Is restoring your car's leather seats worth the cost?

November 12, 2014

If you're looking to up the resale value of your car, you may want to restore those worn leather seats first. Here's what you need to know
Are you planning on selling your car? Are you a car enthusiast with a vintage vehicle to restore? Repairing the interiors of your vehicle can be just as important as ensuring all its mechanical and electrical parts are in proper working order. After all, first impressions are everything. Beautifully restored leather car seats can boost any vehicle’s appeal with a touch of elegance and luxury.

Restoration versus replacement

What can you do when your leather seats start to crack and wear over time? Not only does cracked and worn leather decrease your car’s value, it’s also unattractive. Rather than replacing the upholstery, consider restoring it instead.

In contrast to cloth upholstery, leather can be brought back to a “like new” appearance with the right techniques and products. Attentive care and routine maintenance can save your seats from being thrown out.

Why waste your time searching for new leather seats that may or may not match the rest of your vehicle’s interior, when you can simply restore what’s already there?

DIY or visit an auto repair garage?

Simple cuts, scratches, and cracks in your leather may be easily repaired with DIY methods. Great restoration products and leather repair kits are on the market to make the job simpler.

Common leather issues you can try tackling yourself include scratches, cuts, abrasions, cracks and stains.

However, depending on the severity of damage, the age of your leather car seats, and your own experience in car seat restorations, you might want to consider hiring a professional. Many auto repair garages may offer detailing services. Or you could try seeking a specialist who focuses solely on auto interiors.

After restorations, keep it clean

Once you've restored your leather seats, now what? Routine cleaning can help maintain the look of your newly restored leather surfaces for years to come. Many people often shy away from getting leather seats because of the required extra attention needed to clean them. Fear not. Here are a few cleaning tips for your leather seats without breaking your budget:

  1. Clean off all dirt and oils using a soft microfibre towel, soft bristled brush, or cotton cloth.
  2. Do not use store bought household cleaners as these can dry out your leather seats and make them crack prematurely.
  3. For a cheap cleaning solution, try two parts water to one part vinegar (or gentle dish soap).
  4. Soak your cloth, wring it out, gently scrub the leather and then wipe it down (do this in sections as you don’t want to soak your seats).
  5. With a clean, unused cloth, give your whole washed seat a wipe down to ensure it’s dry.
  6. Apply any leather upholstery conditioners you may have. Be sure to do this only after the leather has completely dried or the leather won’t be able to absorb the conditioner.
Is restoring your car's leather seats worth the cost?
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