No one wants the leather in their car to have issues. Whether those issues come in the form of cracking, fading, discoloration, or something else altogether, there are things you can easily do to repair the leather and make your car look better.
What Causes Damage
Before you fix the damage, it may be helpful to know what is causing the damage in the first place. This can help you make sure that more damage is not caused in the future.
Exposure to the sun is a major cause of damage to leather. The sun's rays can break down the leather over time, making it brittle. This means the leather will be prone to tearing and ripping. To avoid this, park somewhere with shade, or better yet, indoors.
Cigarettes can also damage later if ashes or the cigarette itself falls into the seat.
Similarly, sharp objects can also damage the leather by scratching it or snagging on the seat.
A lot of issues with leather can be fixed by using polish. This will help improve the color of the leather and make it look good as new. Make sure to pick the right color polish for your car.
Over time, your leather seats may start to wear out and look less plump. This generally affects the driver's seat most of all, since it is getting the most use. Simply adding some more foam to the seat can help restore its original shape and make the seat more comfortable.
Rubbing alcohol will not technically repair leather but should be used to clean the leather seat before you start on any real repairs. For minor discoloration or surface-level issues, this may be all you need, though it is likely you will need to take some of the following steps as well.
A word of caution, do not let the rubbing alcohol touch plastic trim pieces in the car.
Leather glue is a great way to repair scratched leather car seats. You can easily buy this product online or in home improvement stores. Make sure the seat is completely clean before using the leather glue.
You should ideally use gloves when you apply the glue onto the crack in your leather. Apply it liberally.
No one likes the smell of strong adhesives, so if you are doing this project indoors, open a window or have a fan going.
After the glue has had time to harden, peel off any excess. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when you do so.
If you have a big tear or a lot of frayed edges, you will need to cut them so that nothing catches on them and you are able to prevent the tear from spreading.
If you have a large hole to fill, you can do so with wax paper. After you put the wax paper in the car, you can sand it and fill it so it matches the rest of your car seat.
Sanding is a great way to repair many types of damage, including to your leather seats. You can do this on its own to eliminate imperfections, or you can sand before using a filler to make sure it will adhere to the leather.
Like leather glue, you can pick up leather filler online or at home repair stores. They generally come as pastes in a variety of colors. Here’s where your artsy side comes in—you will need to mix the filler to a color similar to that of your car’s leather. Once the color is correct, apply a thin layer to the seat.
Once it is applied, you will need to sand down the filler.
This is more of a prevention method than a fix, but by cleaning and conditioning your leather seats frequently you will keep them looking their best. Use a high-quality conditioner made especially for leather car seats.
Leather Repair Kits
You can find leather repair kits online or in home improvement stores for an easy, cheap way to fix minor issues.