How do I Choose the Best Car Seat Upholstery?

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  • Written By: Bobby R. Goldsmith
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Choosing the best car seat upholstery requires the consideration of two elements. Deciding on the best car seat upholstery is mostly a subjective matter of taste that includes material, pattern, color, and stitching. A secondary consideration, though, is the most appropriate material for a given application. It would make little sense to choose leather upholstery for a Jeep 4 X 4 with no roof, as the consistent exposure to sunlight and rain would quickly ruin the material. Coarse, durable cloth is similarly ill suited for high-end custom and luxury vehicles.

It can be difficult to clearly and concretely detail exactly what you want from your car seat upholstery. You know what you like and what you do not, but remember that function is often a more pressing concern than form. This means that it is more important for your chosen material to do what it needs to do and not simply look good. The best car seat upholstery needs to match its application and provide as much comfort as possible before aesthetics are considered.


Leather seating can be a good fit for high-end vehicles, as the texture adds to the image of luxury while providing an easier-to-clean surface that offers a higher level of stain-resistance than some other materials. There are significant drawbacks to using leather for your car seat upholstery, though. A leather car seat tends to reflect the prevailing temperature of the car, becoming sticky on hot days and quite chilly on cold ones. Leather can also be prohibitively expensive, though a less expensive alternative is tuck-and-roll-stitched vinyl. Vinyl is much less expensive than leather, but it has all of the same drawbacks and is far less durable.

Cloth seating offers a wider variety of choices for car seat upholstery and has characteristics that are opposite to those of leather. Cloth of various kinds is temperature-resistant and quite durable as well as less expensive than leather. Most cloth, however, is susceptible to stains and is much more difficult to clean and maintain than leather. Also, numerous car seat covers are available in various kinds of cloth that can be purchased for a fraction of the price of custom reupholstery.

Generally, your most important choice will be between cloth and leather, based upon the need for comfort and the ultimate use of the vehicle. Many drivers are happy with the durability and comfort provided by cloth seats, yet leather remains a steadfast fixture of the luxury car market for its texture and stain-resistance. Often, the best choice is the one made for comfort.


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Post 1

Oh, the joys of replacing upholstery! It's an expensive proposition on the best of days.

Unless you drive a luxury vehicle, in which case, you won't even notice the price, most people are best served by thinking about function. Yes, someone who drives a Jeep or pickup and hunts a lot doesn't need high-end upholstery. However, I drive a midsized passenger car and I want comfort. Remember the days of peeling yourself off vinyl seats when it was hot and you had on shorts? Yeah, me too. That's why I would choose cloth over everything else, and in a neutral color not apt to show dirt. Moms probably need to think about one of those seat covers for people who let their dogs ride in the car. They work equally well for kids.

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