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How to Repair a Leather Car Seat

Bidisha Mukherjee
Leather seats add a sophistication to your car. And, if it is damaged, you are most likely to be frustrated; after all, fixing leather seats may be quite a process. There are, however, some simple tips on how to repair a leather car seat, which you can follow. And yes, it's not that difficult as you think.
Leather car seats add elegance and give a luxurious feel to the interiors of a car. However, these seats are bound to get damaged sometime or the other due to regular wear and tear. It could be scratches, cracks, holes, or even just a tear. Scratches can be repaired quite easily, while on the other hand, holes or tears require to be done up properly.
The seat requires thorough cleaning before any repair work. In fact, the success of the repair job largely depends on this aspect. This is because, a dye or repair compound used for repairing will bond well with the leather if its surface is clean.
Take a bucket of water, add some dishwashing liquid soap and use this solution and a scouring pad to scrub the entire surface of the car seat. All the cracks and fissures should be given special attention as they tend to accumulate more dirt. Dry up the surface with a clean piece of cloth.
Follow this by another round of cleaning with soapy water and a scrub pad. This will ensure that no dirt residues are left behind. Finally, wipe off all the excess water with a dry towel. Car seats are often exposed to various types of chemicals like silicone.
To clean up those chemicals, you should use denatured alcohol. Pour a few drops of alcohol on a cotton wool and rub it over the affected area. When it is still wet, take a dry towel to wipe off the alcohol.

Repairing Scratches

~ The first step is to sand the damaged spots of the car seat with the help of sandpaper. A 240-grit sandpaper is suitable for this. Soak it in soapy water and sand the scratches so that the existing dye on that part can be removed.
~ Continue to sand the area until you get a smooth surface. Wipe off the sanded dust lying on the seat with a wet towel and dry it up using a blow dryer.
~ Next, apply a coat of primer on the entire seat as it helps the dye used for fixing scratches to bond well with the surface and you will have to use less amount of dye.
~ Now, cover up the car seat except those portions where there are scratches, with a plastic sheet.
~ Choose a suitable dye that matches with your car seat. Spray it over the scratches in the form of a thin layer. Continue to apply the dye until all the cracks are filled in with dye. To obtain a uniform look, you can spread a thin layer of the dye all over the seat.
~ After the application of the dye, leave the seat untouched for some hours for air drying. If you want to speed up the drying process, then use a blow dryer. Make sure that the dye dries up completely before you start using the car seat again.

Repairing a Tear

~ As usual, the first step involves light sanding with the help of a 240 grit sandpaper so that the glue to be used can adhere well. If you observe the torn part carefully, you may find that it has some rough edges and a few loosely bound leather pieces. Cut them out with the help of a pair of scissors.
~ You require a piece of replacement patch made of leather to cover up the torn area. To get this patching material and all other tools needed for tear repair, you have to purchase a repair kit.
~ Cut the patching material into circular shape and make sure its diameter is slightly larger than the actual size of the tear. This is because there should be at least half an inch of overlapping of the patch with the seat on all sides.
~ Place the patch over the damaged area and slide its edges into the torn area.
~ Next, apply leather glue to the overlapped section of the patch and seat. Leave it untouched for some time in order to cure the glue properly.
~ If the glue seals up the tear, then you need not worry anymore. However, in case, the patch and the leather do not adhere to each other properly, you have to use a leather repair compound on those spots. Apply it in a thin layer over the tear and spread it evenly along the edges.
~ Then heat the repaired area using a heat gun to cure the compound. Keep the gun at a safe distance so that the car seat does not get burned.
~ When the compound has dried up, wipe off the excess compound with a paper towel slightly damped with alcohol.
~ After that, rub a sandpaper gently so that any bumps formed are smoothened up.
Most of the time, the color of the patch does not match with the color of the rest of the car seat. Therefore, you have to apply dye over the patched surface that suits color of the seat. A number of coats need to be applied on the repaired area and its surroundings, but each layer of the dye should be thin.
Apply the next coat only when you know that the previous coat is dry. Finish off by applying a conditioner on the patched spot and its surroundings to give it a glossy look.
Now that you have gathered fair amount of knowledge on repairing a seat, you can start the job any time you want. In order to ensure that the repair work is done perfectly, you should act patiently. If done hastily, the repair may not last for a long time.