How to Repair Automotive Upholstery

If you are thinking about upgrading the current automotive upholstery then there are a few options available such as using a professional or doing it yourself (DIY). The interior of a car is the area in which the user has the most contact and provides the user with comfort and visual satisfaction. Whether it is an upgrade or repair due to damages, this process can be costly as a result of the expertise required and the time consuming procedure. Another reason for the high price is that repair shops tend to take advantage of the exclusive service they provide by charging more than the materials and labor involved in the repairs. To reduce the cost one may considering carrying out the repair on their own; however, the quality of the end result may be diminished and some amount of practice is required.

Advantages of DIY

Even if in the end you utilize a repair shop, knowledge of what is required will result in the repairers taking less advantage of you. Another advantage is after carrying out various automotive upholstery repairs, the need to use repair shops will decrease as your skill level increases. A good idea is to start off on a cheaper automobile as it allows for some amount of trial and error. There is also a tremendous amount of contentment derived from performing the repairs on your own. As a DIY project you are able to fulfill your vision as the mechanic’s preference or ideas may not be consistent with your tasteor may not be able to envision the concepts being brought forward.


There are many books and manuals available for automotive upholstery repairs and also online resources. There are also videos available online to demonstrate the procedures required to carry out the project. Many of the skills required to perform this task is related to furniture upholstery and so manual and books for furniture upholstery may be used.

Required Tools

The most common tools used to carry out this type of repair are a Phillips head screwdriver, flat head screwdriver, metal cutter, pliers, ratchet, extension and sockets, hog ring pliers, metal hog rings, scissors, adhesive spray and Glue.

Repairing Automotive Upholstery

Car seats

  • Firstly, look at the make of the vehicle.  See if the car seats may be removed using a ratchet if not the job will become more difficult.
  • Check for any buttons on the seat and remove the covers by removing the small screws. Ensure that all the screws are properly stored until finished.
  • Check and see if any arm rests and head rests can be removed.
  • Remove any fabric from the seat taking note of any fasteners used, the type and location. Wherever fasteners were removed, they should be replaced in the same place and same kind.
  • If replacing the padding, use a glue gun for installation.
  • Install the new upholstery of choice.
  • Cover the headrest and armrest with the new upholstery.


If a different type of upholstery fabric is used then the same type of fasteners may not work.

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