Refinishing and Repairing Leather Seats

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Leather car seats generally wear very well, but only if they're taken care of over the years. We've seen leather seats that are 40 years old that still look and feel great. We've also seen new leather seats that started to dry and split within just a few years. There are, of course, many different grades of leather to start with. Cars that were blessed with super high-quality hides are far more likely to survive years of sun drying and other abuse than a car cursed with the cheapest leather option the automaker could find at the time. But even a cheap leather job will last a long time if you take some steps to preserve the seats. 

The worst enemy of any leather car or truck interior is the sun. Ideally, you should cover your leather seats with shade from direct sun anytime it's possible. Those folding windshield shades work very well for this, if you can stand the frustration of folding and unfolding a window shade every time you get in or out of your vehicle. Protecting your seats with moisturizers is the second step. There are some amazing products out there that keep your leather from drying out in the first place. This type of prevention is far cheaper and better in the long run than trying to bring a dying set of leather seats back to life. Most of the regular-use moisturizers are as easy to use as a hand lotion. Simply put some of the waxy goo on an applicator pad and rub it into the seats. Many products recommend that you leave it on for a bit to soak in. If you do this, be sure to wipe away the excess before you go for a drive. While these products are great for leather seats, they can send a pair of nice pants to an early grave, or at least an expensive trip to the cleaners. It's a great idea to make interior preservation part of your regular maintenance schedule.

Some leather car seats wear like iron, while others seem more like paper mache over foam. Regardless, most will show their age over time. Proper maintenance of your leather interior will make it last a long time. Leather needs to be kept moisturized or it will dry and crack. Unfortunately, the guy who had the car before you didn't know this, and your leather interior is showing some serious wear. Thankfully, there is hope. A simple leather replenishing and repair can make them look close to new again.

Check out this great leather repair how-to by our classic car experts!