Having leather seats on your car is a goal for most car owners. The leather seats are easy to clean and do not allow fluids to infiltrate. However, leather seats stretch and get wrinkled with time. Some stretches give the car an old-fashioned look.
The good news is that you can fix the stretched and sagging leather seats. Clean the seat to remove dirt and use a heat gun to improve the wrinkles and stretches. For extreme sagging, consider removing the leather and replacing the foam with a new one.
In this article, we shall first examine the causes of sagging leather seats. We shall then discuss the methods and tricks of how to fix stretched leather seats with ease.
Why Do Leather Seats Wrinkle & Stretch?
Leather is one of the best materials for making car seats and other valuable items. However, leather is bound to stretch and sag with time due to its elastic nature.
Sagging leather car seats can be annoying. Therefore, let’s discuss some reasons that may lead to your leather seats stretching and sagging.
Quality of the leather
The quality of the leather will significantly determine the stretching extents of your leather car seats. Poor-quality leather will sag and stretch within a short time. Treated high-quality leather will last longer and be in good condition.
Get leather seats made of high-quality leather to help withstand the wear, tear, and stretching effect.
Unequal weight distribution
Surprisingly, the driver’s seat has more leather sagging than the back seats. The driver seat is always in use when the car is in motion, hence the more significant impact.
For some seats, you might find that a seat has more stretches on one side. This results from uneven distribution of weight. Such is present for a manually transmitted car where the driver is in constant body movement.
Inadequate frame form support
Leather has a slow natural stretching rate. With inadequate support to hold it in place, the leather tends to sag and stretch at a faster pace.
The bottom frame should be solid and firm to provide the necessary support to the leather. Avoid adjustable base or spring-made bottoms that will create room for stretching. For the broken frame, repair or replace it to have your leather seat back in shape.
Quality of the foam
The quality of the foam affects the stretching levels of the leather. Low-quality foam flattens and leaves room for the leather to sag. Get high-quality elastic foam that will assume its initial state upon release of the force and pressure on it.
How To Fix Stretched Leather Car Seats?
Having understood the reasons that cause leather seats to stretch and sag, we can now learn how to fix the problem.
For an effective process, follow the procedures carefully to avoid damage, especially when heating the leather seat. Before fixing your seat, you need to clean the leather thoroughly to remove all the dirt using a leather cleaner.
Use of a steaming machine
A steaming machine is the most common method of fixing your stretched leather seats before they sag. Before steaming the leather, clean the seat with a microfiber cloth. You will notice that dirt plays a massive role in the sagging and stretching of your seats.
Some may be wondering how they will clean their white leather car seats. Use a leather conditioner cleaner for white leather car seats, such as Zymol conditioner.
Apply the conditioner on a microfiber cloth and rinse the leather while scrubbing the dirt off. Now, use a steam machine with the microfiber cloth to steam off the dirt in the leather.
While steaming, keep the machine rotating to avoid burning that can cause leather damage. Steam-clean the seats for about ten minutes, and the stretches will straighten to a tight fit.
Use of a heat gun
This method is quite similar to the steaming one. However, we use the heat gun set at a low heating value instead of a steaming machine. The process demands use on a clean seat only to ensure that there is no sticky residue on the leather during heating.
Ensure you clean white leather car seats thoroughly to their original white color. To ascertain that the seats are clean, use a white microfiber cloth to check if any dirt is left.
Set the heat gun at a low gauge to avoid damaging the leather. Pass the heat gun over the stretched leather with a gap of 5-inches minimum. Use your hand to feel the heating levels on the leather. Don’t keep the gun at one point, as that will burn the leather.
For the wrinkles, pass the gun over the lines till they flatten and smoothen. Repeat the heating with break time intervals to let the leather cool. For white seats, keep the gun at a distance of 7-inches to avoid darkening the seat.
Reshaping the sagging leather
Leather tends to stretch under natural conditions. Hence with time, you may need to reshape the leather to have it tight and fitting.
After heating the leather to no success, unwrap the leather and reshape sagging leather by tightening the edges. You can use a sewing machine to reshape the leather to have it fit.
Add high-density foam on the inside to help reshape the leather. Be keen not to lose the original design of the seat.
Are Stretched Leather Seats Normal In New Leather Seats?
New leather seats should not show any signs of stretches or sag. Stretched new leather seats should be the first indicator that the quality of leather used is poor, or it is a second-hand seat.
Stretched seats need fixing and tightening to offer comfort to the occupants. If you notice stretch marks on the seat, return the seat to the dealer and request better quality leather seats.
However, there is an exception to the seats’ design where the seat has a sluggish leather design. The design is rare, but it’s meant to offer more comfort, especially at the backside for leaning.
Leather seats are not only a spark of beauty to the car’s interior but also a mark of quality to your seats. Leather-covered seats protect the inner foam from fluids and dirt.
For the stretched and saggy leather, follow any of the above methods to have your seat back into shape. When heating, use moderate temperatures to fix the stretches without burning the leather.
Give the seat about one hour after heating to allow the leather to cool back to average temperatures before using. Reshape the sagging leather seats or replace them with new leather if the damage is beyond repair.