Are your car seats damaged or outdated? Refresh the interior of your car and give it a facelift by installing new car seat covers. Let us show you how to change and install car seat covers.
Changing and installing car seat covers: several options available
Is your vehicle still full of building materials? Do you transport children and grandchildren all day long in your car? Or are you used to spilling your coffee? In any case, you know how quickly the factory seat covers can look questionable.
If a simple upholstery cleaner is no longer enough to save them and you want to revamp the interior of your vehicle, only three options are available to you: Use the services of a mechanic to renovate the upholstery of your seats (well beyond $ 1,000), buy used seats from a scrap yard, or buy and install new covers yourself.
Aftermarket car seat covers cost as little as $50/piece for universal covers, or around $ 150 for high-end and custom covers. Here we show you how to order and install custom covers. The installation is the same regardless of the make and model. The operation takes approximately two hours in total for the front and rear seats. The only tools you will need are a metal hanger and some tape to get the straps under the plastic trim (if necessary). Everything else is included with the seat covers.
Car seat covers 101
There are two kinds of seat covers: the universal style and the tailor-made. You can buy universal seat covers from an auto parts store directly, or order them online. Custom seat covers should be ordered to exactly match the year, brand, model and style of your seats. They are much more expensive than universal seat covers. But they fit like gloves, stay in place when you get in and out of the vehicle and are more comfortable. In addition, custom seat covers have special seams that allow the airbag to deploy properly if your vehicle is equipped with side airbags.
To address the issue of airbags while maintaining a low cost, the manufacturers of universal seat covers have simply eliminated the fabric that normally covers the airbags integrated with the seats. Then, to make the covers less slippery, they coat the back of the fabric with non-slip rubber. It is, therefore, a little less uncomfortable to sit there for long periods of time. Finally, these covers will inevitably end up sliding out of their original location and forming folds, because they are not perfectly adjusted to your seats.
For a strange reason that escapes us, the most popular fabrics for seat covers at the moment are camouflage patterns and 100% designer sports prints. Since textile designers receive a profit for each sale, these patterns will, therefore, cost you more. If you don’t want to spend too much, forget about trendy camouflage and sports fabrics in favor of a solid color.
If you order custom seat covers, you will also have the option of ordering armrest and headrest covers, console covers, storage pockets for the back of the seats as well as storage for road maps, all to match your covers.
You can buy custom and universal seat covers in auto parts stores, online, or directly from the manufacturer.
Tools and materials needed for this project
• Set of seat covers
• Metal hanger
First, here is how to install car seat covers when you choose a new one
1. The front car seat covers first
To change and install car seat covers, first follow the flap panel straps and detach them from their springs or pull the elastic bands out from under the springs. Then lift the flap to gain access to the space between the back cushion and the bottom cushion.
2. Thread the straps through the hole
Pass the bottom cushion straps through the space between the back of the seat and the bottom cushion. Then pull fully on the straps until the seat cover is tight.
3. Attach the straps of the car seat cushion
Route the bottom cushion straps toward the front of the seat, making sure the straps do not interfere with the car seat adjustment mechanism. Thread the strap through the loop and tie it tight to remove the folds from the cover.
4. Tighten and attach the elastic tensioners
Pull the elastic bands to properly adjust the outline of the cover towards the bottom of the seat. Then attach the ends using the S hooks provided.
5. Install the back cover
Pull the cover down until it reaches the side bolsters (cushions). Then compress the bolster while you pull the fabric down.
6. Install the headrest covers for your car seats
Stretch the elastic edges around the headrest and pull them down. Pull the fabric of the cover until it fits snugly around the headrest.
The seat cushion covers are generally attached to the seat using straps, buckles, and S hooks. You will have to thread the seat straps through the space between the backrest and the seat. ‘seat (where the backrest reclines). This is an easy operation on older vehicles. However, the space in newer vehicles is generally covered by a flap panel. Don’t worry: this flap is easy to remove. It is attached to the seat springs using clips or an elastic strap. Just slip one hand under the seat and loosen the straps. Then lift the flap to gain access to space.
Then adjust the seat cover to the seat and thread the rear straps through space.
Route the straps to the loops on the front and tighten them.
Then attach the elastic bands. Tuck the gathered edge of the cover under the plastic trim panels (if applicable).
Remove the headrests. Then slide the cover over the back cushion. Pass the lower straps through space and inside the buckles, as you did for the seat cushion.
Replace the flap panel and pull the back of the back cover to remove the creases. Then attach the velcro edge to the flap to secure it. Tighten the covers of the headrests then reinstall them on the seats.
7. Install a cover on the back seat of your automobile.
Adjust the cover on the bench and thread the straps into the buckles. Tighten well. Check the adjustment and modify it if necessary. Then tighten the buckles, attach the elastic bands and attach the remaining straps to the springs using the S hooks.
If your vehicle has 60/40 rear bench seats, remove the seat cushions first. If you have bucket seats in the rear, install them in the same way as the front seats. To remove the seat cushion from a back seat, run your hand along the front edge to locate the attachment points. Try to shoot directly at the attachment points.
If the cushion does not come out, push it back while lifting it up to release it from its attachments. Then remove the entire seat cushion from the vehicle and place it on a bench. Install the seat cushion cover with straps and S-hooks. Remove the rear headrests and put the back covers on the seatbacks. Attach them with the Velcro fasteners. Add the headrest covers and replace the headrests. There it’s finished!
Additions: heating pad and lumbar support
If your vehicle was not already equipped with seat heaters, now is the time to add some.
Electric seat heaters are accessories that fit between your seat cushions and new seat covers and are attached with elastic bands and straps. The seat heating control is connected to a cigarette lighter or an electrical outlet. The model is shown here (ProHeat cushion and controller; around $ 85 on mexicotrucker.com) has an adjustable heat device and an automatic shutdown function to avoid draining the battery (in case you forget to turn it off).
And, if you want lumbar support, slide this device (about $ 70 on mexicotrucker.com) under the cover of the backrest before attaching it. Route the pump and hose so that they come out to the side.
Once the seat covers are completely installed, adjust the firmness of the support using the pump.