bolt Mount in Under Five Minutes will help to decide if this type of mount is for you.