A car seat protector is a device used to protect the material covering an automobile seat from stains and damage. Typically, a cloth which fits over the seat and features an elastic band sewn around the perimeter, the car seat protector will often sport a design or designer pattern intended to add a visual appeal to the vehicle seat. Occasionally, a car seat protector will be liquid-repelling or waterproof to further protect the seat from spills and stains. In some colder climates, the car seat protector may include battery-operated heating elements or thick wool to add a layer of warmth and comfort for the operator.
Many times, a car seat protector will be used to cover a damaged vehicle seat or to change the color of a vehicle's interior. By placing the covers on the seats, small rips, tears, wear and stains can be hidden without the cost of a replacement seat or professional cleaning. Many people who have occupations where their clothing may become soiled during the day's activities rely on a car seat protector to keep their vehicle's interior in clean condition. When not at work, the protector can simply be removed from the seat and stored in the vehicle's trunk until once again needed.
There are many types and styles of car seat protector options, including those to fit bucket, bench or split bench seat configurations. Designs include openings for headrests and seat belts and include styles for both high-back and low-back bucket seats. Some manufacturers also include bonus storage pockets stitched into the sides of the lower front edge of the protector. The vehicle operator is able to store gloves, maps and other belongings in these pockets, giving the cover an added value and convenience. Some protective covers used in pickup trucks also have large storage pockets sewn on the rear of the cover to act as handy storage providers on the back of the seat.
Most higher-end car seat protector covers use a two-piece design with the seat bottom and the seat back installed individually. This type of cover will commonly remain in place longer without requiring readjustment and tightening. With one-piece designs, the covers have a tendency to pull loose when the seat is tilted up or reclined as well as from the operator or passengers sliding in and out of the vehicle. Some manufacturers also include optional arm rest covers for vehicles with bucket seats and center arm rests.