Maintaining The Leather in Your Vehicle

Red and white leather upholstery in a classic vintager vehicle.

For many, leather upholstery is considered the gold standard for a vehicle’s interior. Aesthetically, it presents an image of refined luxury over most cloth alternatives, but many vehicle owners also believe it’s easier to maintain. The truth is, leather maintenance isn’t as simple as a quick wipe down. Specific products must be used for safe cleaning and the material must be treated regularly to maintain the rich look and extend the leather’s life. Here are some things you should know before treating leather:

Most Vehicle Leather Upholstery and Surfaces Aren’t All Leather

Despite being marketed as leather, unless you’re making a high-end luxury purchase, the leather seats and surfaces will be supplemented with a faux material, usually vinyl or a protective resin. Often times, the seating area is the only section with real leather, while less costly vehicles use a synthetic substitute. With this in mind, care products don’t need to be the most expensive on the store shelves.

Cleaning Techniques

When cleaning leather, make sure you wipe out all the cracks and crevices by the seams. Dirt, sand and other debris can get stuck in the folds and seams of the leather and cause them to wear much quicker due to abrasion. Once the seats are clean it is important to protect the leather since it is exposed to the heat and harmful UV rays from the sun. A good protectant, like 303® Automotive Protectant, is formulated to provide powerful protection from the dangers of UV light and the cracking and premature aging that occurs as a result. It also works on mixed surfaces including vinyl, rubber, and plastic.

Despite Being a Natural Product, It’s Possible to Restore Leather

The sight of leather upholstery darkened with dirt and cracked from years of wear and tear and exposure to the elements, particularly the burning sun, may leave you thinking it needs to be completely replaced. However, leather is a natural material that can be restored. For removing a large buildup of dirt, most heavy duty products are up to the task but remember to dilute the product first and test on small, unseen areas to make sure your solution is strong enough, but not too harsh.

Leather can be a simple material to maintain — if you understand it. Whether it’s a luxury vehicle or any other recreational vehicle, the two key steps of maintenance are regular cleaning and applying a protectant to extend the life of your upholstery. 303 Automotive Protectant offers the best protection for leather upholstery both because of its versatile use on multiple surface types and its formula that’s designed to protect against the elements. Using this product will preserve the quality of your leather upholstery for years beyond the original purchase date.

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