Your car seat is probably the most prime candidate for customisation, after all, this is what holds you in place and keeps you comfortable in those tight corners or long highway trips. Your car seat cover are your first and the last point of contact with your vehicle. Think about that!
Leather Car Seats: For Luxury
Leather seats are for the posh, generally seen as a luxury feature and are mighty expensive. It is not that they cost more in vain, but they are significantly superior to fabric seats in many ways.
For the short-on-the-pocket, there’s faux leather, which is simply synthetic material made to mimic the look and feel of genuine leather.
Then there is top of the line; Nappa leather which is fine grain leather featured in luxury cars viz. Rolls Royce, Bentley, Audi, Mercedes Benz, BMW.
Advantages of Leather Car Seats
1. Stain resistant and easier to clean
2. Responds well to cooled/heated/ventilated function
3. More durable and hold better in the long term
4. Increases the overall aesthetic of the interiors
5. Adds greatly to the resale value of the car
Disadvantages of Leather Car Seats
1. Significantly expensive when compared to fabric seats
2. More complex and expensive to repair
3. Not eco-friendly (if sourced irresponsibly)
4. Slippery and provide less grip and feedback to the driver
5. Sensitive to weather extremities leaving them scalding hot during summers and freezing cold during winters
How To Care For Leather Seats
When it comes to leather seat care, you should probably leave it to the professionals. Still, here are some basic practices you can follow to keep those leather seats clean and plush for long.
A simple household vacuum cleaner is enough to suck the dirt and debris deeply embedded in between the crevices.
An inexpensive leather solvent which will take care of any spots or blots. Use a soft-bristle brush to agitate the area for best results.
A wax or silicone based conditioner which will keep the leather moist and crack-free for long. Apply generously using a microfibre cloth.
Fabric Car Seats: For Practicality
Fabric seats are cheap to manufacture, pretty durable and outright more practical. Fabric or cloth-type seats are also easy to customise and forgiving. It is obviously the most sensible and cost-effective choice that is featured in most economy cars.
Advantages of Fabric Car Seats
1. Cheap and easy to manufacture
2. Less temperature sensitive (extreme heat or cold)
3. Wide variety of options: neoprene, polyester, velour
4. Resilient to puncture, wear and tear
5. Practically maintenance free (machine washable)
Disadvantages of Fabric Car Seats
1. Can get dirty and filthy very quickly
2. Dyed or colour fabric seats are prone to fading over time
3. Strong smell/odour is hard to get rid of
4. Fabric seats get dull and outdated thereby devaluing the car
5. Can aggravate allergies (allergens like pollen, mildew settle down on fabric seats)
Fabric Car Seat Care
Caring for fabric seats is pretty much similar to leather seats and involves the same procedures. A plus point is that most fabric seats are machine washable, so you can easily plonk the dirty car seats in the washing machine. For tough to remove stains, you might have to utilise purpose made solvents/degreasers or vinegar.
Vacuum the seats thoroughly, taking special care in between the crevices. Use a soft-bristled fabric brush to dislodge pet hair or any allergens.
Use an automotive grade fabric solvent to remove blots and stains. Lightly spray the solvent (do not soak the seats) on to the stain and leave it for 2-3 minutes to dissolve
Use a microfibre cloth to wipe away any leftover solvent. Do not let the solvent dry-out.