Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Leather vs Cloth Seats



  • I have known plenty of guys that have worn out cloth seats in a year - tall trucks, hopping in and out and basically wearing out the fabric. My 1999 F-150 shows no sign of wear at 10,000 miles. OK - I am female. I have for years taken good care of trucks that are driven to high mileage - I am averaging about 175,000 miles before I decide it is time to sell before incurring major repairs. And, I have also considered the fact - if I can't get in and out of the vehicle easily, I need steps or I will wear out the seats. That worked on my old F-250 (little u-steps, but it has like-new seats -still at nearly 150,000 miles). On the new F-150 it came with some of the nicest running boards you'll ever find. They are fiberglass for light-weight with steel supports and the size/proportions are great for a 4X4 truck (they take a month or so to get used to - they fit snugly under the truck) - but after years of dealing with steps/boards/etc. - they are great. You would be surprised - even in heavy mud/snow - these running boards are not near as bad as you would suspect with regard to thinking you are about to step into a foot of snow/mud. And, they will save the seats from the fraying. As with the steps on the old truck - they do take a little practice for a female to appear at least a little elegant entering and exiting - but it can be done, easily with a little practice.
  • gilesgiles Posts: 16
    I just bought a 2000 Dodge Durango with factory leather seats. After reading the above posts I'm not sure I did the right thing. Time will tell. I asked the salesman how much of which seats (it has three rows)were leather and which sections were imitation.
    He wasn't sure so we both looked at the seats. The material looked pretty much the same to both of us.

    Four questions.
    Which parts of the seats are real leather?
    Is there a better treatment than Lexol?
    Can the leather treatments be used on the imitation leather without damage?
    And...anyone had Durango leather experience?
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    aka only real leather.

    In a silverado....the entire back seat is fake...only front seating surface is real.

    Probably simliar for several trucks.

    - Tim
  • kit1404kit1404 Posts: 128
    I guess my biggest problem with leather - I live in New Mexico and travel lots to Texas. It is a rare day when we don't consider wearing shorts - year-round. The cloth is so much nicer than sticking to leather. Guess I didn't make that clear earlier - between wet seats from boating and just general sweating - cloth is much better for us. But, I'm sure it probably varies in other climates. I have seen leather that is well-cared-for last quite well. Can't imagine any manufacturers that charge for leather and at least don't put it in the seating area.
  • Is why they don't offer a vinyl "leather" all around like they put in the Silverado back seat. To my eye at least, I can't tell the difference, even up close. It's far more upscale than what is put in the base model vinyl bench. Maybe doesn't last as long? I don't know.

    Leather is so expensive now because there is no legal tanning done in the US, chemicals are toxic and EPA doesn't allow. All done overseas. So for the money, you aren't getting very much of it, just the seating surface. Maybe people would object since vinyl is synonomous with cheap. I would still consider it. Of course leather breathes better than vinyl. Bring back the Nawgahide Mrs. Robinson.
  • I had leather covered Recaro seats installed in my 91 Honda CRX and took them out when I sold the car after about 6 months. The leather gets so hot in Tucson that I had to keep some heavy towels in the back of the car in the shade and cover the seats before I got in to drive it. Still, I see a lot of new pickups and SUVs being sold here with leather seats. It's a status thing now. I think I'll convert my leather Recaros into office chairs and get cloth on my next new truck.
  • kit1404kit1404 Posts: 128
    Before I bought my 1999 F-150 4X4 (off-road) I test drove a couple of Lariets - all with leather seats. It was late-May in New Mexico (moderate temps compared to what happens later in the summer) - I stuck to the leather in both. Yes, I had shorts on, but we wear shorts year-round here. Granted, they were beautiful trucks and the seats were grandiose! But, I sure am glad I found an XLT with the captain's seats (cloth) with power adjustment. I don't stick - they feel like the very same seats, just with cloth - if they get wet, no big deal and so far at 12,000 miles they are the most comfortable seats I have ever had and absolutely no sign of wear.
  • RichinKsRichinKs Posts: 416
    I have an Irish setter and have ordered leather on my new truck hoping that it will be much easier to get up the dog hair. On cloth most vaccums won't do the job nor can they get in the edges. I am hoping the hair will vaccum easier as it shouldn't stick to the fake leather rear seat as easily. If that fails it may come up easy with a damp rag. I also have a seat heater for winter and 90% time it is parked in the shade in the summer. This is my first leather in 30 years so will see how it does. ..... Rich
  • kit1404kit1404 Posts: 128
    Dog hair is a problem - I hate it too. The only thing worse is cat hair. The hair plus the slobber is just a big mess - my dogs ride in the back of the truck. That is one of the reasons I must always have a shell and even then they manage to plaster their hair/slobber/etc all over the back - at least I can just spray it out with a hose. Good luck with the leather and the dogs - have seen small dogs that don't necessarily tear up the leather with their claws. And, you're right - surely it must be easier to clean up the hair! I'm afraid my Rotts will have no option but to continue to enjoy their ride in the bed of the truck.
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    what did you end up buying for a truck?

