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Protecting Car Seats
Old 09-19-2015, 12:30 PM   #1
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Protecting Car Seats

Has anyone else run into the following issue, and resolved it to their satisfaction?

We hardly ever buy a new car, and are about as used to new cars as we are to new babies (and unlike babies, new cars keep undergoing design changes!)

So, we just bought a new car with light gray leather seats. Although we keep it in the garage at night, it will bake in parking lots during the day, and we'd like to protect the seats from sunlight as well as from perspiration when we wear shorts, etc.

Unfortunately, the airbag sensors are in the seats, and my research says car seat covers could interfere with these. Also, the "seat covers" I've found online are butt-ugly (pun intended!) and sold for the purpose of disguising seats that are even uglier than the covers.

So, short of flinging bath towels over the seats, what can be done to protect them safely?

Thanks,

Amethyst
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Old 09-19-2015, 01:18 PM   #2
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The most important thing is to close the sunroof window when it is going to rain and it is parked outside.

We have light colored leather in one car that is always parked outide, and other than the above issue, have never done anything to baby the seats, which are 11 years old and dried out nicely. Twice.
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Old 09-19-2015, 01:18 PM   #3
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To me putting a cover over a leather seat is like putting wall to wall carpeting over a nice wood floor. Leather car seats do require periodic maintenance with a good cleaner and conditioner. That should keep them looking good for a long time.
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Old 09-19-2015, 01:26 PM   #4
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+1 don't cover them... take care of them and clean and condition them regularly. BTW, I have leather seats on or last few vehicles and do virtually nothing... clean them a couple times a year and then have held up well.
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Old 09-19-2015, 01:31 PM   #5
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Our white leather seats are 18 years old, and while showing some signs of wear, are still smooth and look okay. Only in Florida did we use windshield sun blockers when it was really hot. Other than that, no special care. Sometimes, just a small towel to put over the seat, when parking in the hot sun.

attractive seat covers... an oxymoron
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:06 PM   #6
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The small seat towels have already been deployed :-)

Windshield sun blockers are a good idea, too. MD sunshine can be pretty corrosive, if not quite as fierce as FL sunshine.

And as the salesman said: "Don't eat in the car."

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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Our white leather seats are 18 years old, and while showing some signs of wear, are still smooth and look okay. Only in Florida did we use windshield sun blockers when it was really hot. Other than that, no special care. Sometimes, just a small towel to put over the seat, when parking in the hot sun.

attractive seat covers... an oxymoron
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:09 PM   #7
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Getting the windows tinted and using a sunshade on the front windshield seem to be the most practical way as opposed to covering them.

I had leather seats on my VW Beetle that lived outside in the South Carolina sun. Nearly 100,000 miles still were holding up great, and that was without any tinting.
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:15 PM   #8
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Getting the windows tinted and using a sunshade on the front windshield seem to be the most practical way as opposed to covering them.

I had leather seats on my VW Beetle that lived outside in the South Carolina sun. Nearly 100,000 miles still were holding up great, and that was without any tinting.

^^^ This (window tint and sunshade).

Take care of the leather also. Most cars don't use *real* leather these days (unless your are real) and use what's known as "pleather", aka, vinyl that looks like leather. Those only require occasional cleaning with a suitable liquid.
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:21 PM   #9
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One thing about tinted windows. As a frequent pedestrian I cannot see the driver through a shaded windshield, this is a safety risk. Before stepping in front of the car on a sidestreet or driveway I need to see that the driver is aware of me, and this is often impossible due to tinting. It irritates drivers as well, they are gesturing for me to go and are unaware I can't see them.
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:27 PM   #10
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One thing about tinted windows. As a frequent pedestrian I cannot see the driver through a shaded windshield, this is a safety risk. Before stepping in front of the car on a sidestreet or driveway I need to see that the driver is aware of me, and this is often impossible due to tinting. It irritates drivers as well, they are gesturing for me to go and are unaware I can't see them.
In some states, it is not legal to tint the windshield below a few inches from where it meets the roof line. I have to agree, where that is allowed, it is a problem.

Tint laws vary from state to state and if one is going to tint their car/truck windows, they should check the law first to see what the limitations are.

