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A Guide To Restoring Leather Car Seats

If your classic car has leather seats, there's a good chance they may be a little worn and in need of some TLC. If they are worn, this isn't to say they need replacing altogether, and if you're an owner of a classic car you'll most likely want to keep hold of the originals. Once you've colour matched the leather and have your recommended repair kit and other relevant products at the ready, below is a simple guide of what to do next.

1. The first step is giving the seats a thorough clean. Vacuum the entire seat and use the nozzle to pick up excess dirt and debris from the seams. Using a PH-balanced leather cleaner on a soft cloth or damp sponge, rub into the chair in a circular motion to remove excess dirt, using a soft brush for tougher marks. Use a clean sponge with warm water to remove the leather cleaner and dry with a cotton towel.

2. Now's your chance to take a good look at the seat's leather to decide whether it's worth restoring, or if it is in fact beyond repair. If you are continuing with the process, use the sandpaper supplied by your repair kit to lightly sand down any imperfections on the seats before cleaning the areas again.

3. Your repair kit should include liquid leather, which you should colour-test by applying a small amount onto the seat. You may need to adjust the colour slightly with toner. Apply filler to the seat using a soft brush, sponge or spray gun to seal any tears or punctures. For scratches, dilute filler with 30% water and rub it onto the leather. Leave it for about 60 seconds before wiping it off with a damp cloth. (Note: if there are large patches of damage on your seats, you may want to consider sliding a leather patch underneath the tear, leaving about 15mm on all sides. Apply adhesive to the edges and press down firmly. Then apply the filler.)

4. Next, use the colour provided by the kit (it may need to be mixed to match the leather) and apply to the seats. If it is in liquid form it should be applied to the leather using a paintbrush or soft sponge. You may need to repeat this step a few times, drying the seat thoroughly each time. You can also buy pens to fill in small, discoloured areas.

5. After about 24 hours, you should condition the seats to make the leather strong and soft. Pour conditioner on a soft cloth and rub it into the seats. Leave for around 20 minutes before removing excess with a clean, dry cotton towel. It is recommended to clean your seats twice a year and condition them at least four times a year.

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