Posted by Zane Winberg on

Your seats may not be a deal-breaker or winning feature for you as you shop for a car, but they’re also not a trivial detail. Your seats will get used every time your car does.

Your seats are your first and last contact with your vehicle, and also the primary feature for passengers. Leather and fabric are the most popular options and are found in the vast majority of cars. The way you use and care for these two types of seats vary greatly, and there are pros and cons to each. Today we’re sharing with you what we’ve learned about leather and fabric seats so you can make an informed decision about your own.

Leather Seats

Leather seats are usually seen as the more luxury option for cars and usually cost more. The material itself is more expensive, which explains some of the markups. Leather gives a very lush feel and look to a vehicle. Leather seats are much easier to clean and very stain-resistant. Leather seats are also resistant to smells that can come with stains and the passengers who cause them. Leather seats respond better to seat-warmers if that’s a feature you desire.

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Leather is more expensive, as we mentioned above. It’s also more expensive to repair or replace if necessary. Leather can also have a distinct smell when new, and can feel a little inflexible before it’s broken in. Leather responds to temperature, so leather seats can be very cold and brittle in the winter, and even burn your bare skin in the summertime when left in direct sunlight. Sun exposure can also dull, discolor, or bleach your leather seats. Leather can also respond negatively to constant pressure and wear, such as a car seat.

Fabric Seats

Fabric has been a more common option for most of history. It’s cheap to make, repair, and replace. Fabric is very easy to customize, so your options are much more varied. There is a much wider range of quality in fabric seats, where most leather is around the same price point and quality. Fabric is much softer right, to begin with, and softens with age. Fabric will stay cooler in heat and warmer in cold weather than leather, which can be helpful in extreme climates. If you have car seats, fabric is more flexible and resilient, so you won’t have uneven wear or puncturing like you might get with leather.

Fabric seats are not very stain resistant, and intense scrubbing or detailing can be necessary to get milkshakes or melted fruit snacks out of the surface. Fabric seats can also adopt smells, so pets or smokers can have a harder time reselling their vehicles. Fabric can quickly look dated or damaged, which unfortunately can age or devalue a car quickly on the secondhand market.

It’s up to you to determine which you prefer for your car and your situation if you have a choice. If you are stuck with one or the other, you can find ways to maximize the seats that you have. It’s worth learning how to keep them clean and healthy.

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