It’s a timeless debate, should you upgrade a car to a leather interior? At Steve’s Detailing, we know that when it comes to the vehicles we drive, comfort and style are rather important to most of us. We want to feel good slipping into the driver’s seat. Of course, no matter what side of the fence you fall on, you can rest assured that we’ll take great care of your cloth or leather interior, as well as your vehicle’s exterior. Our detailing and hand car wash services provide long-lasting beauty and value.
So, leather interior or cloth, let’s look at some of the comparisons below.
LEATHER INTERIOR PROS
- Looks and feels luxurious
- Smells rich
- Soft and supple to sit on
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Great resale value
- May upgrade the status quo among friends and family
- Choices between faux, brushed, top grain and Nappa leather
LEATHER INTERIOR CONS
- Can be expensive, depending on the grade
- Not very “green” or “animal-friendly” after all, it is made from a cow’s hide
- Hot, sweaty and sticky in the summer, and cold to the bone frigid in winter, unless you have a heated seat option
- Will show wear quickly if not regularly maintained; sweat is a big problem for staining and odors
- Can crack, dry and split if left to the elements, leather needs to be cleaned and detailed properly
- Absorbs heat; with windows closed, temperatures can reach incredible heights
- Worn out leather seats don’t look very attractive
- Some manufacturers only use real leather on the top part of the seat; the sides are usually vinyl or cheaper materials
- Limited color options
CLOTH INTERIOR PROS
- More affordable
- Comfortable, no sticking to your seat, sliding, freezing backside or hot thighs
- More breathable material
- Eco-friendly material available
- Velour, Suede/tricot blend of materials provides more comfort and cushioning and is stain-proof
- Low-maintenance; usually only requires a monthly vacuum or steam clean to maintain
- Lots of color choices whether solid or patterned
- Holds less heat on hot days
CLOTH INTERIOR CONS
- Stains are hard to remove; wiping with a rag will usually not do the job, so stain guard is a must
- Holds odors including foods, body sweat, pet odors, damp or wet carpet odors
- Not much for status quo; can look cheap
- Low resale value
- New car smell fades fast
- Allergies-galore! Pet dander and odors stay put in cloth seats
What it all boils down to, is what suits your tastes. Most of us have our favorite picked out from the first car we ever owned; so, the choice is easy. Fortunately, with today’s technologies, the options are getting better and better. Auto upholstery fabrics and materials are more allergy-friendly and less toxic to our bodies. Even if you have your mind set, weigh out the options. You may be pleasantly surprised with the savings and new technologies.
A WORD ON VINYL SEATS
Vinyl is a newcomer in the world of seat material, the in-between option for those who can’t decide what’s better, cloth or leather interiors. During the 1950s, vinyl became a leading material in car upholstery. Since then, the quality of vinyl has vastly improved, looking and feeling so leather-like, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference! Vinyl has advantages over leather, too. It can be as much as 25% less expensive and comes in a wider range of colors and patterns. The cleaning of vinyl fabric is super easy, and over time it holds up well, maintaining both its structure and color. It’s more forgiving than cloth and leather when wet; stains are much easier to resolve as well.
New manufacturing technologies include leather-like patterns and special coatings, making modern vinyl almost indistinguishable from real leather options. Vinyl will not stretch like leather but you will still get the same hot and cold weather issues that leather has. Poor resale values, lack of prestige, and not being very “green” all follow vinyl around.
Obviously, this is largely based on the type and size of vehicle you buy. In general, you will most definitely pay more for the leather interior across the board. Cloth seats are considered standard equipment and cost the consumer less money than opting for the upgraded leather seats. Most non-leather materials made of fabrics are easy to create in factory and cost less to install.
Leather seats, take a long time to create because the hide has to be cleaned of hair, salted, tanned, dyed, and dried, all of which can take weeks. Higher quality leathers will take longer to prepare but will offer a softer feel and have more leather grain in the material. Some of the top-quality leathers can take nearly a year to cure, depending on the tanning method. Leather seats are most often upgrades and expensive.
KATZKINS SEATS: WHAT ARE THEY?
Well, they are yet another alternative to consider. This is an aftermarket upholsterer that could help you get leather seats more affordably than the absurdly priced upgrades charged at dealerships. A California company called Katzkin is one of the best-known names, and they offer leather upholstery kits as an alternative to your dilemma. According to Katzkin, their kit costs a lot less, for results comparable to, or even better than original leather seats. Katzkin’s kits are not seat covers, but rather, certified installers that will remove the original upholstery, and some of the hardware, and replace it with leather that has a very precise, secure fit, just like the factory. They meet original safety specs for airbag testing, include a three-year warranty, and in most cases, are even better than the original factory seats purchased. These seats will significantly increase your resale value, much like a leather interior.
At Steve’s Detailing, it doesn’t matter what’s better, cloth or leather interior. We will get any stains, odors, and grime off regardless of your choice of interior material. Our professional team and a host of professional products will ensure you leave our shop with your like-new vehicle. Professional car detailing will significantly improve the longevity of your vehicle’s interior, and provide you with years of enjoyment too!