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To dye or not to dye


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Never had dyed a seat before and don't have a present need but this picture I took from an eBay listing has me wondering... Would dying the seat (side bolster) below make the damage more pronounced or would it be an improvement? Would a repair to the area have to be done first before dying to get quality results?

I've read previous threads about dying seats but no mention of leather preparation. Does the leather below have to be in far worse shape before first prepping and then dying?





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Guest steveskyhawk


That seat looks like it is in pretty good shape with the exception of the one panel on the backrest. Dye will make it look better but wont help with the finish on the leather.

I found a good upholestry shop in Rialto that will probably replace that panel for a reasonable price.

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Leather can be redyed, and repaired - to a point. I had some exceptional repair done on the backseat cushion of my Deville years ago where it looked like cat claw scratches (ok, stop laughing about claw marks in the back seat of a Caddy, they were there when I bought it!) had scratched into the leather. The guy I used then used a flexible repair compound of some sort and recolored. Looked 98.5% like new, and good enough for the rear seat - which I (regrettably?) never use.

Results depend on the product used, proper prep, and skill of the technician doing the work; just as with most things. I would caution about repairing the panel shown in the original post. This is a very high wear point (gets friction every time you step in/out of the car as you slide over it) and a recoloring repair will not likely last long term, it will wear again prematurely.

This area of the seat back is best to have new matching leather sewn in by an upholstery shop. After repair, proper cleaning and conditioning of the leather is the best way to keep it from wearing again. I generally use Lexol brand cleaner and conditioner (two separate products, get a bottle of each) this will keep the leather soft and prevent breakup of the color layer.

If you are a bit more patient, another approach is to take a partial bar of scent-free Dove soap (maybe a 1/3 of a bar) and let it dissolve in a couple of quarts of water; this takes a while. Then use the resulting mixture to massage the leather clean with a soft sponge or rag, clean up the soapy residue with clear water then pat dry. Since Dove is mostly moisturizer, it conditions the leather well. This tip courtesy of an old car detailing guy I ran into a while ago. I've used it on the Deville and it does work well, just more time consuming. Costs less than the Lexol though. Edit: caution against using this on suede bolsters, for those who have them.


Edited by KDirk (see edit history)
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