Header Ads

Header ADS

How To Correctly Repair Damaged & Cracked Car Leather Seats

Today's  I want to share in display some of the techniques, methods, and products used to achieve
quality repair work on worn and damaged leather seats. Interior repair is an area that I've pursued in
the past but honestly never found the system that could give me the results I was always happy with
until more recently. The globe will repair the system I've been using being trained in.
However it's important to understand that it still is a repair and by no means perfect, although the
results can be extremely good it's not like replacing the seats or trims with a new one but for anyone
that's had a leather seat reupholstered. At least as a quality job you'll know just how extremely
expensive both the labor and quality leather itself.

You'll also find that it's virtually impossible to find the same leather and color when trying to

reupholster just one seat or a section of the C so and never really matches and in the case where
some owners aren't looking for perfection but would still like the obvious tears damage or wear in
the trims and materials to be addressed. This is a perfect solution the other concern that I've come
across is with classic car owners who want to keep and preserve the original leather vinyl or fabric in
the interior but would still like the worn and torn surfaces to be repaired.

So in other words it's not necessarily about creating perfection but there's a place for

this area of work, where it does make sense and you're able to help preserve and improve the
appearance and integrity of many worn and damaged interior components. Stop the damage from
progressing and getting worse, also the quality of finish achievable is largely based on the existing
damage and condition of the seat or trim.

So in other words, if the trim or seat is just too far gone which I'll be displaying in one section.

It's impossible to get it back to an ear perfect finish. Though as you will hopefully see it is still possible
to improve it and in the end a balance of quality work versus time is a compromise that needs to be
found, as if I was to spend all day or even longer repairing and restoring a seed it's no longer an
affordable repair.

The customer might very well be better off paying a little more and getting the seat

and trim reupholstered. Also, I'm not doing this article and suggesting that you should buy these
products and kits and you'll be able to achieve these results. Apart from the training, this is one of
those areas that does require quite a few hours of practicing and tuning your skills to get the hang of it.
More so I want this article to help display and show what goes into quality repair work as opposed to
some of the cheaper quick fixes and hacks. That mostly does more harm than good to your interior
components and for any professional Detailers looking to undertake interior repair work.

This article will hopefully provide some insights as to what it takes and what you can expect from the

results after you do invest a little time and money building your skillset and Arsenal in this area(3.23). 

As you can hopefully see this leather seat has seen better days with severe cracking we're in tears,
the first step after assessing the damage and deciding whether it is within the bounds of
repair as some seats are just too far gone and beyond any repair system is to give the seat a
thorough clean(3.54)

Now apart from the dirt oils and grime interfering with the repair you'll find that once the leather is truly
clean you'll change a shade or two in color. So it's important to ensure it's completely clean for the
color matching process as well. So once the seat is entirely clean I'm using this prep clean product
which is more or less a wax and grease remover. That's been specifically tuned and dialed to work on
car interior components as a pre-repair cleaning and surface preparation product to ensure that the
repair products will efficiently bond to the surface.

Next, I'm gonna do my best to ensure that the existing leather and damage are leveled down and

prepared to remove any loose or compromised leather as well as do my best to create the most
uniform and level surface as possible(5.51)

If you were to magnify the damaged areas of the leather you'd see a lot of peaks and valleys as well

as the top layer of the leather starting to separate and come loose. So to achieve the best possible
finish and durability out of the repair it's important to get the surface as level as possible. This also
means that you don't need to use as much filler in the cracks as well as ensuring that you're not
working or building on a compromised surface.

A Lhasa adds that the worst areas do need more sanding while the areas that aren't all that bad. Just

need a very light and quick once-over to prepare the surface any obvious or loose bits of leather need
to be firstly trimmed off and then using medium-grit sandpaper around 600 grit or so. You need to
ensure the leather is as level as possible and that any looser or more compromised Peaks are
removed. Which will aid this repair in both looking better and being more durable? 

Now with the surface prepared I'm gonna start with the more obvious in significant damage such as

this cigarette burn as you saw earlier I used a razor blade to physically clean around the burn and
then remove the looser and damaged leather around the edge of the burn so that the filling agent will
have a stronger and cleaner bond.

