Repairing Auto and Bike Upholstery

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A few simple do-it-yourself auto interior repairs PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Chris Repp   
Sunday, 01 November 2009 22:07

         I'd like to share some simple solutions to a few of the common damages to your auto interior.  Most people should be able to perform these repairs, keep your car looking great and save some money in the process.  Best of all, you won't need any special tools or materials. All the techniques require only simple tools and materials you can get at the hardware store. 

A Hairline Vinyl Crack Repair

          The firs repair is for a hairline crack in the side of your vinyl seat.  It is a very common damage to leather and vinyl auto seating. Even if you have leather seats the side of the seat is most often vinyl.  And that vinyl stresses every time you sit down on the seat.  Over time the vinyl will crack either across the surface or down the edge of the surface at a stitch hole.   If there is a vertical or horizontal crack in the side of the seat and the crack is only 2-3 inches long then you can seal the damage and make it nearly invisible.  Keep an eye out for such cracking so you can stop it before it gets to long to stop.  The solution is simple. 

1. Buy a tube of control gel super glue (preferably with rubberized additive for strength) at the hardware store for about 4 dollars. 

2. Next, place a bit of the gel onto a straight pin. 

3. Now open the crack with your fingertips.

4. Apply the gel into the crack in small dots along the crack.  Use as little gel as possible to hold the crack shut so it will not become stiff and brittle.

5. Use some force to press the crack shut and hold for20 seconds to let the superglue dry.  The tighter you hold the crack, the less noticeable it will be.

6.  This solution will mask the cracked area and seal the edges of the crack so it will not grow.


A Cig Burn in your Car's Carpet

The second simple repair is for a cigarette burn in the carpet of your car.   When ash from a cigarette falls to the carpet of your car it will burn or melt them flat.  That flat area is a hole or divot in the carpet.  You can easily hide that hole with only a razor blade and a tube of clear drying craft glue.  Please be careful when using a razor blade.

1. Cut away the hard melted part of the carpet burn.

2. Find a place you can reach under one of the seats.  

3. Use the razorblade to shave a small pile of the carpet felt from under the seat.

4. Place a few drops of glue into the carpet burn hole filling the hole.

5. Stuff the carpet fuzz into the hole, holding in place with your thumb to let the glue take hold.

6. Allow the glue to dry and you will have carpet fuzz in the spot that was only a hole before.


Surface Scratches on your Car's Plastic Panels

The third simple repair is for surface scratches in the side or rear hard plastic area of your car.  If they are superficial, these scratches can be easily removed.  If you own a heat gun to remove paint heat up metal parts already in your home then you can perform this simple repair procedure.  If you don't have one then an inexpensive heat gun can be purchased from your local hardware store for around $30.  Don't try this on metallic or patterned plastic panels.  And please use care with a heat gun so you don't burn yourself.

1. Turn on the heat gun and hold it about 4-6 inches from the scratch.  

2. Wave the heat gun back and forth over the scratched area. 

3. The heating of the plastic may melt the scratched area back into the original finish.

4. Be careful not to overheat the area.  You might want to find a little noticed area in the back of the car with similar plastic and practice the technique to get the feel for how much heat to apply.  If the area looks shiny, melted, or smokes, you have overheated the area.

5. If you do heat the plastic and the scratch comes out but gets shiny then you can go over the shiny area with some fine 600 grit sandpaper to cut down the shine.


Hope these repair solutions are helpful to you.  Let us know how they work out for you.  Even show us pictures of your work and we will share them with others.



If you need any more extensive auto interior repairs in the Baltimore/Washington area contact me here.



Last Updated on Thursday, 11 March 2010 15:37
BONUS: Repairing auto interior plastic, fabric and carpets too. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Chris Repp   
Sunday, 01 November 2009 21:02

While leather is our specialty, we repair many other surfaces inside your automobile.  Here are some examples of what else can be repaired by a leather pro who can also work on other areas of your automobile interior.

1. Fabric-  The seats, door panels and headliner all may be fabric on your automobile.  Over the years, I've seen snags, fraying, cuts, burns, stitching loose, staining, and more.  A good automotive interior repairman should be able to help you with any of these issues.  


Even rust staining on fabric can be removed.


Fabric seats with 1 or many cigarette burns, small or large can all be repaired.

