The Best Materials for Auto Upholstery

Written by kristie brown
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The Best Materials for Auto Upholstery
Car upholstery comes in a variety of materials. (convertible car interior image by Christopher Dodge from

Whether you are looking to purchase a classic family sedan, replacing the upholstery in your extended cab pickup truck or recovering the seats in a super-sleek sports car, the type of fabric you buy depends on the style of the car and your personal taste. The good news is that you have myriad of options from which to choose.

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One of the most popular materials for car upholstery, cloth is a frequently chosen fabric because of its affordability. Cloth upholstery typically consists of a woven, durable fabric made of a synthetic fibre or blend. Before the seats are upholstered, treat the fabric to resist stains and to withstand constant wear from people entering and exiting the seats. Classic car owners may notice that heavy wool was a typical auto upholstery of the time. Cloth auto upholstery also comes in a variety of weaves, textures and designs, allowing for choices between a classic woven tweed or a trendy, fuzzy animal print.


Busy families, particularly those with children, require automotive upholstery designed for durablility and types that can withstand a great deal of activity and mess. Vinyl is a more reasonably priced alternative to leather, and it's typically a heavier weight and thickness than cloth. The strength of vinyl lends itself well to more than just automotive upholstery; often vinyl covers dashboards, consoles and other interior surfaces.


If going first class is more your style, leather conveys prestige. Leather is extremely durable and a strong fabric like vinyl, but with a softness and yield to the material. If taken care of, leather can last a long time and wears to a soft patina. Leather hides for car upholstery often come treated to withstand the daily wear in a car. Automotive leathers are also typically more durable than furniture-grade leathers and have been specially tanned and finished to withstand not only the wear and tear that humans inflict but also the intensity of the UV rays.

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