    - Tim
  • RichinKsRichinKs Posts: 416
    You think Chevies are the only ones with allocation problems? My Dodge has been on order 21 weeks. Others are getting theirs Dodges in 7-10 weeks, but not me. My Chevy dealer is still not wanting to place an order for a Chevy 3/4. I guess I'm meant to keep my 97. Its falling apart. I had to replace a tail lamp the other day. Those bulbs don't last like they used to(G). Trying to keep a sense on humor, but its not easy. I had a hold at first for allocation, then 4x4 parts, then paint, holidays and now the V10 engine(supposidly). I may still be looking waiting when the Chevy HD's are obsoleted in 2013. We've canceled our trip to Phoenix and made reservations for next January. ... Rich
  • mgdvhmanmgdvhman Posts: 4,162
    ...When it rains it pours...

    If you have to wait either way...I'd find a Chevy dealer that WILL at least order it.

    Good Luck

    - Tim
  • I recently ordered a 2000 Silverado regular cab with the standard options but I would like to upgrade my seating. After speaking with a local after-market dealer, he told me, if the seatbelts are integrated in the seats, I wouldn't be able to order anything that he would have available. If anyone can help me find a knowledgeable after-market dealer, I would really appreciate it.
  • Sew Fine. Cat Skins. Wet Okole.
  • bern7bern7 Posts: 2
    Do you have a car with leather seats and a 50 pound dog who loves to ride in it. We need a new car. All the cars with the goodies we want come only with leather. Please share your experience regarding dog nails and leather seats. We think the dog will destroy the seats. Always before we have had cloth with no problems.
  • RichinKsRichinKs Posts: 416
    I too have a 49 pound dog and am waiting for delivery of my truck. But all three of the major makers only have real leather on the front seats and fake on the rear. So if your rear seats do get tore up its not a fortune to get them repaired, just 1/2 fortune. We plan to continue as we do now with a rug on the back seat. The rug can be removed and washed now, but our cloth seat underneath holds on tightly to the dog hair so that even a good vacum has trouble removing. We hope this hair will be easier to remove with fake leather seats. ... Rich
  • kit1404kit1404 Posts: 128
    Personally, cloth with a big towel over it works pretty good. It is easy to clean and if you have to, new seatcovers are not that bad. I would cry if I put my Rotts on leather - they would slobber and no doubt tear that really nice comfortable seat. Plus, I would stick to it anyway. Just my thought.
  • bern7bern7 Posts: 2
    Thanks for your comments. We are still deciding what to do.
  • jkaniajkania Posts: 42
    I just got my LT a few weeks ago. I have a 70lb dog. I bought a 30" wide runner carpet 6' long. It is a heavy material, so the nails wont go thru. It also has a rubber backing, which helps keep it from sliding around. I just cut it to fit with a slot for the backrest hinge. I didn'r cover the backrest, figuring it would be easy to wipe down the way it is. I have a graphite interior, and bought an almost black runner. It doesn't look too bad.
  • idahoanidahoan Posts: 13
    My experience with leather was a good one, after we had taken several long vacation trips in our 1st leather equipped vehicle. After the day's drive we didn't feel as tired and sore as when we had taken the same trips in the same style vehicle with cloth seats. So on our ordered out 00 F350 Crew Cab, we ordered it with the leather seats for the long drive comfort. We also have a 75lb Siberian Husky that sheds like crazy in the spring time, so the clean up is easier to deal with, in my opinion.
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Posts: 765
    I never liked leather for all of the reasons given above. I am now completely spoiled - I have Connolly leather in my Jaguar XJ-S and wouldn't change it for the world - it is the most wonderful car seat I have ever experienced. The a/c rapidly cools the car which makes the heat issue bearable and the seat is heated in winter.

