How to Repair a Tear in a Leather Car Seat

Written by larry simmons
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How to Repair a Tear in a Leather Car Seat
Keep your leather car seat looking pristine by repairing tears in the leather as soon as they appear. (convertible car interior image by Christopher Dodge from

Leather car seats can last years without damage, given proper maintenance. As long as you keep the leather moisturised, you'll have few issues with drying or cracking. Unfortunately, even the best maintained leather seats may still develop tears. Repairing these tears yourself is possible with the use of a leather repair kit, which contains everything you'll need to repair a tear of any size, restoring the beauty of your leather seat for a fraction of the cost of a professional.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Mild liquid facial or body soap
  • Water
  • Clean cloths
  • Leather repair kit
  • Scissors
  • Palette knife
  • Fine sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Find a repair kit containing a colourant that matches the colour of your leather seats. Repair kits can be purchased at an auto parts store.

  2. 2

    Clean the leather surrounding the tear with mild liquid facial or body soap. Place a dime-sized amount of soap in the centre of a damp rag and work it into a lather. Wipe the torn area with the lathered soap, removing any dirt from the surface. Rinse the soap from the seat using a second dampened rag, then pat the area dry with a lint-free cloth.

  3. 3

    Examine the edges of the tear for the level of damage. If the edges are cleanly torn, repair can proceed. If the edges are ragged, or curl outward, cut off the ragged or curled edge with a pair of scissors so that the flat of the tear can be placed against the repair backing.

  4. 4

    Place the canvas backing cloth from the repair kit beneath the tear in the seat by lifting an edge of the tear and sliding half of the backing beneath. Lift the other edge and slide the second half beneath that edge as well. Center the canvas piece beneath the tear so that all edges lie on the backing piece.

  5. 5

    Spread a thin layer of the adhesive from the repair kit onto the bottom edges of the tear with a palette knife. Press the edges against the backing piece and glue them into place.

  6. 6

    Use the palette knife to spread the leather filler from the repair kit to the backing canvas between the torn edges. Build up the filler in layers until it slightly overlaps the leather seat. Allow each layer of filler to dry completely according to the time suggested by the manufacturer.

  7. 7

    Sand the last filler layer until you achieve a smooth, continuous surface with the surrounding leather on the seat.

  8. 8

    Wipe away the filler residue left from sanding with a clean cloth and apply the repair kit colourant to the surface of the filler. Rub the colourant on using a cloth until you have solid coverage on the filler that matches the colour of your leather car seat. Allow the colourant to dry completely to the touch.

  9. 9

    Cover the repair site with a coat of leather seal to protect the repaired tear from damage. Rub the seal on with a cloth until the area shines slightly. Allow the sealant to dry before using the seat.

Tips and warnings

  • Substitute a larger canvas cloth purchased from a fabric or art supply store if the tear is too large for the canvas backing cloth in the leather repair kit.

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