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How to Reupholster Car Seats

How to Reupholster Car Seats

Car upholstery can go a long way in enhancing the look and comfort of your car. With regular servicing, one can keep the car in great condition but what of the interiors? Here's your guide to reupholstering car seats.
Gaurav Shimpi
Quick Tip
Reupholstering leather seats can be challenging due to the nature of the fabric itself. In case the leather is torn, one can purchase a leather repair kit with color compounds that match your seat and paint the area. It is recommended for minor repair work only.
Prolonged usage will invariably lead to wear and tear of the car seats. They can be managed by regular cleaning and patch work but there will come a point when your car shall need reupholstering. This in turn can be a costly proposition, as going to a professional auto detail shop will cost you several hundred dollars or even more. So, why not consider reupholstering the seats yourself? Given below are steps on how to reupholster car seats.
Steps to follow
Step 1: Purchasing Fabric
Visit an accessory shop and purchase some attractive upholstery fabric which will suit your car well. If you want to reupholster the seats in leather, you would like to buy a high quality, long-lasting one because you won't want to reupholster them every other month.

Step 2: Removing Seats
To remove the seats, unscrew the bolts on the floor of the car right underneath the seat itself. Remember to remove the staple, then cut or tear away the old fabric and disassemble the front and back seats along with the headrest. Removing the tracks underneath the seats is the next step. You will need a screwdriver to remove the hog rings, after which you can remove the seat cover. While removing the tracks, pay attention to the way they are assembled or simply mark the areas with a chalk or marker. This will help during the seat reassembly.

Step 3: Treating the Seat Frame
Removing the cloth between the seat buns, the springs will expose the seat frame. If the frame is rusted, you may consider painting it, but allow it to dry completely before laying the new fabric. After this, pad up the seat frame with a new cloth along with the border pads. Apply a good quality adhesive and then place the seat bun.

Step 4: Reupholstering
Take the upholstery cover or fabric and wrap it around the front of the frame. Stretch to attach it on the hog rings and wrap it around the rear end of the seat bun and staple it at the bottom. Use the chalk marks as a guide to reattach the seat frames. You can also consider painting them in the color of your new fabrics to blend them in. Follow the same steps to reupholster your back seats. Don't forget to staple in the right areas and close the staple flaps provided in the seat bottom.

Step 5: Replacing the Seats
The last step is bolting the seats back in their places. Make sure they are set into the grooves and bolt them tightly to their holds. If there is movement in the seat frames, reset the seat. Once the seats are fixed, check if your upholstery is coming in the way of critical safety systems such as seat belts, or moving parts like the gear shift.

Following these steps will enable you to re-upholster your car seats the right way and return that original shine and beauty to the interiors.
Suggestion: Books on auto upholstery such as Custom Auto Interiors by Don Taylor and Ron Mangus can be bought online. They have color photographs and detailed instructions on how to customize car interiors.