    That said, I can't ever see leather in any truck of mine - it just isn't practical. I always have cloth in any vehicle that the dogs get near - Alaskan Malamutes own the record for the dog that sheds most so clean up can be a challenge. I always, always, get the cloth Scotchgarded when I buy and usually use an old towel or blanket if any of them are sitting on seats.
  • RichinKsRichinKs Posts: 416
    We have tried a number of covers on the rear cloth seats of our 97 chevy extended cab and our Irish Setter manages to get hair everywere including under the covers. Covering the seats keeps out the dirt but not the hair. And it doesn't matter whether I use my home vac or vac at a car wash, the hair sticks to the cloth seat. Its not a slick cloth but the more expensive on a silverado kind of fuzzy.
    The best thing I've found for removing the hair is the masking tape rollers about 4 inches wide. But the tape must be changed about every 5 seconds of rolling as it fills up fast with hair. I am hoping the hair will not stick to the leather and will vacum up. Failing that I would think a damp cloth would be able to get it up. I don't use my truck for dirty hauling but clean heavy or large capacity hauling. So for my purposes leather is as practical as it would be for a car. Besides, leather should clean easier, at least as I remember in my 70 Dodge Charger SE the last and only vehicle I ever owned with leather with two small children at the time. Sure was easy wiping up after they spit up or whatever on the seat. Remember rear seats of pickups are imitation leather. I would think a child car seat would be harder on the seat than my dog with the car seat constantly rubbing in one spot. I guess time will tell. That is if I ever get my truck.
  • nargnarg Posts: 113
    Bull! Try buying a top of the line vehicle without leather! Impossible. More and more cars and trucks are being built with leather seating. I don't mind leather, but prefer the durability of cloth. Test drove an Impala last week with leather, nice. But still, I'd buy cloth if given (IF!) the option.

    But, hey, if you don't like leather, the car companies will make sure to spend tons of advertizing money to convince you differently.
  • Our 1990 Sable Wagon has leather seats - look like new after 180K, but cold on the rear in Manitoba winter.

    My 1984 Volvo Wagon is still running with cloth seats that look like new, despite all sorts of kids, etc. - but Volvo used a really good quality fabric.

    Would rather sit on cloth but leather way easier to clean. Animals probably need leather.
    Do they still make vinyl or whatever it's called? Our 1969 Olds Cutlass had that, and went almost 400K and 25 years without a split in the seats.

    Personal preference.
  • I have a car with leather seats and a 50 pound dog that sheds incredibly year round (although she only rides in the car occasionally). I have not had any problems with tearing of the leather because of her nails. In the house I use the new "Swiffer" cloths (just the cloths) to pick up the dog hair - I find that these work MUCH better than a wet cloth and they are disposable.

    If you decide to go with the cloth seats, I have seen a listing in one of the catalogs that I receive (I will keep looking for it, I was unable to put my hands on it for this message) a cover that is specially made to protect auto seats from pet hair/dirt. It is a satiny looking quilted material that has elasticized corners but does not require a "custom" fit as it is larger than most seats (comes in bench or bucket), the excess gets tucked in.

    I haven't checke Petsmart but someplace like that may carry this item.
  • The durability is not a question, although I admit that while hanging on the back of a bike, twistin in the wind and sun and snow and other elements may not be the most pleasant way for leather to exist and can cause more than average durability problems.

    Are we really talking about motorcycle saddle bags here?

    Nope.... We are talking about the comfort of the interior seating of fine autos/trucks. On that point I have something thoughts to add.

    Think of what other uses leather has....

    Cows like it just fine.... keeps em warm in winter and cool in summer...

    Same with pigs, goats, and sheep...

    The finest shoes are 100% leather, why? so your feet can breathe... Ever notice how those cheap Walmart (vinyl/cloth) tennis shoes make your feet perspire?

