It would be a rude understatement to say that cigarette burns look nasty. Since you’re reading this article, I assume your car seats have them.
No worries, there’s a way to fix that, and it’s quick and inexpensive. Did I mention that it’s easy to do? It’s pretty easy, and the result will blow your mind! Really, you’ll hardly even notice that there were any burns.
With that being said, let me explain how you can do it!
The Seats’ Material
The burn repair methods differ according to the material that covers the seats. Namely, there are three methods: one for vinyl/leather and two for fabric seats. I explained all of them, and you can read about them below.
Repairing Cigarette Burns In Vinyl and Leather Seats
What you’ll need:
- Scalpel or a razor
- A cloth patch
- A pair of tweezers
- Flexible glue
- Q-tip or a knife
- Vinyl paint or leather pigment
- The first thing that you have to do is remove the burned leather (or vinyl) from the edges of the burn hole. Using a scalpel or a razor, start cutting off the burnt parts while trying not to make the hole larger. Take things slowly and try to be laser-precise.
- Get a piece of cloth and cut out a patch slightly larger than the hole you’re trying to fix. Push the patch into the hole with a pair of tweezers, and make sure to submerge it. No cloth should be spilling over the edge of the hole.
- Using the tweezers, push the edges of the cloth under the leather. Ideally, there should be no bunching beneath the leather, and the cloth should lay flat.
- Spread a layer of glue under the hole’s edges. Depending on the size of the hole, you can apply the glue with something petite like a q-tip or something bigger like a knife. Press the outer edges so that the glue spreads out and impregnates the materials. Let it dry for a few minutes, or use a blow dryer to dry it faster. Just don’t point the dryer directly into the glue, but direct it so that it blows across the surface.
- Get some flexible glue and squeeze a bit into the hole. Spread it out evenly so that it reaches the edges of the hole, and then let it dry. Once it’s dry, add another layer and then another until you top out the hole.
- Take a piece of sandpaper and sand the glue until it is on the same level as the edges. Do it gently not to damage the surface around the hole. Also, if you apply too much pressure, you might scratch away too much glue, and you’d have to apply another layer. Take it slowly.
- For a leather seat, you’ll need a leather pigment that matches your seats’ color. Apply it to the hole and smudge it around with a sponge. Let it dry completely, and then put some leather conditioner on it.
- For a vinyl seat, get some vinyl spray paint. Spray a bit of it across the hole. Make sure not to apply too much, as this would cause drippage. Let it dry!
Repairing Cigarette Burns In Fabric Seats
Burn holes in fabric (or cloth) seats can be repaired in two ways. The first one is easier, possibly quicker, and requires no particular skill. The second way requires some weaving, which not everyone knows how to do, but it yields better results.
I will present both methods below, and you opt for the one that suits you more.
What you’ll need:
- Scalpel or razor
- Glue (fabric)
- The first thing you’ll need to do here is to get some fibers that match those of the seat. It is best to take them from an inconspicuous spot, like the bottom of the seat. Another great place would be underneath the plastic paneling near the door. If you go for the latter, here’s how you can remove the paneling:
- Inspect the place where the panels meet the door and see if there’s any weather stripping. If yes, then remove the weather stripping.
- Look for the fastener clips between the door and the panel in the creases between two panels. Gently remove the paneling at the clips. It might take some time to find them, so be patient. Do not use too much force to avoid bending the plastic.
- Once the paneling is off, shave off some fibers with a razor. Collect the amount needed to cover the hole. Try not to cut into the fabric, but skim off the fabric instead.
- After you’ve got the fabric, put the paneling back in place. A snap of the fastener clips signals a successful reinstallment.
- Apply some fabric glue at the bottom of the burn hole. Add just a bit because you don’t want to fill the hole with glue entirely. Then, add a thin layer of the fabric you cut out and gently pat it into the glue. Repeat this process until you fill the hole to the top. Once it is level with the seat, let it dry.
What you’ll need:
- Razor or scalpel
- Scissors (optional)
- Trim away the burned edges of the hole with a scalpel or razor. You can even do it with scissors if they’re sharp enough.
- Find a thread that’s identical (or nearly identical) to the fabric of the seats. Start weaving the area around the hole. The ideal place to start would be about a third of an inch from the hole’s edges. This may take some skill, so if you don’t know how to weave, find someone who does.
- Tie both ends of the thread to get a clean finish, and voila!
Car Seat Repair Kits
The methods that I described above are kind of DIY, make-do-with-what-you-have approaches to car seat fixing. However, there are premade repair kits available for purchase. You can usually find them in home improvement stores, or order them online.
There are different kits for different types of seats (leather, vinyl, cloth), and they’re usually inexpensive. For reference, the prices range from $14 to $30.
Is it necessary to use them? In my opinion, no. Most of us already have much of what’s needed to fix a burn hole at home. I wouldn’t advise against trying these kits out if you really want to, though.
As you can see, fixing burn holes isn’t that hard. It can be done by pretty much anyone and shouldn’t take a long time. Of course, this depends on how many holes there are in your seats! Know that the seat will never look as good as new.
You’ll notice the spots where the holes were, but the person riding with you probably won’t! The important thing is that you will be able to leave a good impression with your car, without spending tons of cash on repairs.
I am Dave McCurdy I am the content developer on the ecodrivingusa.com website. I have 6 years of experience in marketing as an automotive major.