The product I'm using to feel until the hole is a leather and vinyl heat-activated compound. This is

done in stages to create the best finish and strongest repair so layer by layer is slowly filled and then
heat cure the compound until it's completely level and flush with the surrounding leather. Then using a
nonstick silicone pad in the end to create that level finish. I'm purposely not using gloves as it's important
to feel the surface with your fingertips.
Which is the best way to determine whether it's truly flat and level all also add that this specific
compound is both extremely strong and flexible once cured, so much so that it's stronger than the leather
itself and completely permanent with an impressive bond and resistance to any further damage and
wear and tear? 

As I explained earlier some damage such as in this next area on the edge of the seat are just too far
gone to enable them to be repaired or restored to a near-perfect appearance but as I do want to show
the limitations of what can and can't be achieved.
I'm gonna start with this badly damaged and worn area first. It's quite plain to see that along with the
piping of this edge it's almost completely worn down to nothing.

Now it's virtually impossible to rebuild that piping and restore it to its nice curved finish as it really does

need to be researched and replaced but at the same time, I can still strengthen it and largely prevent it
from further deteriorating using the same heat-activated compound. Now once the color is placed over
this area it will be much less noticeable but I still want to be honest in communicating that it will by no
means look perfect. So my main objective here is to primarily strengthen and seal the area and secondly
is to cosmetically improve it in the end. 

So once all the more severe holes tears and the damage is addressed, it's the time to treat and repair
the cracks in the leather.

I'm using a leather filler unlike the previous leather and vinyl compound that does need to be heat

activated. This filler will cure on its own accord that takes it anywhere from about 15 minutes to half an
hour depending on the weather. Though at the same time particularly in colder climates you can hit it
with a heat gun to help speed up the curing process.

The most important thing to focus on in this step is to apply the bare minimum of leather filler that's
That you ensure the application is as level as possible and that it does blend seamlessly to the surface.
I'm just going to apply a small amount of the leather filler at a time and mainly using the small spatula
but also my fingers in some of the tighter areas to ensure I have a uniform and smooth level finish. The
idea is to squeeze the product into the cracks and also minimize the filler sitting on top just leaving
enough to create a smooth seamless finish, on leather that is this badly worn and does have those large
deep cracks. It's best to work in stages as it's near impossible to fill such deep and damaged areas in
one step.

You'll also find that apart from the deeper cracks and crevices on this leather, you'll also have

some raised areas due to the natural creasing that is just too high to level down. So as I mentioned
before the worse the surface is to start with the more limited you will be in getting a near-perfect finish
but in the end, those peaks and valleys should be greatly improved though in many cases such as this
not entirely correctable.

So after the primary filling stage, I'm speeding up the curing stage with my heat gun and then lightly
resounding the surface once again to get the surface as level as possible and then basically just repeat
the process.
This time paying a little more attention to the deeper cracks and damaged areas that do need the most
work. I'll also add that I don't want to create a completely flat or textualist finish that does look synthetic.
So I still want to retain some of the minimal naturally created creases in the finish so that it does look
more consistent with the existing leather on the rest of the seat so I just want to feel perhaps 80 to 90%
of the cracks to still retain some texture in the finish.

As you'll see on the rest of the scene where the cracks aren't all that bad just a single application of the
leather filler is more than sufficient to address the finish. In certain areas there is simply no need to apply
any filler whatsoever, another point that I do want to highlight is that normally I wouldn't be repairing
filling and color matching a hole or half C. I'd normally be doing more of a blend repair job which I'll be
showing you shortly in the next area of repair for the tops a bolster. However, I did also want to show
that although it's not always the most appropriate course of action you can still repair a large area of the
seat or the entire seat if you wish to.

So with all the more prominent cracks and damage repaired it's now time to mix and match the leathers
particular color shade. The global repair system does come with over a hundred different color swatches
which will have measurement formulas to mix up the particular shades of colors.
So once you find the closest color swatch to the leather trim it's just a matter of following the
measurements to achieve that particular shade of color. You'll also find that leather doesn't have a
glossy finish in general so there's also a gloss flattening agent that once added will allow for more
Saturn to a matte natural finish.

It's also important to note that you'll never have a perfect shade or formula for each leather trim that you

come across. So although the color swatches are a great starting point you lawyers need to adjust that
formula to correctly match the leather surface.

Using a clear masking template and a mouthpiece blower you need to always do a test spot on the area
to assess the accuracy of the colors match and be sure to let it always dry as it'll slightly change in
shade from wet to dry. 

