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How To Repair Cloth Car Seats

Cloth car seats. Car seat damage is easier to repair than you might think. Learn how to repair cloth car seats.

Wondering how to repair cloth car seats? It’s normal to be frustrated upon seeing a tear or burn on your vehicle’s seats, but fortunately, there’s often a simple solution to fix the problem, or at the very least prevent it from becoming worse.

Check out these tips for dealing with the most common types of seat damage.

Holes and BurnsCloth car seats.

Researching how to repair cloth car seats that have been holed or burnt reveals fairly quickly that a patch is usually the best way to deal with this type of wear. Not all patches are created equally, however — you’ll want to get one that matches not just the color of the seat you are working on, but also the material strength required to deal with regular use.

Most patches can be attached using a contact adhesive, typically available in a spray can or as a panel that can be trimmed to the size of the hole itself. Heat (from an iron or heat gun) is then used to ensure a strong bond. Don’t worry about stitching a repair like this — adhesive will work just as well when it comes to covering a burn or a tear.


If you’ve got a rip that’s larger than a couple of inches across, a patch most likely won’t do the job. Professional repair is always the best bet from an esthetic perspective in this situation, but there are DIY options that will stop the tear in its tracks until you can go into the shop.

Using a curved needle and thread, stitch the tear using an X stitch from top to bottom. This will hold the sides together underneath the larger patch you’re going to have to apply to cover the stitch. Use a similar adhesive to what was discussed above, but remember that it’s the stitching, not the glue, that’s holding the tear together. Avoid the temptation to over-use the sticky stuff.


Is the stuffing in your seat letting you down? Looking at how to repair cloth car seats from a padding perspective isn’t all that difficult, either. You’ll need to be comfortable with removing your seats in order to gain access to the stuffing from the underside of the unit. Other than that, with the right tools, removing the cover and inserting new, and inexpensive, seat foam is largely a matter of time and having the right tools, such as the correct pliers for snapping in upholstery staples.

Make sure to add an additional inch to the amount of old foam already in the seat to take into account the compression that has occurred — and leave yourself an extra inch of foam at each side to account for any shrinking or tucking that might occur during installation.

Check out all the interior products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to repair cloth seats, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Benjamin Hunting View All

Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.  I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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