2. Plastics- Door panels, dashes, consoles, tailgate areas and even some bumpers are all made of plastic materials that can be repaired.  Damages to plastic such as puncture holes, scratches, gouges, cracks can all be repaired.  Repairing such damages will save you both time and money on replacing the damaged parts.


Here is a common stress cracking problem to a plastic armrest.


This is a discolored area on the plastic edge of the rear lift-gate.  

3. Carpets-  Carpets in your car can really take a beating.  Whether discolored, torn, burnt or just stained, many carpet problems can be resolved by a good auto interior refinisher.

Discoloration on carpets can be redyed.


These are just a few examples of the many repairs that an auto interior repairman will face every day.  So when you have a good leather pro over to clean you leather sofa or car seats, check for any of these other problems and they may be able to help you with these issues as well.


Last Updated on Thursday, 12 November 2009 12:51
Repair Stories: Do-It-Yourself or Hire a Pro for your Porche Leather? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Chris Repp   
Saturday, 31 October 2009 15:15

      As a leather repairman, It may make sense that I try to talk folks out of repairing their own leather damage so they pay me to do it.  Instead, I have found that talking through each customer situation helps me build trust with them and find the best solution for their situation.  Sometimes the damages are simple enough to repair that a do-it-yourself option is actually your best option.  For instance, minor scuffs or scratches on a black leather car seat can certainly be repaired with a good touch-up kit and the right instruction.  Also, If the customer is at least a little "handy" and enjoys repair projects they can learn the skills and techniques for minor repairs.  On the other hand,  even when I offer a do-it-yourself solution some customers are not interested and would rather pay me for a professional job.  I am open to either option.

      For example, I recently did some restoration work on the front seats of a Porche.  Bruce in Annapolis is an avid Porche owner and somewhat handy guy.  He said he had gone onto a Porche message board, received a kit solution recomendation from someone there, and use the kit.  In fact, when the discoloration on the seat was minor he said that the kit was a good solution (though the color was a little off).  But he reached a point where he no longer felt the kit was helping and he hired me.  He payed me to come to his work in Annapolis and I did the work for him in about 2 hours.  Here are some pictures of the work:

  Here is Bruce's Porche drivers

seat before the repairs.  The dirty,

cracking leather, especially  on the

backrest bolster to the right of the

picture, was his main concern.











   Here is a picture from during

the process of repairing the leather.

I put it here just to show that sometimes the

more complicated process of professional

repair is a bit much for the average

consumer. In this example I am using a

heat-cured leather repair compound to fill

the cracking in the bolster.  Then I will sand,

re-apply the compond, re-sand, clean,

match and apply color then finally apply

a clear topcoat.






  Here is the completed leather repair. 

Not a great picture, but you can see

the clean, smooth bolster.  Such result

would be difficult with an average leather

touch-up kit.  Again, I find that encouraging

people toward do-it-yourself kits is sometimes

appropriate.  But not always.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 November 2009 12:51
Auto Leather Repair... in 48 Days? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Chris Repp   
Friday, 23 October 2009 15:00



If you've been around the site you know that I'm not here to toot my own horn.  But this refferal is an example of auto leather repair that I think I can use to teach the rest of you.  I'm also pleased about referal cause this guy is a mentor of mine.  I was recently at the home/ training facility of life coach Dan Miller learning about having a great business.  As a force of habit, I peeked in the window of his wife Joanne's Jaguar.  The car was beautiful but the leather was worn.  So I mentioned it to them and Joanne said how much she hated that the leather was worn.  So the next time I was in town I got to do the work for them.  Here's what they thought of the results:

"My wife Joanne accidentally bleached the color out of a section in the back seat of her beautiful white Jaguar.  She was mortified and embarrassed.  Then Chris showed up to save the day.  In about 45 minutes he totally restored the beauty and elegance of that seat.  We were amazed at the quality of his work and forever grateful for his unique skill."    Dan Miller, author 48 Days to the Work You Love

Thanks for the kudo's Dan and Joanne.   Joanne confided that she had used degreaser to clean the dirty seats.  I know for a fact Joanne is a great, gentle lady with people but everyone else, please be more gentle with your leather or you'll need to call me too.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 November 2009 15:50

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