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Leather Seats

pearl2000pearl2000 Member Posts: 12
edited March 2014 in BMW
I have a 2002 320i - black leather interior seats. Last week I noticed a light white mark on the drivers seat - almost like a paint smudge. I tried to clean it off with a store bought car leather cleaner with no effect. I don't think it's actually paint since I haven't sat in any paint lately. I really have no idea what it could be. Any suggestions on other ways to clean it off?


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Whatever you decide upon, be sure to do two things:

    1. Test the cleaner you plan to use on some out of the way place on the leather.

    2. DO NOT RUB too hard, you'll discolor it.

    Are you sure you haven't scratched through the hide?
  • pearl2000pearl2000 Member Posts: 12
    Thanks for the advice - Its not scratched through the hide. There is no change in the texture of how the leather feels. What it looks like is that someone put white paint on their finger and drew a line and then whiped it off right away leaving just the white paint in the grain of the leather. It's not too noticeable (expect to me) and so I see it all the time and it bugs me!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I guess it depends what it is. Leather is an organic material or course and can absorb the stain so you really have to be careful about solvents. Fortunately your interior is black. I suppose you could start with a Lexol cleaner and see what happens. I'd be inclined to test out a hidden area with toothpaste and a Q-tip.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    you could also use shoe polish to cover it up. be advised that comes with a recommendation for dark pants, because the shoe polish will scuff off on your duff eventually....
  • pearllypearlly Member Posts: 5
    I went to the new BMW dealer in my neighbourhood -they got the stain out in about 30 seconds and gave me a free car wash to take off all the winter salt and grime! To me service is one of the things that sets BMW apart.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    a premium product should come with premium service. glad you got your issues resolved nicely.
  • mxpro738mxpro738 Member Posts: 59
    Has anyone here elected to buy their 3 with leatherette seats? Regrets? Downsides? Are they made out of vinyl? Are they hotter in the summer than leather (leather breathes)?

  • kominskykominsky Member Posts: 850
    I have a 330Ci with black 'ette in it. Having two young children (and a dog who would only go in the car in an emergency), I opted for leatherette. In summer they do get hot. I can only assume that black leather would also get very hot. The seats are made of vinyl, but FWIW, almost every person who has been in my car makes a comment about the leather seats... maybe I just hang with an unsophisticated crowd. ;-)

    IMHO, the $1400 saved would be better spent on Bilstein coilovers or some other performance mod.

    I believe that if you pop over to the 3-series board and post the same questions, you will find a large number of BMW drivers who share my views on this.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    most leather cars I have had the opportunity to read the manuals on, the seating surfaces are leather, and everything else is made from the noble Nauga or his long-suffering relatives.
  • chile96chile96 Member Posts: 330
    I'm about a week away from purchasing an '03 325i and am torn on the seat covering decision. At first, it was leather only but am amazed at the 'ette style and feel. Do they not last as long, fade, etc......? Anybody heard? Thanks!
  • bgt1bgt1 Member Posts: 50
    One thing to consider is resell value. Stating it has 'leather seats' is a much bigger selling factor than if it doesnt.

    Same goes for the moonroof. You might never use it but when it comes time to sell it EVERYONE wants to have one, esp when they consider a BMW as a luxury or near-luxury car.
  • malomkermalomker Member Posts: 2
    Chile96, the leatherette actually lasts longer and requires less maintenance than leather. The only issue is resale value...if you are leasing or plan to drive it until the wheels fall off then I'd skip the $1400 leather option.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Most people can't tell the difference and I agree, the leatherette probably will be more durable--of course, if you are fastidious in taking care of the leather interior, and don't have kids and dogs (who will absolutely positively ruin it), then you may get many good years from a leather interior.

    Probably the biggest downside of leather is that should you require major replacement panels, this is shockingly expensive.
  • randomguy11111randomguy11111 Member Posts: 39
    Occasionally the Audi or BMW leatherette (or sometimes really good fake wood) will fool an unwitting auto reviewer as well - that is how good it can be.

    I guess it would be unethical to lie about it when selling it. But you could always put an ad in the paper and let people look for themselves and see it...

    But can you get leatherette and cold weather package? Personally, used car buyers seem to want leather, moonroof, and heated seats in that order.
  • chile96chile96 Member Posts: 330
    Just realized that the color interior I want, gray, only comes in leather. So much for saving $1400.
  • 03honda03honda Member Posts: 96
    Is it ok to use the same leather conditioner I use for the leather furniture in my home on my car's seats, or do I need to buy something different? Thanks!
  • chile96chile96 Member Posts: 330
    Just recently I was asking about caring for leather around some leather "expert" stores in Houston and they informed me the best way to care for leather, either car interior or home furnishings, is to wash 1 or 2 times a year with saddle soap and then apply a specific type of leather conditioner, I believe they said "lexol" was the best. They said to avoid most store bought brand conditioners including those used at the car wash as they simply coat the surface and trap grease/dirt. The grease is the thing that supposedly ruins the leather quickest. Hope this hodgepodge of info helps - I am even confusing myself as I type!

    Good luck.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Member Posts: 2,021
    Most home leather furniture is not clearcoated. If you spill liquids on it the leather will absorb it. Since its not clearcoated its OK to use saddle soaps, hide food, and various conditioners. Just be careful with most of these products and test them on a hidden part in case they stain or discolor the leather.

    In most cars the leather is clearcoated to provide UV protection. Dribble some water drops on your seat; it should bead up. If so, you've got clearcoated leather. Stuff like saddle soap and hide food are unnecessary for auto leather. Use a leather cleaner made for cars, not horse tack. Personally I like the products made by Pinnacle and Eagle One. Lexol is fine but know that its formulated more for unclearcoated leather.
  • bimmerwagginbimmerwaggin Member Posts: 3
    I just used Lexol products last week to clean and condition the grey leather on my year-old 325. I was very impressed with both the cleaner and conditioner.

    My leather is now much softer, and the areas on the bolsters that had darkened somewhat were gently but thoroughly cleaned.

    Lexol also doesn't leave any oily or greasy feel. You should let it dry an hour or two before using the car.

    I also did the inserts on the doors, but I'm really not sure if they're leather or not. I know that the seatbacks are not leather, but it's hard to tell exactly what the door inserts are made from.

    Anyone know if the inserts on a 2002 325 are leather, or vinyl? (On models with the leather option, of course).
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Member Posts: 5,751
    I have used a number of cleaners over the years. Right now I'm using the Lexol products. With the sand interior I find the leather does get dirty and the Lexol products do the trick on the seats. I use the Lexol conditioner only on the steering wheel.

    I use Armorall or equivalent on the non-leather surfaces such the dash, and doors. I don't know if there is any leather or not on the doors and I know silicone eventually destroys leather.
  • akhbhaatakhbhaat Member Posts: 2
    I've got tan leatherette in my 323. All of my cars have had leather, this is the first with a synthetic substitute, and the shocking (or perhaps not) part is that vinyl leatherette in my BMW looks and feels better than the actual leather in my previous Ford Mustang. Absolutely everybody is fooled into thinking it's real, and absolutely everybody thinks I clean it every other day. Neither is true. :)

    $1400 well saved.
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