Oscar Granados | Jan 16, 2024

How To Repair Leather Car Seats

Whether from an overzealous dog or simply the wear and tear that comes with age, you’ve noticed your leather seats showing signs of damage. As one of the stylish parts of your vehicle’s interior, you’re eager to restore the leather to its former glory.

Luckily, there are ways you can repair your leather seats. From scratches to holes, our experts at Scottsdale Collision Center can give you all the answers you need.

Can Your Leather Car Seats be Repaired?

Yes! Your leather car seats can be repaired, regardless of the type of damage. We recommend repairs over replacements, as the cost of replacing might actually be more expensive.

Instead, leather car seats are effectively through different procedures, depending on the type of damage. You can tackle these processes yourself, but results may vary based on experience level. A professional can transform your car’s aging leather seats, making them appear clean, glossy, and as good as new.

Can Your Leather Car Seats be Repaired?

Restoring Leather Car Seats

If your car seats are simply worn down and scratched, rather than torn, you or your chosen professional can easily make repairs. Here are the steps:

  1. Cleaning The Leather

    First, a microfiber cloth wetted in warm water and mild dish soap is used to clean the seat. The cloth will be dipped in the solution and then wrung out thoroughly before application. After being wrung out, the leather seats can be wiped down.Following this initial cleaning process, the rinsed-out cracks will be treated with denatured alcohol. The alcohol is applied with quick strokes and should be wiped with a clean microfiber cloth after application.
  2. Sanding the Cracks
Once the leather seats have dried, the sanding process may begin. Sandpaper is used to smooth out any cracks on the leather seats, and prepare them for refinishing. After this process is complete, it’s important to wipe away any sanded-off particles with a microfiber cloth.
  3. Applying Leather Sealant and Conditioners

    Next, leather sealant or conditioners are applied to the cracked areas. Serving essentially the same purpose, they are messaged into the leather using circular motions. Keep in mind that the chosen product may take a couple of hours to absorb fully.This process helps smooth the cracks down, so they will match the texture and surface area of the uncracked leather.
  4. Dyeing the Leather

    Finally, the leather seats will be restored to their original shine and color. To do so, leather dye is applied meticulously and evenly to all the cracked areas, and then allowed to dry for some time. For optimal results, all windows should be closed to prevent dust from interfering with the process.

Repairing Tears and Small Holes In Leather Car Seats

Tears and small holes in the leather begin to complicate the repair process, adding more essential steps. Here’s how to repair these issues the right way:

  1. Start with Cleaning
The initial cleaning process for tears and small holes will be the same as the cleaning process mentioned above. However, do be sure to make there there’s nothing trapped in the cracks or holes before proceeding.
  2. Choosing the Right Liquid Leather Products and Dyes (if applicable)
If the hole or tear is large enough to require liquid leather and dyes, be sure to choose the right product based on the seat’s shade and texture. These products will be used later on to match the repaired hole or tear to the original leather.
  3. Removing the Loose Strands and Threads
Using a pair of scissors, any loose strands or threads around the hole or tear must be removed. This will make the following steps much easier and ensure a finished look.
  4. Choosing Between Stitching Or Applying Liquid Leather

    For very small tears or holes, you have the option of stitching and applying liquid leather to the area. We recommend applying liquid leather to small, rounded holes, while ensuring to stitch elongated tears.When stitching it’s important to pick a thread that closely matches the seat color. First, the threaded needle is positioned on the underside of the torn section, slightly overlapping with the undamaged side. After the stitching is complete the thread is then cut and knotted underneath.
  5. Dyeing and Shine Restoration

    After holes and tears are filled or stitched, they may not perfectly match the original leather color. To remedy this, leather dye matching the original leather seats will be applied to restore a shiny, matching finish.

Repairing Tears and Small Holes In Leather Car Seats

Repairing Tears Large Holes In Leather Car Seats

Large holes are the most difficult repair to perform on leather car seats, but with knowledge and a delicate hand, they can still be patched up. Here’s are the steps:

  1. Don’t Forget the CleaningSimilarly to the other two repairs, ensure you start the processes with a thorough cleaning.
  2. Using a Similar Leather Piece
To repair a larger hole, a piece of leather similar to the original upholstery is required. When looking for the right leather, focus on the texture and color of the to ensure it matches the old leather as closely as possible.
  3. Cutting the New Leather
The new leather piece will be used to cover the hole, and must be cut appropriately for this task. The cutout should be slightly bigger than the hole.
  4. Pasting the Cutout
A strong leather adhesive will be used to fix the cutout over the hole. The cutout must be placed carefully to ensure the entire hole is covered. Keep in mind that the adhesive must also be allowed to dry before taking further steps.
  5. Filing Down The Cutout
After the adhesive dries fully, you can begin the final step. To finish the process and match the cutout to the leather seat, it must be filed down. Areas at the edges of the cutout will be rubbed out and receive a mild brushing. This ensures a smooth transition between the old and new leather, and removes edges that might stick out otherwise.
  6. Final Touches
If the color and texture between the two different leather pieces is off, you can remedy this through dyeing and shine restoration processes.

Bring Your Vehicle To An Auto Body Shop

If your vehicle’s leather seats are damaged, consider heading to a reliable auto body shop to address the issue.

Body shops like SCC are well equipt to handle even the toughest tears and holes. Instead of growing frustrated because the tools you bought aren’t working right, or because the color of your repairs isn’t matching the old leather, you can rely on the experts. SCC’s professionals possess all the necessary equipment and expertise to breathe new life into your seats without causing unnecessary damage.

Plus, if you have any other cosmetic concerns you’d like to address, you can trust us to take care of them. Your car’s interior will look better than ever, without you having to waste your precious time and money on imperfect repairs.

Leather Car Seat Repair
Frequently Asked Questions

At SCC, we’re happy to give you a reliable quote for your leather seat repairs. Overall, the cost will depend on a few factors, including:

  • Level of Damage. Leather seats with several tears and large holes will require more costly repairs than one with a few scratches.
  • Type of Damage. In general, large holes will cost more to repair than small stains and scratches.
  • Number of Seats. Large vehicles with 4-6 damaged leather seats will be more expensive to repair than smaller vehicles with only 1-2 damaged seats.
  • Labor Costs. Every collision center will factor in labor costs for their workers.
There are several ways you can extend the lifespan of your newly repaired leather seats. Our top recommendations include:

  • Avoid having food or drinks in your car
  • Keep sharp objects out of your car
  • Park your car in a more shady location
  • Avoid smoking in your car
  • Equipt your car with proper seat covers for pets and children
  • Clean your leather seats regularly
While you can fix leather car seats yourself, especially if you have experience in leather or the auto industry, we don’t recommend this solution for most people.

If you’re unsure of how to fix leather seats, you might waste your time and money by purchasing the wrong materials and tools, or performing steps incorrectly. At worst, these mistakes could exacerbate the issue.

Instead, you can have hassle-free repairs performed by auto body experts like SCC.

SCC Is Your One-Stop Shop For Leather Seat Repairs

If your vehicle has damaged or worn-out leather seats, you can benefit from our services. Our auto body professionals at Scottsdale Collision Center have extensive experience repairing and refinishing anything from small scratches to massive holes.

Our customer service is unmatched, and we’ll walk you through the leather seat repair process every step of the way.

You can visit our website, contact us at (602) 777-7921 and estimates@scottsdalecollisionaz.com, or visit one of our repair shop locations.