Automobile Upholstery Fabric Types

Inside front seats of a car

If you are replacing your automobile upholstery, there are many different types to choose from. Reupholstering your entire vehicle is best done by a professional, but if you are entertaining a repair or simple replacement job, you can select from a few different types of fabric yourself.

Nylon Fabric

Nylon is a durable, hard-wearing upholstery fabric that comes in many colors. There are plain and patterned designs and you can choose a type that best suits the interior of your vehicle. Because nylon is woven, it is harder to tear than some fabrics. It is also very stain resistant, providing you can wash out any spills before they dry. It is also the most popular form of fabric found in most automobiles. It is available in many colors and is the least expensive form of trim for your vehicle.

Faux Vinyl

inside of a car

This is actually a vinyl which takes on the characteristics of leather or suede or other types of material. It is hard-wearing and can have the appearance and shine of soft leather or the dullness of fabric trim. Faux vinyl is a mock vinyl which emulates the real article at a fraction of the cost.


Commonly known as soft plastic, this is a vinyl style-material that is pliable and easy to form. It stretches well and is used in lower-end models of cars and vans. It can be colored or made in black and white, but it is notorious for being sticky to sit on during the summer. Heat has a tendency to make the upholstery sweat and the driver of the vehicle is best advised not to wear shorts in the summer if their vehicle is lined with PVC.


Easy to wipe clean, durable, and hard wearing, vinyl is another commonly-used material in the making of automobile upholstery. It has similar properties to PVC but vinyl can soft, hard, pliable, or firm. You might be aware that old LP records were made from vinyl but, because it is used in a different capacity for upholstery, it can be as soft as velvet although it will still make the skin sweat during hot periods of weather.

Faux Leather

Faux leather is a very versatile material that can be made to appear like almost anything. People have covered their car seats in fake crocodile skin, fake snakes skin, and even dinosaur prints. It behaves like leather and is easy to wipe clean. Spillages can be quickly dealt with so faux leather doesn't stain easily and is very durable.


red leather car interior

For a plush, rich finish to the interior of your vehicle, leather is by far the best choice. By its very nature, leather has a glamorous style that suits any interior. It can be colored or patterned but is durable and can be soft or firm in design depending on personal choice.


Cloth-based suede fabrics are a nice choice for an automobile interior. Suede is soft to the touch and feels like brushed cotton. This automobile fabric is not used as often because it stains easily and it not as durable for many types of automobile use.

Brushed Nylon

Brushed nylon is soft and warm and ideal for an interior seat cover or door trim. It is a thick fabric that is usually just under a ¼” thick when used in vehicles. It seams well and is a firm, durable material which is quite hard to tear.