How To Change a Shift Boot?

Updated by: Mike 2023-09-10.
Reading time 4 minutes.


In summary (TL;DR)

First of all, just to make things clear: Do you need a shift boot at all?


In short, yes. Your shift boot will protect your shifter from debris and keep it clean. Learning how to attach a shift boot helps keep your vehicle safe.


If you're wondering how to change a shift boot and replace it with an aftermarket leather shift boot, start with the relevant installation guide.


Make sure the guide is pertinent to the make, model, and generation of the vehicle. There are several methods manufacturers use for the attachment of the stock shifter boot in the center console. That means having the right information for removing the old boot and installing the new one is crucial. It will offer clear instructions for how to install a shift boot.


There could be a metal or plastic bracket; the bracket can be glued or sewn into the boot. If you're lucky, the bracket is just sandwiching the shift boot to the underside of the center console.


You may be able to access the bracket without removing the center console, but that's not always the case. While there are a handful of attachment types used throughout US domestic, European, and Japanese manufacturers, there really isn't a magic trick for putting an aftermarket leather shift boot into any vehicle.


Shop our collection of leather shift boots – we’ll provide you with an in-depth, vehicle-specific installation guide for each of our awesome shift boots!


How to Replace a Shift Boot – Main Steps

Remove the Shift Knob

This is typically the first step on all vehicles. 80% of shift knobs simply screw off, you know — righty tighty, lefty loosey.


Do not make the mistake of automatically assuming that yours does, too. It might have a locking screw or similar mechanism, and trying to twist it off will not work, and potentially get you in trouble by ruining the shift knob.


In particular, if your shift knob and shift boot are visibly connected and appear to be one unit, you will need to remove the bottom of the boot. Then, you’ll have to flip it upside-down (by partly pulling it off the shift lever) so that you can see how the assembly attaches to the shifter lever.


On some vehicles, the shift knob can be just pulled off, although requiring significant force to do so. The moment it lets go, all the force you've been applying to it makes your hands fly up.


Think ahead of time about where they will go, and what they might hit! You don't want to damage your roof, or worse yet, hurt yourself!


Get to the Bottom of Your Shift Boot

One brand that makes this process very simple is BMW.


You can remove a shift boot from the center console on any BMW from 1980s to present just by prying on corners of shift boot, as the clips attaching the boot’s mounting frame to the center console will come loose.

Replace shift boot


On most other vehicles, you need to, at the very least, remove the trim piece directly surrounding the shift boot. It might just pry up (if you're lucky) or be screwed to a larger console trim encasing it. In both cases, the correct screwdriver will be indispensable.


Attach New Shift Boot

While BMW makes it easy to remove the old shift boot from the car, they don’t make it easy to separate it from the mounting bracket.


They are glued or (on newer vehicles) stapled together. Separate them by removing the staples, ungluing, or should you not care about the factory shift boot, cutting it off the frame. You might not have thought that learning how to put a shift boot on could mean breaking out a sharp box cutter or knife and taking it to your car’s interior!


Make sure you get yourself a good can of glue (Automotive GOOP, 3M Super 77, and others have been proven in the field countless times). In fact, any epoxy-based glue will work.


Whatever you do, do not get instant glue. You want a solution that cures in more than two seconds in case you need to do adjustments or realign the new boot on the bracket.


If you are gluing - plan and think ahead. You do not want to get glue on a leather shift boot, or even worse, an Alcantara shift boot. Your beautiful new shift boot might easily be forever tainted (translates to ruined) if you do.


If the bracket is sewn into a hem on the bottom of the boot, we offer a replacement bracket which we will pre-sew for you on your new RedlineGoods leather shift boot. It does bear a small surcharge, but it's well worth it.


Otherwise, you'll have to remove the old bracket from the factory boot and feed it through the hem on the bottom of our boot. While not exactly rocket science, it does take quite a bit of time. Our shift boot bracket will save you that time so that you can do something more pleasant instead.


It’s great to learn how to change a shift boot, but it’s far less exciting to spend an entire day on this one project.


In cases where the shift boot and bracket are easy to separate (usually, the bracket is screwed into the bottom of the respective trim piece, effectively sandwiching the bottom of the shift boot between the two), consider yourself lucky.



Once you have the bracket attached to the new boot, it really is downhill from here. Just do what you were doing until now, just backwards. ☺


We'll leave you with one very common tip which might save you a lot of effort. In 99% of cases, a shift boot collar can be attached to the shifter lever or shift knob by using a very simple, cheap, and effective solution: a zip-tie. Just do this:


Attach shift boot


Since our leather shift boots use much higher grade leather than what most manufacturers use (vinyl), the collar of a leather shift boot is likely to be thicker than the factory one. In that case, re-using the collar trim piece can become an issue.


A zip-tie will be the 2-cent magic solution to this dilemma, if you happen to have one.


So, now that you know how to change a shift boot, make sure to shop our top quality leather shift boots for your new, beautiful shift boot to give the extra flair to your vehicle’s interior! Browse shift boots for popular vehicles like Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Camaro, Mazda Miata, and more! Our shift boots have an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 star rating from our happy customers! :-)

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