How to Install Seat Covers
Are you spending more time and money scrubbing the dirt off your original vehicle upholstery than it’s worth? Maybe your kids or grandkids are mucking up the seats with unidentifiable gunk? Perhaps you’re restoring a classic car from the ground up, like a 1967 Chevy C/K Pickup, and need genuine leather seat covers to stylize the interior!
Seat protectors are easy to keep clean, will not fade from direct sunlight, come in vivid colors for a unique interior design and are customizable to fit the exact contours of your make and model. Over time, leather seats can crack and fabric ones can rip and fade, so a quick and easy car seat cover install is the perfect option for a refreshed look.
There are so many reasons to cover the factory-utilized material on your car seats. And, installing seat covers doesn’t have to be difficult with the right tools and instructions. Our NAPA experts recommend following these ten easy steps for a breezy DIY project suitable for beginners.
NAPA Has You Covered!
Start by deciding which type of seat cover you need. Are you looking for universal seat covers or custom car seat covers designed for your vehicle’s exact make and model? On NAPAOnline, you can filter through your choice of camo patterns, durable canvas, high-quality leather or sporty neoprene. Choose from various logos, saddle blanket covers, tactical seat covers and sleek velour options.
Don’t forget to browse through NAPA’s seat cover accessories to accompany your vehicle’s new seat cover makeover. Remember that each seat cover installation may be slightly different depending on your vehicle, but these steps are universal in guiding general DIY automotive seat cover installments.
Clean the existing seats to the best of your ability, removing any gummy substances, dirt and grime. Shop this list of car interior detailing solutions from NAPA.
Adjust the seat forward or backward, so you can easily maneuver around it and remove any obstacles around the floor and frame.
Press the tab or lever to raise the headrest towards the vehicle’s roof (for seats with a removable headrest).
Slide the headrest seat cover onto the headrest. Tuck in any extra fabric and secure the headrest’s cover using the incorporated hook-and-loop closures, buckles, zipper or snaps.
Slide the seat cover over the chair’s back, adjusting it all the way down to the bottom of the seat.
Slide the rest of the cover across the cushion part of the seat’s bottom.
Match the seams of the cover to the seams of your seat for a secure fit.
Tuck any excess fabric between the seat bottom and trim using a straight-edged tool. Recline the seat back and continue to tuck the fabric.
Locate any included seat cover hooks, clips or discs, depending on the seat cover you are installing. Secure the elastic strap to the retaining disks before passing the retaining disks through the seat bottom slit, which prevents the cover from shifting and sliding with use.
If a bib panel (skirt) is blocking the way, don’t worry because disconnecting is easy. Unhook the skirt from the seat springs or undo the elastic strap, then lift the bib to access the gap.
Move your location from in front of the seat to a position behind it.
After you’ve threaded the straps from the front through the slit to the back, some seat covers models will require you to push the straps back towards the front from underneath the chair. Then clip the straps onto the cushion in the front.
For other seat cover models, you’ll need to secure S-hooks to their respective anchors beneath the seat, which might mean removing your original factory clips from underneath the seat. Tuck the factory flap behind the seat cover before pulling the new seat cover clips into place.
Secure the seat using its respective method: hook-and-loop closures, buckles, zipper, snaps, S-hooks or bungee cords. Fully tighten all seat cover straps and secure any under seat hooks. Always secure straps beneath wires, sensors and brackets rather than over the top of them.
Don’t forget Wear safety gear, such as gloves and goggles before going under the seat or when securing straps, buckles and S-hooks.
Move the seat back into its normal position. Repeat for the passenger seat, then move on to the back seats.
NAPA’s Got Your Back
Installing rear car seat covers can vary depending on your vehicle and may require you to lift the rear seat’s bottom or bring the seat forward using access from the trunk.
Coverking offers several how-to video guides on installing seat covers for specific makes and models, like the popular Coverking Mossy Oak Camo Seat Covers. Gather your rear seat covers and repeat steps 1-10 from above, if applicable.
Are you ready to improve the look and function of your vehicle by upgrading with seat covers? Find automotive seat covers for all makes and models in various beloved brands, such as Saddleman, WeatherTech, Northern Frontier, Coverking, Carhartt and many more.
Tips From the Experts:
- Using non-slip pads helps keep seat covers in place
- Keep in mind the elasticity of the seat cover, which will need to be patiently installed from one end or side to another for an accurate fit (improper installation will cause seat covers to ripple or bubble, so ensure you have a snug fit)
- Specially engineered seat covers incorporate your seatbelts and other factory features like map pockets
- Aftermarket automotive accessories ordered through NAPA often come with all the tools needed for a quick and easy installation process
If you are worried about achieving a perfect installation, then make an appointment with the experts. Contact a NAPA AutoCare Center near you and trust them to implement your preferred auto seat covers, tonneau covers, fender flares, running boards and more.
More than 90 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association ("NAPA") was created to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. Today, 91% of do-it-yourself customers recognize the NAPA brand name. We have over 6,000 NAPA Auto Parts Stores nationwide serving all 50 states with a unique inventory control system that helps you find the exact part that you need.