What You Need to Know: Car and Truck Seat Upholstery Repair and Replacement

When you first purchase or lease a new car, you have all the good intentions of keeping it clean and in tip-top condition. But then, life happens. From spills to dirt/mud to family pet mishaps and even the sun and other damaging environmental factors, everyday wear and tear on your vehicle’s interior is inevitable.

To update or refresh your car or truck’s interior, you may consider starting with the seats—a full reupholstery of your seats or deciding to use slip-on seat covers.

Of course, some of the interior is easier (and less expensive) to completely replace than others—purchasing new floor mats to replace the old, for example, will only set you back around $40 per mat as a starting price. But the truth of the matter is: It all adds up. It can be expensive to replace your damaged car or truck upholstery. Here, we discuss three factors to consider when updating the interior seats of your car, truck, or SUV.

1. Cost

When you have your vehicle’s seats professionally reupholstered, the entire fabric will be replaced with a new material of your choice, with foam padding added as well. Some car upholstery companies will also include seat spring replacements as needed. The average cost for vehicle seat reupholstery including professional installation is $1,000–$2,000 for two bucket seats or a bench seat, depending on your vehicle.

2. Repair vs. Full Replacement

If it’s a small section of the seat’s upholstery that is frayed, it may be possible to repair the damage rather than replace the upholstery on the entire seat. For older car or truck models, replacing just one damaged seat may be more difficult. You’d have to find an exact material and color match. Check with your local upholsterer if you run into issues deciding the right material and color.

Full replacement of all your car or truck seats can be costly. If you’re ready to invest in new upholstery to replace the original factory material, do your research on materials that offer better protection from damaging environmental factors. Also look for materials that are durable so they won’t easily fray or tear. As we know, the everyday messes are still going to happen.

3. An Alternative Option: Custom Slip-On Seat Covers

A third option to consider when deciding how to protect your vehicle’s seats is to use custom slip-on covers. Custom slip-on seat covers offer good protection, comfort, and durability, but at a lesser cost. The average cost for CalTrend custom-fit slip-on covers is $150–$300 per pair of bucket seats or for a bench seat.[2]

Custom slip-on seat covers fit snugly over your vehicle seats. For the best protection for any future damage, materials like DuraPlus, NeoPrene, and Faux Leather are highly recommended.

Ready to Refresh Your Seats?

If you choose to protect and beautify your vehicle’s seats without completely reupholstering the original factory seats, and are considering the custom slip-on cover route, CalTrend experts are here to help.

CalTrend has a team of experienced auto enthusiasts whose goal is to help you make the best decisions. CalTrend offers custom slip-on seat covers for Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Jeep, Ram, and Toyota. Shop by Vehicle.

Still deciding? All of our custom seat covers are covered by a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty on workmanship and craftsmanship. We’re happy to help answer all your questions. Contact us for more information.

If you’ve ever worn a wetsuit, used rubber-like oven mitts and hot pads, or put on sports equipment like knee or elbow pads, you’re probably already familiar with neoprene.

Known as the first synthetic rubber, neoprene was created in 1930 by a team of DuPont scientists, led by chemist Wallace Carothers, in response to a rising demand (and a rising cost) of rubber products.

The technical name for neoprene is polychloroprene, which is an organic compound composed mostly of hydrogen and carbon atoms. DuPont’s version was originally dubbed DuPrene. The material entered the market in 1931 for industrial use in telephone wires, insulation, hoses for vehicles, etc. DuPrene was a good alternative to natural rubber because it maintained its flexibility while also being more resistant to water, oils, and heat. There was just one problem—it smelled bad.

Throughout the 1930s, DuPont worked to eliminate the bad odor and improve the manufacturing process. By 1937, DuPont discontinued the name DuPrene, in favor of the generic name of neoprene, signifying it as a mass material rather than a branded product.

Introduction of the Neoprene Wetsuit

It wasn’t until the 1950s when companies first starting discovering the possibilities of using neoprene in wetsuits. There’s some debate over who first invented the neoprene wetsuit, but three Californians played prominent roles:

  • Physicist Hugh Bradner of the University of California, Berkeley, discovered in 1951 that a suit didn’t need to be dry to offer thermal insulation.
  • Jack O’Neill, founder of his Santa Cruz–based surf wear and surfboard brand O’Neill in 1952, was considered the pioneer of the wetsuit when his friend introduced him to neoprene foam.
  • Twin brothers Bill and Bob Meistrell co-founded Body Glove in 1953, after designing “the first practical wetsuit.” They discovered the insulating material of neoprene as used in the back of refrigerators.

By the early 2000s, more than 300,000 tons of neoprene was manufactured every year. Today, you’ll find neoprene used in everything from wetsuits to seat covers to sports and medical equipment. Although the manufacturing process has evolved over the years—from oil-based to limestone-based rubber chips—the popularity of neoprene has remained strong.

neoprene-black-lightgrey
NeoPrene Seat Cover

Car Seat Covers: Neoprene vs. Neosupreme

When deciding on the best wetsuit-like material for your vehicle’s interior, there are a few considerations to take into account, with the biggest factor being your budget. Just as neoprene served as an alternative to natural rubber, neosupreme is yet another more affordable option. Both CalTrend NeoPrene and NeoSupreme car seat covers offer flexible material similar to that of a wetsuit and are water-resistant.