Here's a good link:

http://www.solargard.com/window-film...tive/tint-laws
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:27 PM   #11
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One thing about tinted windows. As a frequent pedestrian I cannot see the driver through a shaded windshield, this is a safety risk. Before stepping in front of the car on a sidestreet or driveway I need to see that the driver is aware of me, and this is often impossible due to tinting. It irritates drivers as well, they are gesturing for me to go and are unaware I can't see them.
Tinted windows are illegal where I live, for the above reason and because tinted glass is less likely to shatter, making it more difficult to rescue people trapped in the vehicle in the event of an accident. I would suggest buying sunshades.

Tinted auto windows get close look in police crackdown
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:29 PM   #12
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For whatever reason cars in the lot at Megacorp were prone to " spotting" (bugs, pollen, something...). I invested in a decent car cover just to keep it clean and in the shade. As a bonus the leather seats still look new.
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:54 PM   #13
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Thanks for the notes of encouragement. We've always had very basic cars, and cloth seats do stain and fade, even if nothing is spilled on them. These seats are leather, and I know leather does need to "breathe." So your comments are very welcome.
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Old 09-19-2015, 02:59 PM   #14
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I have had leather seats (both gray and black) in several of my vehicles the past 5 or 6 years. Admittedly, I don't keep any of my late model vehicles too long (a few years typically) but I have use products like "Meguiars Gold Class Cleaners and Leather Conditioners" and have never had any problems with the seats, even with the cars I leave outdoors all the time. IMO, there are a number of other products like Meguiars that seem to be just as good. They tend to make the seats a little slick for few days but that never bother me. Just buy quality products.
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Old 09-19-2015, 03:29 PM   #15
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I have hot and cold perforated black and brown leather seats. I keep 2 hand towels in my truck. Sometimes I'm sweaty from hiking or wet from rain or snow. I don't worry about the sun; it's the water/sweat. I clean my seats about once a month. We had a corvette that had light colored (Shale) leather seats and had marks from our denim jeans all the time. You had to clean it almost every time you drove it. Watch what you use to clean it. I can't think of the brand name but it made the seat slippery and I was sliding all over the place.
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Old 09-19-2015, 06:33 PM   #16
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Where I live, there are a LOT of places that specialize in tinting car windows, and they will make them as dark as you like.

There are also a lot of cops who think this is a swell idea. They carry little gadgets that allow them to measure the degree of tinting and determine whether it meets legal standards or not.

This is a great source of revenue for many communities and the police are usually on good terms with the people who run the window tinting shops.
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Old 09-19-2015, 06:38 PM   #17
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My car has light beige leather seats. My black yoga pants and black denim jeans (no matter how often they'd been washed) will eventually color transfer to the seats, so I put a folded bath towel on the seat. Problem solved. Plus the towel keeps the seat a bit more comfortable when it has been sitting in the sun. If I get in the car a bit sweaty from a long walk or something, I don't worry about sweat/salt on the leather, as the towel is there. Every once in a while I throw the towel in the wash.

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Old 09-19-2015, 06:53 PM   #18
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My car has mesh like cloth material which is a terrible dust magnet. A set of seat covers was one of the first add ons I got. Not only do the covers block out the dust and sun's rays but also adds more cushion for the tush .
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Old 09-19-2015, 09:40 PM   #19
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My daughter was given a "Seat Shield" at work. It is a fancy microfiber towel that drapes over the seat. It has a "hoodie" shape that fits over the headrest but does not actually attach to the seat. I guess it has reflective properties that make it work better than a plain towel. I always just take it off the seat before I get in and it makes a huge difference in the temperature of the leather. My daughter prefers to leave it in place....she says it doesn't slide around when she gets in and out. We are in MD also and this summer was brutal.

SeatShield.com - Waterproof Seat Covers
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Old 09-19-2015, 10:45 PM   #20
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I don't like leather seats but it's hard to find an upscale car without them. I find the bolsters crack and deteriorate due to my contact getting in and out. AFAIAC, the best thing for keeping leather in good shape if neetsfoot oil. I discovered it too late for my Audi, but it's helping a lot with my Hyundai Genesis. After a hike when I'm sweaty, I use a bath towel over the seat but the Seatshield looks interesting for that purpose.
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