    Ever see a "real" biker wear synthetic boots?
    Nope, they wear leather boots...and they pay dearly for them...

    Good leather seats will allow your body to breathe by allowing moisture to wick away from your back,legs, rear...etc...Yes, Leather actually breathes and has capillary qualities.

    I live in Florida, admittedly not the coldest place in the lower 48 states. But the summers can be brutal! Leather seats don't make me any hotter than cloth of a hot day. Vinyl on the other hand.... THATS a different story...

    While evaluating this discussion, try to be sure that comments made about the heat generating properties of leather are not based on cheap vinyl experiences. I never saw a vinyl cow, pig, sheep or goat... And I bet that the real animals miss they're skins....

    Personally, I appreciate the sacrifice that those noble cows made so that I can be comfortable and increase my re-sale value to boot...
  • lyterlyter Posts: 3
    Sometimes you can learn from others experiences. I offer this only in that context, something to consider. I took delivery on a 1500LT xcab three weeks ago. The highback leather seat is killing me. The seat, if you are unaware of its appearance, has a protrusion at the lower end of the vertical back. This protrusion is below the Lumbar section and above the point the vertical back meets the horizontal seat. As a result of this disaster, there is no lower back/tailbone support. I'm good for about 50 miles before its get out or pass out. Of course, as fate would have it, now that I've taken delivery on the truck, I find my complaint is a common one. Everyone, save one, that I have talked too complains about the seat. So far this has amounted to twenty people or so. I am six foot six inches and weigh 260, the non-complainer was on the short side, so maybe back length has something to do with the lack of comfort. There is a local seat repair place that does warranty work for Chevy, Ford, Dodge, etc. The establishment is new in the area, relocated from New Jersey. The owner tells me the problem is common. He say's he used to do between three and five seat adjustments a week in New Jersey. The usual case is several visits before something, if ever, is accomplished that you can live with. At present, I have been back five times...with Monday as the next adjustment. The seat itself could not be constructed in a cheaper manner. Chevy does not use springs anymore, a series of wire and foam padding constitutes what the seat repair folks tell me is as cheap as you can get...hard to work with for any decent comfort, and with a probable total value of about $100 a seat. The leather seat back and seat itself come off like a slipcover, the backing of the vertical seat is 1/4 inch cardboard. That's right folks, just like cardboard boxes everywhere. Don't get me wrong folks, I'm a Chevy guy from day one, having gone through many new trucks, several cars, and two Corvettes. Never had this sort of problem before. Customer Service at GM reacted in a predictable manner: "What!!!, why we never heard of such a thing!!", sorry we can't help you out under warranty...good luck and thanks for buying Chevy. This new truck seems to be a fine piece of machinery...whose seat sucks. One other observation, dealing with internet people in buying your Truck, i.e. buy it here and I'll have it dropped off there for you...for that $300 to $500 over invoice does save bucks and is fine if you don't have any problems later. When problems appear, you will soon find yourself swinging in the wind. Hope I've helped some, you need all the info you can get before you invest the big bucks necessary these days for that new rig. In the meantime, I'll just be here making another trip to the seat adjustment folks...and swinging in the wind.
  • I am about to buy a new chevy ext cab ls w/leather. does this problem exist with the cloth seats also??? I am 6'6" also and do not need another back issue. Have had bad back for years dont need anything to make it worse! please advise.
  • jkaniajkania Posts: 42
    I'm 6'6" also. I have a 00 LT. Compared to my old '85 bench seat, this is heaven. It adjusts so many ways, it will take you a while to find the right adjustment. And if your riding for a long time, a minor adjustment and it feels good again. I haven't been in any other trucks to compare seats, just know I'm happy with these.
  • russell11russell11 Posts: 5
    I have enjoyed my black leather in the desert! Good dark window tint and a good a/c helps. And with young kids it cleans up better than cloth. Try Lexol cleaner and protector. As for dogs my German (sheader) Shepherd has not caused any damage with her weight or claws. The dog hair now all clings to the dash and the carpet.
    As for new GM seats I am 6-foot and have not had any comfort problems, the beat the seats in the older 1988 C/K. I had a company truck a 96 Ford Ranger with buckets and those next to any Toyota seat are the most uncomfortable.
Sign In or Register to comment.