Posts tagged: auto

Automotive Leather Repairing

By , August 7, 2010 10:31 pm

I keep my cars for a long time. All the cars I own have leather interiors. After a decade of wear and tear, the leather finish sometimes crack and wears off. Replacing a leather interior for an old car is prohibitively expensive, usually running in the several thousands of dollars. Sometimes the car isn’t even worth that much! So what’s a guy to do?

I’ve read about various leather treatments and have tried most of them. There’s no saving dry, hard, cracked leather if you ask me. However, if your leather is still pliable, but there are cracks in the surface finish, there is hope. I came across a company called Leather Magic on the web. After reading lots about them and also viewing their YouTube video, I thought I would give it a try. This is my experience in pictures.

I ordered the deluxe kit for $59.95 with a few dollars shipping. I think it came to about $71. The color of my car interior was “Light Beige” so I ordered the color with the same name on their color page for Volvos. So far so good.

So I decided to try this on my front passenger seat first. Since it needs to sit for 48 hours after the repair, I figured I could still drive the car if I needed to. Here’s what I had to deal with.

The outside bottom panel has a lot of cracks in it.

So the first order of business was to clean it well. I used a light detergent (same as I use when I wash my car) and a nylon scrub brush. I must say that I was surprised how much dirt was removed by this simple process.

First order of business is a good scrubbing.

A light sanding with the provided 220 paper after the prep solution was applied.

This magic white stuff was quiet tacky. Multiple layers filled the cracks.

The photo above shows, the repair compound being scraped into the cracks. Between each coat I had to sand it lightly and get rid of the dust. After about 4 passes (it took a long time), the surface felt pretty smooth. OK, it’s time to color it.

The colorant (special paint) seemed a pretty good match.

After two coats with the foam brush, not much was covered...

After 3 coats, it was starting to look a lot better.

Five coats later and I think I am done.

It was getting dark as I had worked at this for about 3 hours now. I took the last picture with a flash and noticed that the color of the new area and the old area was not really matching so well. It looks like I’ll have to re-color the whole seat for a perfect match. However, look at the repair area! It looks like it’s new leather!

I showed this to my family when then came home, and they thought I had replaced the leather! So at the end of the day, here’ s my analysis.

  • It works pretty darn well.
  • It takes a long time…. 3 hours for the part I did.
  • The color match was pretty good, but in certain light, you can see a difference. Plan on coloring the whole seat.

So that’s it. I can say that I am pretty pleased with it. We’ll see how it holds up over time. I am supposed to wait 48 hours and then go over it with a leather conditioner. I’ll report back later and let you know.

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