How to Repair Tears on Car Seats, Part Two

Got a crack or tear on the seat of an older car?  Unless you’re driving a rare collector car, it’s unlikely that you want to have the seat reupholstered by a professional -it’s just too expensive. Fortunately, with a little patience, the average DIYer can create a passable seat repair. All you need is a little guidance on how to do it, like this article!

What the Finished Repair Will Look Like

For starters, let’s set expectations. A repaired seat crack or tear will never be completely hidden from view. No matter how good you are, it won’t ever look like new. Frankly, if you want your car seat to look like new, you’ll have to take it to a professional upholstery shop and have the seat recovered. This, of course, is expensive.

Tears that Are on a Seam

In this article, we will deal with cracks and tears that are against a seam on the car seat. In Part One of this article, we dealt with rips and cracks on flatter, more open sections of a seat. With this sort of tear, you glue a piece of fabric underneath each side of the rip and hold the rip closed while the glue dries. When it’s against a seam, the procedure is quite different. Instead of gluing a backer material under the tear, you glue a patch on top of it.

Selecting Patch Material

On a seam repair, you will be attaching the material on top of the repair so color match is important. So, where do you go for a piece of material that is identical to your torn car seat? Why under the seat, of course.  If you look at the material underneath or that hangs down from the seat, you should find plenty of donor material. Usually you can cut off a section and no one will ever notice.


There are many suitable adhesives to use for gluing a piece of original fabric to a car seat. The important characteristics are that it is easy to apply, water soluble for cleanup, and remains flexible after its dried. Professional upholsterers use special water-based adhesives that meet these requirements but set up quickly. Online you can find many specialty glues for accomplishing this task.

The Procedure

According to the experts we consulted at Patrick Cars of Schaumburg, a local BMW, Cadillac, Genesis, Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover, Saab, Mini and Volvo dealer in Schaumburg, IL, this part requires a little creativity. You trim your donor material so it just overlaps the seam but extends an inch or so onto existing seat material. Then you apply glue to it a clamp it via any method you can think. DIYers usually use rope, duct tape even ratchet straps to apply even pressure to the patch.

Note: If exposed open-cell foam may come in contact with glue from the patch, insert a thin non-porous sheet—plastic, wax paper, etc.—between the foam and surface material.

Suggested Vendors

Online specialty retailers such as Leather Magic, MagicMender and LeatherWorldTech can supply you with adhesive and some colors of patches.

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