If you look down at your car's seats and notice worn spots, torn leather, or discoloration from intense heat and sunlight, you may wonder how much it costs to reupholster car seats. You want a nice interior in your vehicle for comfort and to increase its resale value.
To calculate the cost of reupholstering car seats, it's essential to understand the work that goes into replacing the seats in a car. It's equally important to understand your other options like auto seat repair, before making a big decision.
Here are some key things to consider before taking your auto in for upholstery repair.
What is Car Upholstery?
The most common thing that comes to mind when you mention upholstery for cars is the seats. However, upholstery also encompasses the headliner, door liners, and the carpet. Upholstery materials include cloth, leatherette, vinyl, plastic, and more.
Seats are more likely than any other upholstered surface to need replacement or repair due to the extensive use that seats get over the lifetime of your vehicle. If the damage to the material is minor, you may be able to do a patch repair on the seat by cutting out and replacing the damaged material. However, the repair will be noticeable.
If your seats are more damaged than small tears, you may need to consider doing a complete reupholstery job, especially if there is missing foam or padding or there are thin spots in the materials where the tops of the legs rub on the edges of the driver's seat.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Reupholstering Car Seats
It can be quite costly to reupholster the car seats in your vehicle since there is a lot of work and materials that go into replacing the seats. You must pay for the shop overhead, the labor, and the materials needed to repair your seats. There's a lot more to it than patching car seats.
Depending upon the covering you have in your car now, you will need to buy new fabric, replacement foam and batting, and possibly spring repair.
The shop needs to take the seats out of your vehicle, remove the old material, and check the internal parts, like the springs, for damage before they can recover the seats.
Once they've replaced everything, they secure it to keep it from slipping by applying hog rings to hold it in place, which is time-consuming.
If you're replacing the car seats with leather seats, you have the added expense of an upgraded material.
Average Cost of Reupholstering Car Seats
Besides the cost of materials and labor, there are other factors to consider when figuring the average cost of reupholstering car seats. Location can play a significant factor in the price, especially if materials have to be shipped in and transport costs are added to the material markup.
Since all seats are different, there will be a price difference between bucket and bench seats and how many rows you plan to replace. More expensive leather or high-end synthetics will also increase the average price.
According to CostHelper online, costs for professionally reupholstered seats can run anywhere from $200 to $750 per seat, and that depends on the fabric, replacement batting and foam as needed, and repairing bad springs. You could spend between $500 and $2,000 to redo two bucket seats and one back bench seat in your vehicle.
If you're doing a complete reupholster of all surfaces like the side panels, headliner, carpets, and the seats, you can expect to spend over $1,000 for basic materials and up to $10,000 if you're using expensive leathers. We obtained an estimate for front and rear seats in the neighborhood of $1,500 plus tax for one color and $1,800 plus tax for a custom color combination.
When considering car reupholstering, cost factors can damper your enthusiasm for a new interior in your ride. Other options are more budget-friendly, like buying car seat covers. You can choose between universal fit covers and custom covers. If you need more information on the difference between the two, check out this helpful article: Universal Seat Covers or Custom? How to Decide
As you plan for your new interior, call local shops and get estimates for the job. They may request a photo of the interior, so be ready to send them pictures of the seats.
There might be a big difference in prices between replacing car seats with leather and choosing a custom-fit seat cover that rejuvenates your interior. No matter which you choose, you're increasing the value of your vehicle.
