torn leather seat

How to Prevent and Repair Damage to Leather Seats

Leather seats are an investment in luxury, comfort, and style. However, they are also an investment of money. Leather seats are durable but they aren’t invincible. If you’re looking for a seat that will never wear then stainless steel is about your only option. Unless you’re a robot (if you are we still welcome your business) than learning about leather seat repair and prevention is a more practical option to protect your investment. We have covered how to care for Vinyl and today we’ll dive into the nitty gritty of leather care. Leather is classy—we’ll help you keep it that way. Let’s get started.

car vacuum leather seatsDamage Prevention

Being proactive is a better (and less expensive) option to fixing damage later on. Here are a few precautions to keep your leather looking strong, supple, and sophisticated.

  1. Sun is No Fun

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the sun is a blazing fireball of nuclear explosions. When viewed in that light, the sun sounds a lot more dangerous. A warm day may be pleasant for us, but it’s very damaging for your leather seats. After a while the leather will start to crack. A windshield cover is a good idea or a seat cover will do that same job.

  1. Keep the Seats Clean

A dirty interior will wear down and fade leather over time and make it more likely to tear. It doesn’t have to be deep clean. The first step is always to vacuum up any dirt or crumbs. After that, there are a few different options for washing the leather. The first is just to gently wipe it down with a moist cloth (not the best option but it works). The better option is to use a leather conditioner or an alcohol cleaning solution. If the leather does stain you can use baking soda, toothpaste, or lemon juice with cream tartar. When you’re done MAKE SURE to dry the leather completely with a towel or blow dryer.

Damage Repair

*sigh*. . . despite your careful planning the leather starts to crack. Thank you, Life, you’ve done it again. Luckily, your leather seats aren’t doomed to a slow death of tears and cracks and drying out. Follow these steps for leather seat repair and help your leather recover from anything Life throws at it.

Repairing Cracks

Leather is durable and can last for up to 20 years. As the years go by, though, cracks are a sign that the leather needs to be cared for. These are the items you’ll need to get for the repair: Leather conditioner, sandpaper, alcohol cleaner, leather binder, leather colorant (make sure it matches your seat’s color).

  • Clean the leather following the steps from ‘Keep the Seats Clean’. The seats need to be free from dirt and grime to prevent the seats becoming more damaged.
  • Use sandpaper to gently sand the cracks until they aren’t so pronounced. The homemade option is to apply a little bit of oil and smooth the cracks with the back of a spoon.
  • Wipe the seats down with an alcohol cleaner and let dry.
  • Coat the seats in a leather binder and wipe away any excess that might pool in the cracks or between the seats. Let it dry completely and repeat at least 5 times.
  • Buy a leather colorant that’s the same color as your seats. Use a sponge or a soft to cloth to work the colorant into the cracks. If it doesn’t cover up all the cracks, let it dry and apply another coat of colorant.

Repairing Tears

Unlike cracks, there isn’t much you can do to prevent a tear. The only thing you can do to prevent a tear is to avoid putting any heavy items or items with hard edges on the seats. Other than that, it’s up to fate.  Before you start you’ll need these items: Matching leather thread, needle, scissors, matching leather strip, leather colorant. For tears you have two options for repair.

  1. Use the scissors to cut away all the threads from the tear. If the tear is small enough then you can use the needle and thread to sew the leather back together without using the leather strip. Once that is done apply the leather colorant and gently sand the tear until the tear isn’t as obvious.
  2. For larger tears, you follow the same steps except you place the leather strip UNDER the tear, not over it. Then you can sew the two sides of the tear to the leather strip and then apply the colorant. Some people use a leather-safe adhesive instead of sewing, but this is less likely to last.

What if I Can’t Repair the Leather?

Sometimes the damage is just too much. Perhaps you don’t have the time or the resources. We can’t always prepare for every curveball that comes our way. Luckily, there are specialists who are passionate about leather seat repair. If you want to take your car to the best upholstery specialists then contact us at VIP European Auto. We will deliver the best quality service every time.