Automotive Leather Repairing

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.

About song

Tech guy in the silicon valley. If you need anything else, look on the blog. It's all there.
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68 Responses to Automotive Leather Repairing

  1. Richard H. says:

    I just might try this. How much would you charge to do it for me?

  2. song says:

    My intention was to help you do it! I really don’t have time to do it for others. I have too many cars to maintain! Best of luck though.

  3. Kaco says:

    I’d say it looks very good… good demo and photos. Thx.

  4. Denise says:

    I think the process seemed very time consuming but if there’s a lot more life in the car I would say its worth it. I might try this on my leather recliner at home. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Nic says:

    Your interior looks exactly like mine did you choose the Volvo Lt Beige for the repair ?

  6. Nic says:

    Also have you updated on how long the filler on the cracks laster? Or is the dye starting to rub off?

  7. Terry says:

    How has this repair held up?

  8. song says:

    Take a look around the site and you’ll find a few updates. Bottom line is that it’s not permanent but lasts about 7-9 months. Then it starts looking bad and needs a refresh. It’s probably because of the severity of my case, but I can’t see my case as something very unusual.

  9. Karen says:

    I had this done on my car. It doesn’t last :/

  10. Biana says:

    Thanks for your thsothgu. It’s helped me a lot.

  11. Claudia says:

    I have leather interior and mine is doing a similar thing. I’m curious though… the video posting date is August 2010 now that time has definitely lapsed, what does it look like. I don’t see any updated pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Claudia says:

    I have leather interior and mine is doing a similar thing. I’m curious though… the video posting date is August 2010 now that time has definitely lapsed, what does it look like. I don’t see any updated pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Thomas says:

    How would I get the right color for an 03 Lexus interior?

  14. carlos cosmelli says:

    Ilove to help a pension people like me, I had working in car for more of 50 years and help them for many thing. How would I get the materials and the righ thing for this job., help is help and help is the right thing to help others. We can not made any order to america to Amazon from July 1 2018 to Australia.
    Thank you for your help.

  15. seriahd says:

    Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar
    one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments?
    If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can advise?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any assistance is very much appreciated.

  16. Caleb says:

    How has this held up over time?

  17. song says:

    It lasts for about 6-9 months and then needs refreshing. I ended up getting some nice covers instead of re-finishing all the time.

  18. song says:

    I know what you mean! I get so much spam now that I don’t even visit but once every few months just to clean out the spam. I have not found a great solution yet. I have set it up so that posts must be moderated before appearing. I was hoping the spammers would pass me by after realizing that most stuff never gets posted. But Alas, I don’t think the bots creating the spam really care.

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