Neoprene is a thicker fabric that requires industrial sewing machines to stitch together. For car seat covers, this can make it more costly because of the amount of material required to properly cover all seats. The flexibility and durability of neoprene makes it the perfect material for car seat covers, offering the following characteristics:

  • Strong and resistant to tears
  • Water-resistant and repels spills
  • Comfortable and does not irritate the skin

Neosupreme is a more affordable fabric that mimics neoprene in both aesthetics and functionality. It also offers better UV protection than neoprene. Some of its benefits include:

  • Lower initial cost for the material
  • Fabric has a backing making it easier to create durable stitches
  • Covers have a fitted look with minimal wrinkles caused by stretching

Find the Perfect Covers

At CalTrend, we offer our customers a large variety of custom-fit seat covers to match every budget. Our products are 100% made in the U.S.A., and will fit perfectly on your vehicle’s seats. Shop by Vehicle.

If you love the look and feel of NeoPrene and NeoSupreme seat covers, but need some help deciding what the best option is for you, we’re happy to help. Please contact one of our team members today.

Are you someone who loves your car and wants to keep it looking nice? Who isn’t? Cars are big investments and if we don’t take good care of them, like anything else, they lose not only their appeal and functionality, but their value too.  

So how can you protect your interior from the everyday spills, mishaps, and wear that come with regular car use? If your vehicle isn’t just for show, these things are bound to occur—and probably often. Enter the car seat covers market.

Custom seat covers are made to fit the exact specifications of your seats, so you don’t have to worry about the factory upholstery getting stained, torn, or worn. And you can rest assured that you’ll get a perfect fit, whether you have bucket seats, bench seats, or any other seat configuration.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular car seat covers on the market today.  

Trending Car Seat Cover Fabrics  

Neoprene. Soft, comfortable, and flexible, the wetsuit-like material is long lasting and you guessed it, water-resistant. Neoprene is one of the most popular fabrics on the seat cover market because it offers extra layers of protection for your original seats with a very luxurious look and feel.   

Leather. Just because you didn’t choose leather upholstery when you purchased or leased the vehicle doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Custom leather seat covers are made of premium leather and fit snugly to your seats so you can easily update the interior styling of your car without the high cost of reupholstery.  

Faux Leather. Also called leatherette or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Leather, this material gives you the luxurious style of premium leather without the high price tag. Custom leatherette covers offer extra durability and protection against mold, mildew, and the sun’s UV rays.    

I Cant't Believe It's Not Leather

Neosupreme. Similar to neoprene, neosupreme is made of a material similar to a wetsuit, offering good UV protection and helping prevent damage from dirt and liquids. They are also very comfortable, making them great for people with active lifestyles.  

DuraPlus. This canvas-like fabric is for you if your car’s seats experience heavy use because DuraPlus is one of the most durable and waterproof fabrics available. So if you have kids or pets, or you use your vehicle primarily to haul items for work or pleasure, DuraPlus seat covers are your go-to.

Trending Car Seat Cover Patterns

Hawaiian. Ever wanted to bring the spirit of Aloha into your car? Hawaiian print seat covers can do just that and more. Most are made of comfortable fabrics like neosupreme or cotton, so in addition to the island style, you’ll be giving your seats added comfort.   

Digital Camouflage. For a truly rugged look, digital camouflage is very popular. The military turned to this pixelated version of camouflage as it was more effective for blending in with the surroundings to mimic nature than previous camouflage designs.

Hunter/Sportsman Camouflage. This camo print is perfect for those who love the outdoors. CalTrend’s TrueTimber® and Mossy Oak® fabrics are both made of long-lasting UV-resistant material that also protects against mold and mildew.

American Flag/Patriotic. Show your love for America with patriotic prints on your seats. Red, white, and blue designs can adorn your interior to protect your factory upholstery while also adding style, comfort, and a sense of pride for your country.

Looking for more options?

There you have it, CalTrend’s list of the most popular trends this year for car seat covers. Custom covers are a great option for protecting your seats while showing off your own unique style. If you are looking for more options or have any questions, contact our customer service team.   

Neoprene vs. Leather, Which is Better for a Car Seat Cover?

Many people will put covers on their car seats. There are many reasons to use a cover. Sometimes it is to protect your seat. It can also be to improve the look of the seat. People also use covers to show off a particular style or show support for a sports team. For whatever the reason you choose to use a seat cover, there are many different options available. When picking a seat cover, it is important to choose what material will be best suited for your needs. To popular materials are neoprene and leather. Below is a comparison of the two materials as it pertains to car seat covers.

