Seats are an important if slightly neglected aspect of every vehicle. It’s the part that makes drivers and their passengers feel comfortable, while carrying them to all the places they want to visit. Car engines accomplish the carrying part, but they certainly don’t make you feel cozy. As is the case with chairs and couches, the material covering your seats wears down, which means that eventually you have to change it. However, unlike furniture, you can’t push a car seat to the side of a room; you have to fix it.
Car seat upholstery comes in many varieties. Certain fabrics are all about durability and ease of cleaning, while others are more about style and comfort. Choosing the right upholstery can make a tremendous difference as far as driving enjoyment is concerned.
So, before you pick the next coat for your current seat or buy a new car altogether, see what each fabric has to offer. Here are a few popular types of upholstery to choose from:
There is a lot to like about leather car seats. First of all, leather presents a refined look that exhibits durability. The style can work for any vehicle and will outlast cloth fabric when properly maintained. Leather also has a flexible design that allows it to be soft or firm depending on the car owner’s choice. Although leather costs a bit more than cloth upholstery, the cleaning process is not nearly as complicated. Simply wipe the seat down with car upholstery cleaner, vacuum and then wait for the leather to dry naturally. Leather conditioner always a good idea if you want to protect the fabric.
Faux leather delivers all the desirable traits of leather without the high cost. The most common type of faux leather is made out of plastic, hence the term “pleather.” It’s versatile in the way that you can pretty much get any design you want because no animals are ever harmed in the process. Faux leather is easy to clean and is exceptionally durable. However, unlike real leather, faux leather doesn’t have the same luster. It doesn’t smell or age the same way either, which is a shame.
When we think of vinyl, we think “record players.” While those don’t exactly sound comfortable, but the material we know as vinyl can be molded and used for many different purposes, including car seats. Vinyl is easy to clean, durable and long-lasting (over ten years). While leather has a tendency to get softer over the years, vinyl gets harder, which can makes things a little less comfortable. Another common criticism with vinyl is that comfort is not optimal for hot days or cold weather. That being said, quality vinyl may be an affordable alternative to leather since it feels very similar.
Made as imitation of vinyl, faux vinyl exhibits traits of leather as well. It’s easy to clean and has the shine so many drivers adore. Faux vinyl costs much less than many of the alternatives and the reason is durability – or lack thereof. It doesn’t take long for faux vinyl to crack and wear away. As a result, you might have to reupholster your seats sooner than you’d like.
The velvety touch of suede makes it a desirable choice for a car’s interior. While suede earns points for being comforting and gentle, it’s not easy to clean or as durable as leather or vinyl. Suede is sometimes mistaken for Alcantara, which is a synthetic textile made to resemble the animal hide of suede. Because of suede’s fragility, it may be a good idea to purchase some protective material to help sustain the fabric’s longevity. UV rays have been shown to harm suede over time.
If you want durable upholstery that’s also available in many colours and patterns, then nylon is the choice for you. Capable of enduring UV rays and everyday wear and tear, nylon is exceptionally resistant to stains and is easy to clean. Nylon is also waterproof, which makes it a popular choice for those who have pets. That being said, while practicality makes nylon a good choice, it lacks in comfort.
Brushed nylon is a thick polymer fabric that appeals to many because it’s both firm and hard-wearing. While its durability is appreciated, brushed nylon is also quite comfortable, being soft and warm upon touch. The synthetic choice is tightly woven. It’ll take a lot to damage this type of fabric.
PVC (or Poly Vinyl Chloride) is a soft and flexible vinyl material. Because of its form, it can be easily manipulated into any shape, but it lacks in comfort as a result. PVC is a poor choice in hot weather since the fabric can easily stick to bare skin. As such, wearing shorts in a PVC-furbished car can be an unpleasant experience. Nevertheless, the fabric is easy to clean since plain old water and light soap are often enough. PVC is a cheap option for those who want to reupholster their car seat, but don’t have enough cash to afford higher-grade choices.
Remember that every time you get into your car, you are in direct contact with your seat. The right upholstery can enhance your comfort, make your vehicle easier to clean, raise its resale value and improve your commute.
You can check out various upholstery options by configuring a vehicle with our free dealer cost report where you can also see how much each option costs.