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Leather seats make for a comfortable ride and a luxurious looking interior. But over time leather can make your vehicle’s interior look dated and it can even get damaged. The sun is the main culprit for fading the color of the seats and when it comes to cracks too. If one doesn’t condition the seats on a regular basis or clean them they can show signs of wear and cracks will start to appear. Sharp and bulky objects can cause tears too, such as tools and pet carries but your keys can also make a tear in the seats. While the seat won’t be the same after a tear, it’s important that you fix it so the damage is less visible and so that you prevent the state of the seat from becoming worse than it is.
How to Repair Leather Seats
Clean & Fill Up
1. Start by cleaning the leather with mild soap and a damp rag. This type of car repair requires this in order to get a good result at the end. Make sure you remove dirt, debris and grime by scrubbing the seat gently and allow it to dry before you continue with the rest of the leather seat repair process.
2. If you have the edges of the tear curling outwards or threads hanging from them then get a pair of scissors and trim away. Insert a piece of backing cloth inside the opening and place it behind the tear. Then, put a bit of glue on the edges of the tears so the cloth and leather stick together. Let the glue dry off completely before you continue with the next step.
3. Get the leather filler and with the pallet knife spread some onto the backing cloth and between the edges of the tear. Let each layer dry completely before you apply the next one. Keep applying filler until you have it overlap the seat. Once you have the filler overlapping the seat sand it down with a fine-grit sanding block. Do this until you have the filler even with the leather. Avoid using sandpaper as it’s not going to give you as much control.
4. After you are done sanding, take a damp cloth and wipe down the seat in order to remove any dirt or debris from the sanding process. Let the seat dry afterwards and apply colorant on the filler. Do this with a clean cloth and if needed build up several layers by rubbing in the colorant. Make sure you allow each layer to dry off completely until you have the color match with the one on the seat.
5. Lastly, make sure you cover the colorant covered area with leather sealant. Apply the sealant the same way you applied the colorant with a clean cloth but this time only apply one layer. Make sure the colorant is completely dry before you apply the leather sealant.
1. When patching up the seat, the color of the patch should match the seat or at least be similar to it. Make sure you cut the patch so you have it slightly bigger than the damaged area. Put a piece of wax paper behind the tear/ hole, this piece of wax paper needs to be bigger than the leather patch.
2. Put the patch on the area with leather adhesive on the edges. Press the patch carefully over the tear/ hole so that it bonds to the leather. Let the adhesive dry off completely and avoid sitting on the seat or putting anything on it that will prevent the adhesive from sealing the tear.
Using Liquid Leather
1. Probably the most convenient leather seat repair process is to use liquid leather. This type of compound will help you fill-up the hole/tear without the need for glue as it is a mixture of adhesive and filler. Make sure you first clean the seats of any debris before you start. Put some leather cleaner on a soft cloth or rag and scrub the seats, afterwards put a mild solvent (50% isopropyl alcohol) on a clean rag and do the same. Remember to let the seat dry off completely before you proceed.
2. Apply the leather liquid diluted using a sponge – there are instructions on the product on how to properly dilute it. Rub the solution into cracks and creases or the tear until the product is off the good leather. Let the solution dry and apply one more coat to strengthen its color or build up the tear and/ or cracks. This will make the whole seat uniform and the cracks and tear(s) less visible.
3. Lastly, end this type of car maintenance by conditioning the leather after the second coat of liquid leather has dried out. Again, do this with a soft cloth on the entire seat and allow it to dry off completely. This will further strengthen the leather and prevent it from cracking easily.