What to Consider When Replacing Leather Car Seats

Reupholstering leather car seats is a serious undertaking. Whether you do it yourself for hire professionals, it’s critical to do your research before jumping into the task.

Leather car seats are built to last. Changing the leather is a detailed process. It can also be costly. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it if your leather seats show wear, tear, or damage.

Before you choose your new seats or choose a shop to handle your new seat upholstery, here’s what to consider when replacing leather car seats.

Do You Really Need to Replace Your Seats?

A small amount of wear might not be worth the effort to reupholster leather car seats.

Under normal conditions, your leather car seats should last as long as you drive your car. They can withstand everyday driving and a variety of changing weather, from hot to cold.

However, if you have kids and pets that spend a lot of time in your car, the condition of your leather seats can suffer. Scrapes, scratches, spills, and tears can increase the wear on your seats and cause them to look rough—sooner rather than later.

If you can deal with everyday wear on your seats, you might not need to go through the reupholstering process. However, if you find holes and scratches that make your seats uncomfortable and detract from the luxury look of your car, reupholstering your seats might be a good idea.

What’s Involved?

Replacing your upholstery is more than adding a seat cover on top of your seats. To replace your old leather upholstery, the current coverings must come off.

Replacing seat upholstery is a labor-intensive task. It can take some work to remove the worn or damaged covers without causing more damage to the stuffing underneath. That’s why you want to be sure you’re ready for a full replacement of your leather seat covers.

After the old covers are gone, you’ll replace stuffing or padding where necessary, then recover your seats with the new leather “skin.” Prepare yourself for a wrestling match to stretch new covers over the padding of your car seats.

Covering Instead of Replacing

If ripping your car’s seats apart is unsettling, there’s another option. Rather than replace your upholstery, you can cover it.

Leatherette seat covers are an inexpensive way to change the look of your car seats and cover any damage to the existing upholstery. You won’t need to remove your current seat covers. A seat cover can stretch over your seats with less effort than replacing the upholstery.

If a seat cover isn’t your idea of upgrading the interior of your car with new seats, you’ll want to find a professional to replace your seat covers.

How Much Does it Cost?

To truly upgrade your car’s interior with new seats, a replacement is the way to go. Depending on the leather you choose for your new seats and the seats in your car, the cost a replacement upholstery can vary.

Buckets seats versus bench seats can change the pricing of your car reupholstery job. You can also choose your “grade” of leather, from lower-cost options to high-end luxury leather seats.

On average, leather seat reupholstery costs can range from $350 to $2,000. Make sure you request estimates from a few different professionals. Compare costs and choose the shop that provides what you want within your budget.

Can You Do It Yourself?

If you don’t want to go with seat covers, but a professional reupholstery job is too expensive, you can order a seat kit and do it yourself.

Prepare for some hard work and allow plenty of time, but at the end of your efforts, you’ll have beautiful new seats!

Perhaps a Repair Is All You Need

A nice, fresh set of new leather seats is an excellent way to upgrade your car. You’ll feel like it’s a brand new car after your seats are brand new.

It’s tough to overlook a hole or worn patch on your leather car seats, but you don’t always need to replace the covers to improve the condition of your seats. If the cost of new leather seats is outside of your budget, and you don’t have the time to do it yourself, consider repairing your current seats.

  • Find a leather seat repair kit. Choose the color that best matches your current seat color.
  • Clean the damaged area of the seat. Use a damp cloth, then dry the area thoroughly.
  • Trim the area around the tear. Cut jagged edges with sharp scissors.
  • Apply leather filler. Build up thin layers until the damaged area matches the surrounding area.
  • Sand the area to help it blend in. Use fine-grain sanding paper.
  • Apply colorant to match the surrounding leather color.

If you still don’t feel up to the challenge of a DIY repair, you can find a professional to do the repair for you. You’ll save money over replacing your upholstery even if a professional takes care of the repair for you.

Replacing Leather Car Seats Improves Your Car’s Value

Replacing leather car seats can improve the value of your car. Upholstery replacement can also improve the comfort of your daily commute!

While you’ll pay more for a professional to replace the leather seats in your car, you’ll spend less than buying a new car. Enjoy that “new leather” smell and erase the damage your seats sustain from everyday use.

Did you find this article helpful? Be sure you check out more of our articles and auto repair resources!

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