Leather seats provide the ultimate level of comfort and support, besting cloth and vinyl material by far. Breathable, attractive, and durable, leather adds value to any vehicle. But like other seating choices, they eventually wear and may tear. If they do rip, you’ll want to make repairs before matters become worse. Fortunately, the steps for how to repair ripped leather are straightforward and in many cases, you can do the job yourself.
Steps to Repair Ripped Leather
1. Examine the affected area. You know a seat is ripped, but how extensive is the tear? Also, if your car is under warranty, are the leather seats covered? If the damage isn’t covered and the rip is manageable, then this is a job you can handle by yourself.
2. Choose your product. Most leather repair kits include vinyl repair, therefore you’ll find products marketed accordingly. J-B Weld offers one such kit, which includes a plug-in electric heat iron to make professional-level repairs. It’s designed to handle car seats, dashboards, and other leather surfaces.
3. Clean the affected area. If your vehicle is dressed in high-end leather, then refer to its maintenance manual for care instructions. Otherwise, you may clean the impacted area with a lint-free cloth. If stains are also present, then use a cotton washcloth soaked in warm water and lightly covered with mild dish soap. Dab the area, then dry. You can apply a leather cleaner once the rip is fixed.
4. Prepare the product. Follow the instructions included with the packaging to repair the ripped leather. The kit will include paste, fabric back, an applicator, spatula, and seven color choices. Choose the appropriate color nearest to the fabric color or mix with one or more colors to achieve the ideal shade.
5. Get the job done. Up to this point, you’ve prepped the ripped leather for the job at hand. Now, you need to apply the repair compound to the affected area, overlapping and feathering the same without overfilling. Apply a second application only if needed. Next, use the grain texture paper to cover the affected area. Allow 24 hours to cure. Finally, remove the textured paper and review your work. If the area is still wet, allow it to dry. Once dry, you may need to repeat this step for best results.
When Professional Care Is Best
If the rip is more than two inches long or a half-inch wide, then consider having it professionally treated. To keep your leather seats looking great, regularly use a product (vinyl, leather, and rubber) to clean and condition them. With regular use, a cleaner and conditioner can protect your leather seats from drying, fading, and cracking.
Check out all the interior parts & accessories 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 ripped leather seats, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.