Sometimes it's just a matter of darkening or lightening the color with black or white but in many cases,
you will need to add specific colors to achieve the correct match. I'll also add that even on this same
scene the light grayish color on the base of the seed is quite different to the yellow and greenish
tinge it has on the top upright section of the sea. This is mainly due to how the leather has aged and
been affected by things like wear and tear and UV rays. 

Once I'm happy I have a near-perfect color match I'm gonna use a miniature air gun to apply it. Now you
can use the mouthpiece blower to apply the color as well but for our repair such as this, I do prefer to
use a miniature air gun whereas something like an airbrush is just too fine for such a large area(22.15).

So after a quick test to ensure that the consistency of the paint is flowing well and even. I'm just going to

apply light even coats slowly building up and covering the surface.  

It's really important not to go too thick all at once and avoid runs all over saturating the surface but at the
same time you still need to keep the airgun fairly close to the surface of the paint or it will dry before it
makes contact.
This will then lead to a dusty and rough finish so it's really about finding that perfect balance of distance
and light yet adequate coats. The paint itself is a specifically formulated acrylic-based lacquer designed
for leather and vinyl interior trims. This tends to penetrate the surface as well as feel minor imperfections
yet it still has great flexibility in its finish and believes it or not many other interior repair systems use
water-based paints.
This makes the durability quite poor but one reason we liked this system is the quality and longevity of
these paints. That actually contains UV and chemical resistant properties that make them much more
durable than any other repair system I've come across and they really are more like a base coat and a
clear coat mix together but at the same time you still need to appreciate them. That it's not going to be
quite as durable or chemical resistant as a new clear-coated leather finish.

Hopefully, you can see that the finish and repair here although not perfect is by far improved, it retains a

natural and aged appearance with minimal and subtle leather creases still visible. 

In this next repair scenario, I want to show a more common and perhaps a more appropriate repair with
the side cushioning bolster being repaired and then blended into the rest of the seats. Now the
preparation of sanding and leveling the surface followed by filling in the cracks is much the same as the
last area I just did on the base of the seat. In this case, I was able to feel 80% of the cracks here with
just a single application but the last 20% still did need a second application after curing, to get them to
the right level of being just slightly noticeable to retain that more natural look.

Now as mentioned before the top part of the state does have a slightly warmer tone than the base so I'm
just adding a touch of yellow to better match that shade and after a quick test spot and quite happy with
it and to proceed to spray painting.

Now when doing a blend repair it's quite similar to doing a solid area in that you want to concentrate on
just a repaired area and you'll find that the overflow of the paint will naturally blend the repair. It's just
important to make sure that you don't mask the opposing trim or you will get a sharp line that doesn't
look natural at all.

Hopefully, you can see once again that although this is not perfection, it certainly is quite a successful
repair that does address the badly cracked leather. It still retains a natural and slightly aged look there
is more consistent with the seat's overall age and condition. Also, add that this paint is super quick in
drying and curing so much so that within a couple of hours depending on the weather you can sit in and
use a seat. 

Now although it's not necessary I do prefer to seal the finish with a nano interior coating such as car pro
leather the further increases the durability of the repair and its resistance to chemicals and wear and tear.
The seat and repair work can also be coated after an hour or two or if you heat the seat or repaired
areas with a heat gun for ten minutes or so you can code it immediately after

I also wanted to display that this finish isn't going to simply come off next time you clean the seat as with
many other interior repairs that I've come across with a one to five dilutions of car Pro inside all-purpose
cleaner the finish is still more than resistant to the chemical.

Yet it's still more than capable at cleaning the see you should just use a light concentration of your

interior cleaner on leather or just some soapy water regardless of whether it's repaired or not. 

Stronger cleaners and concentrations will both deteriorate the repair and the natural leather itself or
better still as I've discussed in past videos. Just use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe your seats down
once a week or so which will usually be more than adequate to keep the surface clean if they regularly
and just on a final note. I also want to make clear that you're looking at this seat and there are some
powerful and bright workshop lights. That do expose even the slightest imperfections and in more
normal circumstances and lighting with the seat inside the car I guarantee that the repair work will look
almost seamless and perfect in comparison but at the same time, I want it to be as honest and
forthcoming about what is achievable to what standard and when and where this type of repair work is
appropriate and successful. Which does depend on many factors and circumstances which I hope I was
able to highlight and explain. In any case, I do hope this look at leather repair was both helpful and
informative. Please comment and share this article to show your support.

No comments

Theme images by Nikada. Powered by Blogger.