Nothing sets off the interior of a car like the sleek look of leather, but caring for leather upholstery may sound like a chore. Using leather upholstery almost always increases the value of a car, because the look and feel of it adds both luxury and style. The durability of leather is also one of the reasons it is so valuable to have in a car’s interior. In reality, caring for leather can be far easier than caring for other types of upholstery, which are more subject to fading and less resistant to stains. If cared for properly, leather upholstery will not wear as poorly as vinyl, velour, and other non-leather interiors. Although it is true that leather requires some personal attention to maintain its luster, it is well worth following a few basic care steps to enjoy the beauty of a leather interior for a long long time.
The first and most important element to caring for leather upholstery is to pay attention to the leather’s sun exposure. Leather upholstery can fade over time if exposed to too much sunlight, so keep the car in a garage when not in use, and consider tinted side windows. Be sure to use a window shade or cover whenever leaving the car out in a sunny parking lot. For a convertible, be sure to leave the top up whenever leaving the car unattended. Heat will also damage the material, so using a window shade is doubly important to maintaining the quality appearance of the leather.
The next step to caring for leather upholstery is weekly attention to cleanliness. On a weekly basis, wipe down the upholstery with a dry cloth, using a wet cloth for any areas that have had any spills or are most frequently used—the driver’s seat for instance, or the steering wheel if it is also made of leather. Light or white leathers will need to be cleaned and conditioned more often than dark leathers, as they will show dust and discoloration much more quickly if used frequently.
Never scrub the leather or apply harsh chemicals to it, as this will unnecessarily add to the wear and tear of the leather. For spills and stains, clean the area immediately with a wet rag. Periodically vacuum the leather where any two sections meet, and along the seams to keep dust and dirt from collecting therein.
It is important to condition the leather from time to time to prevent drying and limit the appearance of cracks from aging. Only use creams and oils specifically made for car upholstery, and apply them once every 3 to 6 months to maintain shine and suppleness. Care and attention to the appearance of the leather in this way is always rewarding, because it enhances the subtle tones in the leather.
Deep scratches and tears in leather can be challenging to repair. Although repairs may be expensive, repairing damage as soon as any arises will maintain the high value of the interior. So seek out a person specializing in leather repair if the leather is torn or there are any seams coming apart. Leather car upholstery is usually very thick and it would take a lot to damage it significantly. To avoid minor scratches, do not allow pets to ride in the car without a heavy blanket underneath them, and place heavy or pointy objects on the floor or in the trunk and not directly on seats.
A leather interior is a wise investment to make in any vehicle, and caring for leather upholstery appropriately always pays off. By following these simple guidelines, the leather interior of any car can be maintained for decades to come.