How to Repair Leather Car Seats

A small hole or tear doesn't mean you have to splurge on new leather upholstery. Here's how to mend it on your own.
Written by Marisol Pereira
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Whether you're just fixing a small rip or a big tear in your car seat's leather, using a leather repair kit or liquid leather are great ways to fix your leather car seats.
Your car's leather upholstery is exposed to many damaging factors like UV rays,
coffee spills
, rips, and near-constant wear and tear.
Even if you take the
best care of your leather upholstery
by slathering it with leather conditioner and tinting your windows so direct sunlight won't corrode it, you still might notice some damaged areas on your car's upholstery over time.
If you notice imperfections in your leather finish, don't despair! You do not have to replace your car's upholstery. In fact, you might even be able to fix it on your own.
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How to use a leather repair kit

If you notice a torn area on your leather upholstery, use a leather repair kit to mend it. You can purchase repair kits specific to your vehicle's upholstery color online or from your vehicle's manufacturer.
Remember, if you need to patch an especially large tear, you will probably need to take your vehicle to a professional.
Each repair kit will come with its own unique instructions. That being said, here are some general steps for using a leather repair kit:
Step 1: Clean the seat. The first step is using a damp, soft cloth to remove any dirt or grime on the seat. Allow the seat to fully dry.
Step 2: Trim edges. If the tear or rip has irregular edges or loose threads, use scissors to trim them.
Step 3: Use scrap denim. Cut a piece of denim and place it behind the rip or tear. The denim will act as a protective barrier between the glue and the foam.
Step 4: Apply glue. Apply the glue along the edges of the rip. Apply some pressure to ensure it sticks, and allow it to dry.
Step 5: Apply filler. There will be a slight dip where the hole or rip is. Use the filler from your kit to fill this space. Using a palette knife, apply the filler to the tear until you achieve a smooth, level finish. You might have to apply multiple layers, but always wait for the last coat to dry before applying the next one.
Step 6: Sand. Once the filler has dried, you can use a sanding block (or even a nail file) to perfect and smooth the finish.
Step 7: Clean. Use a damp, soft cloth to remove any dust caused by the sanding.
Step 8: Apply colorant. Apply the colorant to a clean cloth and rub it into the filler until you achieve a match.
Step 9: Apply sealer. Use a clean cloth to apply the sealer. The sealer will protect the color from fading and ensure that the repair lasts a long time.

How to use liquid leather

If you have small imperfections in your leather upholstery, a bit of liquid leather might do the trick. Here's how to use liquid leather:
Step 1: Clean the seat. Start by cleaning the seats with a leather cleaner. Afterward, use a mild solvent to remove any residue from the leather cleaner.
Step 2: Apply liquid leather. Using a sponge, apply the liquid leather into the affected areas. You might need to apply multiple layers.
Step 3: Match the color. It might be a good idea to apply a thin layer of liquid leather to the rest of the seat as well — this will help you achieve a better color match and help mask the repair.
Step 4: Apply conditioner. Once the liquid leather has dried, apply a coat of leather conditioner to your seat. This will soften the leather and prevent it from cracking or tearing again.
Once you've fixed the tears and rips in your car seat leather, make sure to protect your vehicle from further damage. Consider getting a
car seat cover
, and make sure your car has insurance with
so you and your squeaky clean leather car seats are covered when disaster strikes.
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