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How to repair cracked leather car seats

Updated February 21, 2017

Cracked leather seats can decrease the value of a car in addition to being an eyesore. However, you can repair your leather seats with a variety of simple materials found at an automotive paint store. The process takes about two hours and will leave your leather car seats looking as good as new.

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  1. Combine a few drops of dish soap with warm water in a large bucket, and scrub the entire leather car seat clean with a brush, making sure you get in all the crevices. Dry the car seat thoroughly with the terry cloth.

  2. Dip the scouring pad into the soapy water and clean the entire seat again, using circular motions. Dry the seat thoroughly with a clean towel.

  3. Apply a small amount of denatured alcohol to a clean paper towel and wipe down the entire car seat. Before it can dry, wipe the seat with a clean, dry paper towel.

  4. Dip the 240-grit sandpaper into the bucket of soapy water and sand the areas of the car seat with cracks; the dye will begin to move around under the sandpaper.

  5. Use the sandpaper to move the lifted dye into the cracks as filler, and continue until the leather begins to smooth.

  6. Wipe the car seat with a towel and use a blow dryer to completely dry the car seat.

  7. Apply a thin layer of SEM Leather Prep to the chair, per the manufacturer's instructions.

  8. Apply a thin coat of Thompson's Sport Seal to the damaged area of the car seat with a paper towel. Allow it to dry.

  9. Cover all areas of the car surrounding the cracked leather car seat with an old sheet.

  10. Hold the SEM Classic Coat dye 10 to 16 inches from the damaged area of the car seat and use short bursts to dye the seat. Once a thin layer has been applied, use the blow dryer to dry it, then apply another thin layer. Ensure that all cracks are filled in by spraying heavy coats of dye directly into the cracks if necessary.

  11. Apply a thin coat to the other visible areas of the seat to make the colour uniform with the previously damaged area.

  12. Allow the leather seat to dry for several hours before driving.

  13. Tip

    Take the car to the automotive paint store to match the colour of the dye with the colour of the car seat. To keep the leather car seats in top condition, apply a leather conditioner monthly.


    Be careful not to get any chemicals on other portions of the car. This could result in permanent damage.

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Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Scrub brush
  • Terry cloth
  • Scouring pad
  • Towel
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Paper towels
  • 240-grit sandpaper
  • Blow dryer
  • Leather prep (SEM Leather Prep)
  • Leather water sealer (Thompson's WaterSeal Sport Seal)
  • Leather dye (SEM Classic Coat)
  • Sheet

About the Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including

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