Caring for Auto and Bike upholsteryAuto Interiors: Know your common wear areas to prevent them.

I really want to help people learn from my experience so they can prevent the most common damages I see to leather goods.  When it comes to auto interiors, this is especially true.  I can close my eyes as I walk up to your car window and guess within 3 tries where any wear, punctures, stains or scratches will exist on the upholstery.  So here are some pix of those most common wear areas.  Hopefully my experience and a little extra TLC will help you to prevent these damages.  

Driver bolster peeling, cracking, discoloration and tearing.


Here is one of the most common wear issues I see with automotive leather.  The driver bolser becomes worn and discolored.  It’s just the clearcoat and colorcoat coming off the leather.  Then the leather underneath is exposed and breaks down pretty quickly.  It’s an easy fix for a leather pro but I think you can do a few things to prevent it.  

  • Condition/ protect the area regularly.  Once a month, maybe twice in a hot summer, will do. 
  • Try to be careful of smashing too hard against this area when you sit down and get up.  Especially watch belt buckles and sharp objects.
  • If you do see the start of this type of wear, get it fixed.  If it is fixed early it won’t break down to the point of cracking and tearing.

Cigarette Burns in the seat, door or headliner

  • Cigarette burns are still probably my most common damage.
  • Don’t exactly know how to prevent them cause I don’t smoke.  Any smokers got ideas, you can e-mail them to me and I’ll post it on this article.


Dye Transfer to seats, armrests and console


  • I often see dark blue or black that has stained a light colored leather seat or vinyl armrest. 
  • I believe the most common cause for this is when you get caught in a rainstorm, your clothes get wet and you sit down or rest your arm on the leather.  If the clothes are new enough then the wet fabric can transfer dye to the seat. 
  • Another cause for this can be the dye from a leather belt or bag transfering to the leather seat. 
  • The problem here is there is no easy way to clean off dye transfer.  Even a strong cleaner like Denatured Alcohol will rarely take out this dye.
  • It can be removed and redyed by a pro but better idea is to remeber if your wet be careful on your light leather seats.


Punctures in door panels or mostly back seats


  • Next most commonly, I see lots of puncture like tears on mostly door panels and back seat surfaces. 
  • I think it’s when something is tossed into the car.  In fact i know it can be cause I tore the door panel on the family mini-van once using it to haul lumber from the Home Depot.  It can also be tools, furniture or other bulky items.
  • So, toss carefully, use blankets or get a pick-up truck.  I know i need one.

So there’s a list of the most common damages I see in auto upholstery.  Sure all of it can be fixed but it’d be nice if it doesn’t happen in the first place.  So here’s hoping we learn from these tips.