Leather care is an important part of vehicle maintenance, whether you're planning on selling the vehicle down the road, or driving it into the ground. While it's easy to forget, properly cleaning and conditioning your leather will not only maintain the look of your seats, but also the durability and comfort! Below, you'll find a few quick tips on how to care for your leather seats.
Many people forego this step, and move straight to conditioning. Those people get an A for effort, but are lacking on execution. Cleaning the leather is extremely important! Remember, this is an animal hide we're talking about. Over time, dirt and oil will build up on that hide, which leads to the leather looking darker and shinier. While this is a great look for your wallet or vintage bag, it doesn't look so great inside your vehicle.
You'll want to stay away from cleaners with harsh chemicals. However, if it's been a while since you've cleaned your seats, you'll need to roll up your sleeves and do some work. For a deep clean, we recommend Chamberlain's Straight Cleaner #2. This product permeates leather with natural, non-alkaline cleaning agents and alcohols, gently removing substances that damage leather. This is just a cleaning product, so don't forget to condition afterwards!
This step is equally as important as cleaning. Conditioning is going to keep your leather soft. Without regular conditioning, the leather will dry out, crease, and eventually crack. Chamberlain's Auto Refreshener #4 is the perfect solution to this problem. It's a combination cleaner and conditioner, so you can use it after using the cleaner mentioned above, and you can also use it to clean and condition on a regular basis. In addition to cleaning, it will condition the leather with nutrients and UV protectants. It can be used on both leather and vinyl, and will go a long way toward extending the life of your seats!
Below, you'll also find some quick details about your leather interior!
1. Not all leather is created equal.
There's a lot of confusion about leather quality, but the short story is this: we source our leather hides from the same tanneries that the OEM factories sourced from. In our words: "If it's good enough for the factory, it's good enough for us". In some cases, the tanneries have actually adjusted their colors to match our custom colors, since they are closer to the original factory dye lot colors.
2. The sides of your "leather seats" are actually vinyl.
Yep, you read that right. With a few rare exceptions, "leather appointed" interiors typically consist of leather on the seating surface (the part you sit on and lean against) and vinyl side skirting, armrests, headrests, pockets, etc. While you might think you've gotten ripped off, we believe the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs for short) got it right on this one. Not only is the vinyl side skirting cheaper to manufacture, it's also easier to install. They even stamp a grain into the vinyl, to make it look more like actual cowhide. Take a close look at your seats, and try to tell the difference!
3. The foam seat cushion could be the problem.
One phrase we hear constantly is: "The foam is fine". While the foam cushion will often look fine, the density of the foam breaks down over time. This means that the cushion compresses more easily. More compression = more flex = creases and cracks in your leather! Compare the resistance on your driver foam to a seat that isn't used as often. If you can feel the difference, it's probably a good idea to replace your foam seat cushion. If you don't, you're risking the integrity of that new cover, which is more likely to wear out sooner!
Interested in learning more? Check out our Blog, sign up for our Newsletter, or just give us a call at (214) 710-2565! We're always happy to talk with you about your seats.