The Best Automotive Upholstery Repair
Whether you need to repair your car upholstery because you want to restore a classic car, or because the interior of your car is just very ratty, you may need a little guidance if you don’t know what you are doing.
The upholstery in older cars, in particular, was installed with the assumption that they would last for a long time, but that is not always the case. Even newer cars may need their upholstery repaired because of accidents that happen within the interior of the car.
Repairing the upholstery in your car interior may also be harder to do if you are not sure what kind of materials you are working with. The right tools may also be needed to remove, repair, and install new upholstery into the car, and maybe a hefty investment in itself. Sometimes, it may simply be wiser to have a professional do the job for you, but when there isn’t one in your area, a little do-it-yourself skill may prove to be useful.
Getting Started Repairing Your Car Upholstery
Before even getting started on the upholstery in your car, you should first gauge the kind, as well as the amount of work that needs to be done. A proper evaluation will also help you determine the total amount of money you will need to spend on the entire repair job, allowing you to plan your expenses and total work accordingly.
Here are some things you should look for when inspecting your car upholstery for repairs:
Seats – Much of the upholstery found on your seats may need repairs because of constant use by passengers. If you constantly use your ride to transport large amounts of people every day, then the car seats may experience a lot of wear and tear. Look for new seat covers made for your car model in particular, or have some custom made if stores do not carry any.
Carpeting – Since this is where people will step on as soon as they enter the car, your carpets may be the first piece of upholstery that needs repairing. Ready-made carpets are available in nearly every automotive store around, or you can also have them custom made to your own preferences.
Dashboard – Constant exposure to sunlight, UV rays, and even the stuff you put on the dashboard may wear out the upholstery that covers it. If you start to see prominent scuff marks, scratches, and cracks, it might be a good idea to start repairing the upholstery. This may be one of the hardest places to perform repairs, however, even with aftermarket parts made specifically for your car’s dashboard.
Headliner – The upholstery on your headliner can be a lot like your car seats, but can be more expensive to install properly. You may even have to remove your windshield to perform a headliner repair, so try to get this done by a professional if funds allow.
Interior Paneling – The panels on your doors and sides may also be made from soft upholstery which is subject to constant wear and tear. A lot of common door panels are typically attached to the car by screws or easy-access clip systems, so determine if you can get these parts from your car dealer or auto shop.
DIY Upholstery Repair
Once you have determined the amount of work that needs to be done to your car, it’s time to get to work. Get all the tools you might need in order to perform the actual repair work; be it a screwdriver to remove interior panels, wrenches, cutters, and some strong adhesive to make sure the upholstery sticks to your car well. Here are some general step-by-step instructions for repairing your car upholstery:
Layout all the tools, replacement parts, and other things you need to get started on the upholstery repair. This can include snacks and drinks to keep your energy up when you take a break.
Remove the things that need to be repaired from your car, if possible. This includes anything with upholstery that needs fixing; your seats, door panels, carpets, and even your dashboard. This is to ensure nothing else in the car is damaged during the repair process. You can also try removing everything in your car except the thing that needs repairing.
Once you have the part removed from the car, get side-by-side with your tools, and start removing the upholstery from the part. This may take a little elbow grease and patience, even if you have the proper tools on hand already. If you are removing the seat covers from a car seat, also take note of where each and every part you remove came from, so installation may go smoother.
If the upholstery you removed was held to the part by way of adhesives, then you may notice plenty of excess after removal. The excess adhesive will either already be very dry, or still sticky, depending on the kind of adhesive used. Try to remove the entire excess adhesive as best as you can before installing new upholstery.
After removing the upholstery from a car, installation should be fairly straightforward with drop-in parts made for your car. If you are replacing upholstery that is not made for your car or intended as a drop-in replacement, then more work may have to be done; you may have to apply adhesives to the newly-stripped part, apply the upholstery, and wait for it to dry.