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Leather vs Cloth Seats



  • gussguss Posts: 1,181
    Reading through this thread, I get the impression that some folks are serving their kids fondue and candy apples and fried clams in the back seat!

    You obviously never had a kid throw up in your car. When my daughter was a toddler she did in my brand new car. Not to get too graphic, but the leather cleaned up easily, what made it thru the crack in the seats to the carpet, not so easily.

    My preference is leather, but it has to be heated. I added an after market heater this winter. Best thing I have ever added on to a car.
  • Always glad to see thoughtful replies like Mike's and nj2pa2nc. German automakers (Audi, BMW, Mercedes, VW) have offered very satisfactory vinyl interiors for years... heated seats and all. True, vinyl and typical cloth are synthetics, and not great from an environmental standpoint. Easy to argue that cattle methane production and other ancillary aspects are detrimental, too. I struggle to make humane AND environmentally sensitive decisions. If I have to choose, I choose humane options. Leather is arguably more profitable than meat now, so neither is exactly a benign by-product of the other. Today's factory farm pace doesn't put animal welfare as a top priority, and consumers... good people... don't demand change when they don't know it's needed. I'm convinced of the harm being done, so I place the burden on the industry to prove otherwise. But I'm just one guy, and in the minority. There's so much more to this, but I won't clutter this thread any more. Just know that leather isn't just a material.
  • mikes2mikes2 Posts: 47
    Goodsteward, I agree with you about the "pleather" interiors offered by Audi, et al. They are very hard to tell apart! I wish others would offer them too - while I like leather for all sorts of reasons, my overwhelming desire is to keep the car clean, and vinyl would do just as well as leather. I would happily choose vinyl over leather and save the money (at least for now while the kids are in the back!). That said, I would want to test them out on a hot summer's day, after they've been sitting in the lot for a good while in the sun. I will never forget the black, vinyl seats of the '67 Mustang that was our "family" car when I was a kid (go figure how my Dad persuaded my Mom that a Mustang coupe was a family car. Ironically enough, she drove it more than him!). Some days, it was simply impossible to get into the car if you didn't bring a towel along. I remember my Mom usually had a store of spare towels in the trunk for guests :D


  • Wife has a 2004 VW Touareg V6. Great luxury vehicle, though its dismal fuel mileage makes it a poor environmental choice (and she failed to tell me about the leather steering wheel and shift knob, which show plenty of wear). But the heated "leatherette" seats have been great. Easy to clean, and in perfect shape after (3) years with (4) 60-lb dogs all over them. But even stubborn Georgia clay washes off my 2001 Golf turbo-diesel's (yes, diesel exhaust, but no animal suffering and ultimate slaughter) cloth seats. OK, now I'll stop...
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    Here is the pitch I used to sell a car with leather when I was on the sales floor and some one was hesitant to buy a car because of the upkeep on leather interior. It makes perfect sense to me.

    Folks, the myth about leather being hard to care for is just that, a myth. Think about it like this, where in your house would you prefer your kid to spill a cup of grape kool-aid? On the carpet in living room, or on the tile in the kitchen? The tile in the kitchen of course, it does not absorb like it does in the carpet and you can just wipe it up, no scrubbing or shampooing. Most people vacume there carpet 3 times a week and sweep there floor once a week, your carpet requires a machine for a deep cleaning, your tile floor requires a damp rag or mop. Same principal applies to the great leather and cloth seats debate. Leather is hands down the lowest maintanence of the two. And the time it takes for it to heat up in the winter and cool down in the summer is about 1/10 of time it takes to get a kool aid stain out of your cloth.

    And that does not even get into the whole thing about how cloth absorbs odors and smells while leather does not. Looks Better, Resale Value, yadda, yadda,yadda
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    I much rather leather over cloth. If your cloth seats have been around for a year, and you open the windows even once in a while, the dust will get into the cloth. Use a Rug Doctor, and you'll see what I mean. Cloth interior cars do not loose the "new car" smell, it is overcome by the smell of dirt in the seats. Leather is much easier to keep clean. Honda reccomends "Saddle Soap" and it works great. You can get it at the local feed store for $5.00/can, and it will last a long long time. Cloth will, sooner or later, require steam cleaning, and re-Scotch guarding, which cost much more than Saddle soap.
  • 0311vn0311vn Posts: 48
    Cars seats that have raised sides seem to be a universal item in all makes of cars. I'm told the raised sides of cars seats were designed for safety purposes to help keep passengers in place. On a cross country drive, I suffered extreme leg pain in one leg and hip from the pressure of the raised side of a seat. I suspect it maybe a sciatic nerve in my thigh that became inflammed.

    Is there a cushion design to fill the gap in car seats between the raised edges to provide a flat sitting surface? I don't know about most folks, but I miss bench seats and flat split-style front seats in cars.

    Are their ergonomic friendly replacement seats on the market?
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Bench seats, ugh!

    There are plenty of seat cushions on the market.
    However, if you are unable to find one that works, an automotive upholstery shop can custom make a cushion for you.
  • I feel like I'm the new guy here, but I am not new to the industry. First let me be the first to tell you where those lines come from. These are stress marks and are the first point of failure. There are treatments for this. These stress marks are from making the leather do something it's not wanting to do. Take your shirt up in your hands and get someone to help you, each hand on a corner. Now gently pull on just one corner, and watch how the shirt behaves. You may notice the material is developing a ripple in what is called the "Bias". Leather is stronger by far but when our rump makes contact with the seats the exact same way each time year after year, the bias stress marks appear. What to do ??? Clean it, and for goodness sake don't ever use Purple power in its full strength. For that matter in any strength. Use leather cleaner. Or you'll end up taking the dye right off!!! Now, Let me tell you what I do for a living. I am a forth generation seamster. Been doing upholstery for customers for over twenty years. Even if the money is right, I have on occasion refused to use leather because of my preference to vinyl. :)
  • Same here: the current bucket seat design that include raised cushion edge and permanent back tilt are the worst... I had a lot of leg and back pain while driving my Nissan Murano'09 SL, which I originally liked very much... The problem is the pressure the east edge exerts on the sciatic nerve that runs along the leg and the hamstring... The older cars had much flatter bucket seat cushions, which alleviated that pressure... The modern bucket seat designs either move the seat fore and up or down and aft... There is no way to move the seat independently either up down or fore and aft... This limits the range of adjustment... Also, there is almost no way to adjust the back tilt beyond certain level, which is usually 25-30 degrees... Very uncomfortable to drive when your knees are raised above your hips...

    So, by worse the absolute worst car seats I have ever experiences were in Nissan Murano line-up from '09-'13... Just hate the un-adjustable back tilt, especially on leather upholstery (much more slippery and firm, creating pressure points on the hamstring and lower back--sliding backwards all the time)!
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