How to recover car seat upholstery

Updated February 21, 2017

The upholstery on car seats protects the seats and offers a comfortable surface for the passengers to sit on. Due to constant use and wear, car seat upholstery will eventually need to be replaced or recovered. A car owner has two choices. Seat covers can be made by hand and installed in place of the old upholstery or a seat cover can be purchased and applied over the top of the old upholstery. Both approaches are straightforward and improve the interior of the car.

Measure the various dimensions of the car seats that need new upholstery, using a tape measure. Select a fabric that meets your colour and pattern preferences but is durable. Purchase enough fabric to cover all seats.

Remove all the car seats by using a wrench and carefully lifting them out of the car. The Monkey Fighter website explains that car seat upholstery is secured to the underside of the seats with metal hog rings. Remove the hog rings and use a stitch picker to disassemble the old car seat fabric.

Lay all the old car seat upholstery pieces on the piece of new fabric and trace the pieces. Cut out the new portions of the seat cover with scissors. Turn the material inside out and join the pieces of fabric using sewing pins.

Attach all the portions of the new seat cover together using a sewing machine. Once the cover is sewn together completely, turn the seat cover over so the outside it visible. Position the new seat cover on the car seat.

Slide the upper portion of the seat cover in place and securely attach the lower portion of the seat cover to the underside of the seat using the metal hog rings. Place the seat back into the car and use a wrench to tighten the bolts that hold the seat in place.

Purchase ready-made seat covers if making them is not an option. The Seat Covers website explains to remove the head rest from the seat before installing the new seat cover. Slide the seat cover over the top portion of the seat until it is firmly in place.

Pull the remainder of the seat cover forward so that it covers the lower portion of the seat. The new cover will be secured to the underside of the seat using the hooks that were provided. Ready-made seat covers are designed to fit snugly and be installed directly over the old upholstery.

Cut two small slits in the top of the seat covers so the head rests can be reinstalled.

Things You'll Need

  • Seat fabric
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Stitch picker
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Wrench and socket set
  • Replacement seat cover
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About the Author

Shannon Johnson has been a freelance writer since 2008, specializing in health and organic and green-living topics. She practiced law for five years before moving on to work in higher education. She writes about what she lives on a daily basis.