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About Leather Car Seats

Updated April 17, 2017

Should you choose a car that has leather seats? The answer depends on a number of factors, the most important being an individual's budget, personal preferences and taste.
Leather car seats typically cost significantly more than those made of cloth. Many auto buyers see this as a desirable indication of luxury, but others don't care for leather seats due to a variety of reasons. A car buyer who purchases a vehicle with cloth car seats also can decide later to install leather seat covers.

History

The process of creating leather materials from the hides of cattle is one of mankind's most ancient industries. When the first autos began rolling off U.S. assembly lines in the early 1900s, they featured leather car seats. But as the number of newly made vehicles rose to 500,000 annually by 1916, manufacturers began using waterproof cloth on car seats due to a scarcity of leather. Today's car buyers can choose seats made out of leather, cloth or vinyl.

Benefits

Properly maintained leather seats improve the appearance of an auto's interior and add to a used vehicle's resale value. Once broken in, leather seats usually are more comfortable than other fabrics. Leather car seats also are more resistant to stains and allergens than cloth seats.

Considerations

There are drawbacks to leather car seats that should be considered: Leather car seats can be hot and sticky in summer heat and they also feel colder than their cloth counterparts on winter mornings. To maintain an appealing appearance, leather car seats must be regularly conditioned. * Some people object to leather seats because they don't condone the slaughtering of animals for their hides. They also have concerns about the chemicals used to treat leather.

Prevention/Solution

Leather car seats must be carefully maintained to prevent damaging cracks from forming. Using a sun blocker in the auto's windshield is recommended when parked in direct sunlight. Leaving the windows slightly cracked to moderate the temperature inside your car on hot summer days also is a good idea. The regular application of conditioners will keep leather car seats looking and feeling soft and supple.

Potential

A vast variety of high-quality leather seat covers can be installed in vehicles with factory-made cloth seats. Besides enhancing the appearance of a vehicle's interior, snugly fitting leather seat covers will protect the original fabric from wear and tear.

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About the Author

Kirk Brown is an award-winning freelance writer with two decades of diverse media experience. A former newspaper reporter and editor, he also was managing editor of an acclaimed scuba diving magazine. Brown has written scripts for more than 50 half-hour TV programs focusing on technology and health topics.