Is Reupholstering Your Car Really Worth It?

When it comes to protecting your car’s interior, you do your best to keep it in tip-top shape with a different type of maintenance. You try not to spill on the seats and might even use a seat cover sometimes. However, in real life, accidents and wear and tear happen. So, what can you do should you have a tear in the upholstery or unsightly stains to look at every time you climb in the cockpit?

In other cases, people decide they no longer like the aesthetics of their car’s interior anymore. Maybe the black gets too hot in the summer, and you’re looking to reupholster it in a lighter, camel color. Or it could be that your car’s so old that reupholstering is the only way to salvage the seat coverings at all.

Regardless of which scenario best applies to your situation, what you really want to know is, is reupholstering your car worth it?

What’s the process for reupholstering your car?

Rear seat upholstery of a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 from the National Motor Museum
1965 Aston Martin DB5 upholstery | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images

Reupholstering car interiors is far more intensive of a process than you might think. The professionals you hire will have unique tools for the job that you likely don’t have lying around the garage. So, working with a professional reupholstering service is highly recommended. To understand what all goes into a reupholstering project, Shear Comfort offers a basic explanation of the process.

A professional will first have to remove the car interior coverings, including the fabrics, fasteners or glue, and any cushion batting. Before reupholstering, they’ll have to replace foam or batting, as needed, before sizing, applying, and fastening new materials in place. If you’re reupholstering a two-seater, it won’t take as long to complete as a three-row SUV. However, the process for each seat is the same.

How you can tell it’s time to reupholster

If you’re not in the “mood” for a change, there are some signs that point to a need to reupholster your car’s interiorBanister’s lists a few common upholstery problems that indicate it might be time to call a reupholstering professional. Tears or bubbles in the seat cover, for example, will lead to quicker deterioration over time. You might also have impossible-to-remove stains to contend with, which are eyesores every time you get in the car. 

If you’ve purchased or started driving a used vehicle, there could be odors embedded in the fabrics that you can’t seem to eradicate. Smoking, pets, and kids can leave unpleasant impressions on car seat materials. So, if no amount of car scents or Febreze can help, reupholstering is probably your best bet.

How much reupholstering your car will cost

There will be both material and labor involved, which will come with associated pricing. Cloth and microfibers won’t typically be as expensive as suedes or leathers. Additionally, the size of your vehicle will matter based on how many seats or car interior surfaces need reupholstering.

We Can Fix That suggests that the average cost to reupholster a cloth seat sedan is roughly $2,500. That might sound like a significantly hefty price tag at first, but it could be worth the investment to protect the lifespan of your car’s interior. Furthermore, many reupholstering professionals also provide repairs and replacements for other cabin components like speaker covers, carpeting, visors, and steering wheels, to make the whole car feel like new. 

The short answer to the reupholstering question is yes; it’s absolutely worth considering a reupholstery project for your car. You have to live in that cockpit every day. So, when the time comes for you to sell or trade it in, you’ll likely get better offers with fresh interior materials.

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