How to repair leather car seats
Slick leather car seats are certainly something to be proud of, and they are relatively easy to maintain—nonetheless, over time they are naturally subjected to extensive wear and tear, especially with regards to the elements. Here we will break down everything you need to know about leather car seats, and how to repair them, including:
- What causes damage to leather car seats
- How to repair leather car seat wear and tear with DIY techniques
- How technicians repair leather car seats, and what the repairs cost
- How to prevent leather car seat damage
What causes damage to leather car seats?
Leather car seats can be damaged in a variety of ways. Too much sunlight is one of the most common reasons that leather can crack and rip prematurely, and car seats are naturally exposed to the natural elements in a way that indoor furniture is not. Extreme shifts in temperature, for instance, also can cause damage to leather car seats—so it’s not a good idea to leave your car in a very hot location during the day that significantly dips into cold at night.
Leaving stains unattended is another big no-no with leather seats. Make sure you get rid of any spilled food, drink and other stains with a leather cleaning kit as soon as they hit the surface, otherwise they run a high risk of becoming permanent marks.
Can I repair my leather car seats myself if the damage isn’t too severe?
Yes! If the damage is minimal wear and tear, rather than significant rips and cracks, it should be easy enough to restore your leather car seats on your own. It’s important to use leather cleaner or a restoration kit rather than harsh chemicals and soaps—these sorts of products can in fact create further damage to the leather, rather than remedy it.
As mentioned above, the products you will want to use are leather cleaner and a restoration kit. Leather cleaner will remove dirt, oil, and other stains from the surface. A leather restoration kit will moisturise the leather to restore it to its original look, and will prevent further damage down the road. Specialist leather products are easy to use and not that expensive to buy; a safe estimate is around $20 per product. Olive oil can also be used to help with fixing scratches and small tears.
How are leather car seats professionally repaired? What do these repairs cost?
Professional car seat repairs involve applying traditional upholstery methods to the leather to fix holes and significant tears. When the damage is especially severe, they will likely recommend that the seat gets replaced rather than repaired. If the damage is nothing more than a small hole or tear, a technician can repair it with a filler, which should cost no more than $50 and is a quick procedure.
The costs of extensive leather seat repair/replacement will depend on the make and model of your vehicle. Upholstery repairs can cost from $200 to $500 and potentially go into the thousands if you have any specialised custom requests. Entire seat replacement is pricey, and can cost between $1,500 and $2,800*.
How can I prevent damage to my leather car seats?
While your leather seats are subject to inevitable wear and tear, there are preventative measures you can follow to protect them to some extent.
If your car is in a secure enough parking place to crack a window open, this simple action can equalise the air pressure and reduce the interior temperature of the vehicle. A sunshade is another easy way to prevent your seats from being exposed to extreme sun.
And like we discussed earlier in the article, cleaning your leather seats regularly will do wonders on the material. Leather-cleaning products, as well as vacuuming and using a damp towel, will remove dust and other debris from the seats and significantly extend their lifespan*.
While cracked and faded leather car seats pose no safety risk to you or your passengers, maintaining their sheen is a straightforward and inexpensive process if you’re proactive about it, and will leave you feeling especially proud of your vehicle.