1. Style and Aesthetics

Both leather and neoprene can offer options for changing the style of your car’s interior. Leather seat covers tend to be available in single or two colors. They give the smooth, clean, and luxurious look of leather. However, they do not have the color options that are available in neoprene. Neoprene seat covers are often available in many different colors and patterns. This includes non-traditional colors such as pink, green, purple, etc. Patterns such as camo and covers supporting a sports team are also more likely to be found in a neoprene seat cover rather than a leather seat cover.

2. Price

The price of a product can greatly affect a person’s purchase. Neoprene is an affordable option for seat covers. However, leather seat covers are a little pricier. For some, the look of the leather is what they want and worth the extra cost. the cost will also be more expensive for both neoprene and leather if you purchase a custom fit cover rather than purchasing a cover off the shelf. The cost, in combination with the look you want, can impact what seat cover you ultimately decide on.

3. Durability

Just like many other parts of our car, we need our seat covers to be durable. You want it to stand up to the everyday use of the vehicle. Leather seat covers can be beneficial in keeping the car clean. Most substances can be easily wiped off or cleaned up from the leather. However, to maintain the leather and keep it from cracking it will need to be treated with special products. Also, leather is more difficult to clean. To clean a leather seat cover you will need to use a special leather cleaning product. Neoprene seat covers are usually stain and water resistant. This means that most spills will wipe clean from the seat cover. The neoprene seat covers are also usually machine washable. While you will not need a special cleaner, you will need to remove it from the car to keep it clean. With respect to standing up to the sun, neoprene seems to do better. Leather can fade from constant exposure to the sun. Over time you can see discoloration, spots, and drying of the leather. You will need to apply products to keep the leather moisturized and to protect it from sun fading. In contrast, a neoprene seat cover will stand up better to the sun. Neoprene does not seem to have problems with fading or discoloration from the sun. It will not need to be treated with any products to help protect it from the sun.

4. Children and Pets

Many of us have our kids and/or pets in and out of our cars on a daily basis. Kids, pet nails, and pet hair can wreak havoc on our cars, especially our seats. Some people may be concerned that their dog’s claws will poke a hole in their leather seat cover. If you get a high-quality leather cover, you will greatly reduce the risk of any punctures. Leather can also be nice because the dog hair will brush off quickly and easily. Neoprene seat covers can be more durable when it comes to dog nails. It is less likely to get a whole or snag from the dog’s nails. However, depending on the exact cover, dog hair does not wipe off of the neoprene seats as easily as it would wipe off of leather. There are many different types of neoprene seats, some of which may be more suitable for resisting dog hair. This may be a consideration if your pet is in your car on a regular basis.

Neoprene Seat Covers

With respect to the kids, they can bring food crumbs and dirt to your car. Both leather and neoprene will wipe clean easily if something is spilled on them. This will allow for a quick and easy cleanup. You can also easily wipe dirt or mud from both materials as well. However, if the kids leave something sticky on the seats or they need further cleaning from something your kids have left behind, you will need to clean your leather seat cover with a special seat cover. Also, some items may leave a permanent stain on your leather. With neoprene, you do not need a special cleaner. However, you will need to remove the seat cover to wash it in the washing machine.

5. Weather

The weather and climate in your area can be a factor in deciding whether to get leather or neoprene car seat covers. While leather wipes clean easily, it is not waterproof. Therefore, getting into your car after running through rain or if your seats get wet from rain, the leather can get spots and be ruined. The leather is also very sensitive to heat. The sun can make leather seats very hot when you sit on them. Neoprene is typically waterproof Therefore, it would do well to someone sitting on it after swimming or running through a rainstorm. Neoprene is also not as sensitive to the sun and heat. A neoprene seat will not feel extremely hot after sitting in the sun. It will also tend to be warmer during the winter months. If you are sensitive to the heat or cold of the seat neoprene may be a better option for you.

It is clear that their are pros and cons to both leather and neoprene seats. It is best to look at your individual and family needs in deciding what is best for your car and family.

Chevy Leather Seat Covers

Ford Leather Seat Covers

Honda Leather Seat Covers

Chevy Leather Seat Covers

Ford Leather Seat Covers

Honda Leather Seat Covers

Faux Leather Seat Covers

For a modest investment, drivers can enhance a vehicle´s interior while improving comfort and extending the lifespan of its seats.  Custom seat covers offer aesthetic and practical benefits that can protect the beauty of a new car´s seats or make used ones look like new again. Contemporary materials provide durability and elegance that enhance the value of the vehicle, besides ease of installation makes them an investment worth considering. Modern seat covers can look like factory upholstery, a remarkable contrast to first ones that appeared in the 50s and 60s as a clear plastic covering. For a small investment, you can enhance a vehicle´s interior while improving comfort and extending the lifespan of its seats.

While seat covers may have initially served only a utilitarian purpose, today materials and designs offer much more. Some materials feel cool to the touch when the temperatures inside a car reach excessive levels or feel warm during the winter, aiding the efficiency of a cars air conditioning or heating system. (more…)