Types of Materials Used for Reupholstering Car Seats
It seems like there are as many material options as there are cars on the road. Here are the most common reupholstering materials:
Neoprene and Neo-Supreme – synthetic rubber material that resists stains and fading
Cordura and Heavy Duty Canvas – fiber-based materials that are durable and tough
Velour – rich, plush knit made from cotton or synthetics
Poly-cotton and Polyester – poly blends are durable and less expensive than higher-end materials
Suede – a napped finished leather soft to the touch
Nylon – another inexpensive synthetic blend that resists wear and stains
Mesh – a woven knit with an open texture
Saddle Blanket – heavy-duty materials in a blanket pattern that resists wear
Vinyl – an inexpensive, easy-to-clean material found in base models of cars
Camos like Real Tree, Moonshine, Mossy Oak – sturdy coverings that withstand an outdoorsman lifestyle
Hawaiian – durable seat covers with a stylish tropical pattern
Imitation Leather/Genuine Leather – soft, smooth seat covers that add class to your car
Imitation Sheepskin/Genuine Sheepskin – cushiony, comfortable seat covers
As you can see from the list, there are a lot of differences in the material and the quality that affect the price of the upholstery job.
DIY vs. Professional Reupholstering
Most car owners have a bit of DIYer in them, and you may be considering doing your reupholster work rather than sending it out to the professionals. Besides knowing how to reupholster car seats, you need to know how long it will take to do the job right. Recovering your seats can be a time-consuming job.
Before you decide, here are the pros and cons of doing the job yourself:
Pros of DIY Car Upholstery
1. Cost Savings
Undertaking the car upholstery yourself can lead to considerable savings as you would be sidestepping labor costs associated with professionals. Many quality kits online include the materials you need for a straight upholstery job.
DIY projects allow you to select specific materials, designs, and colors that suit your lifestyle.
3. Sense of Accomplishment
Tackling upholstery tasks helps you learn and hone a new skill. The satisfaction derived from a job well done can be immensely gratifying.
Working on your schedule means there's no need to adjust to the timings of a professional service. You can progress at your own pace.
Cons of DIY Car Upholstery
1. Quality Concerns
Professionals bring years of expertise to the table. A DIY approach might not yield the same level of precision, especially for beginners.
2. Time Intensive
Without professional tools and expertise, the project might take longer than anticipated, consuming a significant chunk of your free time.
3. Higher Risk of Mistakes
A misstep can lead to wasted materials or even damage the car's interior. Such mistakes could make the project more expensive than hiring a professional.
4. Limited Access to Tools and Materials
Professionals typically have access to a broader range of high-quality materials and specialized tools, which might not be readily available or affordable for DIY enthusiasts.
5. No Warranty
Unlike professional services, DIY projects come without guarantees. There's no recourse if something goes awry or doesn't hold up over time.
Now, here are the pros and cons of having a professional do your car seat reupholstering for you:
Pros of Professional Reupholstering
1. Expertise and Precision
Professionals have undergone training and have years of experience, ensuring that the reupholstery job will be done with meticulous attention to detail. You may find an online kit that offers local installation included in the price.
2. Time Efficiency
With their expertise, tools, and team, professionals can often complete reupholstery tasks in a fraction of the time it might take an amateur.
3. Access to Premium Materials
Professionals have connections with suppliers and can source high-grade materials that might not be available to the general public.
4. Warranty and Guarantee
Many professional services offer warranties on their work. If any issues arise post-reupholstery, they'll address them without extra charges.
5. Specialized Equipment
Professionals utilize specialized equipment to ensure a more refined and lasting finish than standard tools.
Cons of Professional Auto Reupholstering
1. Higher Costs
Hiring a professional often comes with a heftier price tag when compared to sourcing materials and doing it yourself.
2. Potential Wait Times
Popular professionals may have a backlog of projects, leading to longer wait times before they can replace your vehicle’s interior.
3. Less Personal Involvement
While professionals offer customization, it might not have the same personal touch or intimate involvement that comes with a DIY project.
You're dependent on the professional's schedule, meaning unexpected delays or rescheduling might affect the timeline.
Regardless of your choice, redoing your car's interior will add value to it.
Deciding to upgrade or repair the interior of your vehicle is a big decision, and the more information you have, the easier it is to choose between a DIY scenario, having a professional reupholster your car, or buying a quality set of seat covers from ShearComfort.