How to reupholster car seats

Updated April 17, 2017

Chances are, if you take care of your automobile, your upholstery will give out long before your engine decides to call it quits. In that case, you may want to replace the fabric on the seats. This is known as reupholstering. Professionals will charge outrageous sums for this job, but you can do it yourself.

Remove the seats from your car. Whether you have bucket seats or a bench seat, every car will require a different removal method. Use a flashlight to look under the seat for a series of large bolts fastening the seat to the frame. Remove these bolts and the seats should come out.

Take the fabric off the seat frame gently. You want as much of the ruined upholstery to stay intact as possible so you can create a new pattern for your seats. Most upholstery will be fastened via a series of staples around the base, so remove these. Also pay attention to how the seat fits together.

Lay your old seat material flat on large sheets of paper. Trace around each piece to create a pattern from which you can make new seats. If your upholstery is in such bad shape that there are gaps in the pattern, use your imagination to fill in the remainder.

Lay these patterns over the new material and cut them out accordingly. Hold each individual piece up next to the original to make sure you did not miss any important aspects of each seat.

Apply the new material in the same manner that the original was attached to the seat. This will most likely mean using staples. Replace the seats in the car and ratchet them tightly to the frames.

Things You'll Need

  • Ratchet set
  • Scissors
  • New seat material
  • Upholstery stapler
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