The definitive guide to repairing and restoring leather car seats

You don't need to spend a lot of money to save a car's leather seats.

A torn leather car seat

by Ryan Gilmore |

If you or your car's first owner splashed some extra cash for a leather-trimmed interior you'll know just how hard-wearing and durable the material is. It's soft and luxurious to sit I'm, but up to the wear-and-tear of everyday life.

However, while leather is tough, it's not impenetrable and sooner or later small nicks and signs of wear will make them visible. If your leather seats degrade enough you'll be looking at a hefty repair bill to put them right, which means it makes sense to ensure that your seat are looked after, and any small problems are remedied.

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We've found both restorers and full kits to ensure that any slightly worn leather is fixed before you need to call in the upholsters. It's also worth noticing that a couple of the kits will even help restore vinyl seats, perfect for owners of older cars.

What are the leather repair options:

Leather restorer - These products are packed with natural oils and will help restore lost lustre, prevent damage and help fix markings and small damage to the hide.

Leather repair kits - The final resort before calling in the professionals, these seats should be good for cleaning medium-sized damage to your seats, including nasty gashes and tears. Time consuming they may be, but they'll save you a lot of cash if you let any damage go untreated.

The best leather car seat restorers

Renovo Leather Reviver

The best leather car seat restorer
Renovo Leather Reviver
Amazon

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A simple to use leather reviver, we like this option from Renovo because it's so effective without breaking the bank. It will help restore lost colour from black leather and provides a UV Inhibitor to keep your leather protected. It's also water-based meaning there's no worry about working with nasty chemicals.

Connolly Hide Care Cream Leather Preserver & Restorer 285g

The best leather restorer for Connolly leather
Connolly Hide Care Cream Leather Preserver & Restorer 285g
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Connolly leather has long been the preserve of the most luxurious cars on sale (think Rolls Royces and Jaguars) and it's renowned for its soft feeling and high price tag. If you do happen to own a car fitted with Connolly leather it's in your best interest to treat it with this restorer because the alternative is an eye-watering repair bill.

The best leather car seat repair kits

Furniture Clinic Complete Leather Repair Kit

The best leather car seat repair kit
Furniture Clinic Complete Leather Repair Kit
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A really good way of repairing split, nicked or scratched leather, this kit will offer long-lasting protection without costing a lot of money or requiring a lot of skill. The kit contains everything you could need to repair leather, including tints to ensure a close colour match. There are several colours to choose from and the kit can also be used around the home, for restoring a dog-eaten sofa for example.

Furniture Clinic Leather Steering Wheel Repair Kit

The best leather repair kit for steering wheels
Furniture Clinic Leather Steering Wheel Repair Kit
Amazon

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Even if your car doesn't feature leather seats, there's a fair chance the steering wheel will be wrapped in leather. As the steering wheel is a high contact area, over time it will start to show signs of age. Keep it looking fresh with this conclusive kit specially designed for a car's interior.

It's a fairly hefty six-stage process but the results will see the colour restored, scratches and nicks covered up and a long-lasting coating of protection applied too. It comes with a degreaser, alcohol-based cleaner, leather binder and a self-seal colourant. This kit is designed for black leather steering wheels.

Coconix Vinyl and Leather Repair Kit

Best value leather repair kit
Coconix Vinyl and Leather Repair Kit
Amazon

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Coming with an amazing 10 colours in one kit, this leather repair kit would be able to repair Joseph's technicoloured dream coat if it had been made of leather. Not offering the same level of repair and protection as other repair kits it's still a good budget choice.

MastaPlasta Self-Adhesive Leather Repair Patch XL

The best leather repair last restort
MastaPlasta Self-Adhesive Leather Repair Patch XL
Amazon

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If you have a split or rip that's simply too big to repair without the help of a professional, you can at least prevent it from splitting further with one of these self-adhesive repair patches. We've chosen the XL patch (28 x 20cm) which can be cut to size. Available in a number of colours, it will cover up any damage and should prevent existing damage from getting any worse. The result may not be as good as the other kits here but it's easy to apply (just stick it on) and looks better than the gaffer tape some resort to using.

What you need to know about car leather repair

A damaged leather seat
©Photo: Getty Images

The signs of damaged leather seats

There are many ways leather seats can become damaged and need repairing. From simple wearing and discolouration to nasty tears and rips in the seats, leather has a lot of ways in which it can become damaged.

The bolsters (the bit of the seat that holds you in place) are often the first areas to show wear as constant entry and exit of people into the seats rubs the leather over time. The other area to show signs of wear quicker is the steering wheel. It's a high contact point and all the oils in your skin can over time weaken the fibres in the leather.

Can I restore and repair leather car seats myself?

This depends on how damaged the leather is. Small nicks, signs of wear and stains can all be easily tackled with one of the above kits and a little free time. Any bigger damage is worth leaving to the experts in case you make it worse.

What happens if the leather is too far gone?

If your leather looks mummified and has the structural integrity of a flaky sausage roll all is not lost. If you're desperate to keep your interior looking original you can pay a lot for an upholsterer to restore your leather, a four-figure bill most of the time.

If not a good selection of seat covers are available. From leather options to fabric seat covers we've found the best examples. There are even heated covers available for an added touch of warmth during the winter months.

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