Tear in the cloth of my driver's seat.
June 25, 2010 11:43 AM   Subscribe

I've got a small (2-3 inch) tear in the cloth of the driver's seat of my car. Is there a "best practices" way to make sure this doesn't expand and require me to have the whole seat reupholstered?

I'm not overly concerned about aesthetics, as the car has 95k miles on it and I'm planning on driving it until it dies, but I'd really rather not have the tear expand and have foam popping out. I'm not terribly handy with a needle, but I know some people who are that I can work something out with if that's the best option. I'd really just like to take care of this and forget about it until another rip appears. Thanks.
posted by Ufez Jones to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What about an iron-on patch? You'd have to get an iron out to your car, and it might melt the foam a little, but...

(I was just noticing a tear in my seat this morning, and wondering how to avoid the orange foam mess that my last car became.)
posted by notsnot at 11:49 AM on June 25, 2010

What if you stuck some newspaper or kevlar or something under the hole, then tried the iron on patch?

There are some possibilities in this straight dope thread, including going to a junkyard and doing a seat upgrade for $75.
posted by mecran01 at 11:52 AM on June 25, 2010

Best answer: Duct tape over the rip and add seat covers. If the tear happened because the fabric has become weakened by long-term exposure to sun, you'll soon have more rips.
posted by jamaro at 12:05 PM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm not overly concerned about aesthetics, as the car has 95k miles on it and I'm planning on driving it until it dies

Duct tape or gaffer's tape will sort you out just fine.
posted by Jon-o at 12:14 PM on June 25, 2010

Best answer: Seat cover. When Mrs. Plinth's '90 Miata showed its age, we put on neoprene covers. They fit well enough and did the job.
posted by plinth at 12:17 PM on June 25, 2010

I'd use an iron on patch and a curved needle. Fish the patch though the tear adhesive side up. Close up the tear with the curved needle. Iron the patch. Use the curved needle to stitch the edges of the patch to the seat.

Doing the above will close the tear and reinforce the stitching so it doesn't tear out. If the seat torn because of UV damage and not mechanical damage then I'd invest in a set of seat covers. Good ones with automotive quality cloth are available for ~$100 or you can get an upolstery shop to make you a set for a bit more.
posted by Mitheral at 12:18 PM on June 25, 2010

Darn it
posted by TedW at 12:21 PM on June 25, 2010

Response by poster: Huh. I hadn't considered that sun exposure was a factor, but yeah, it's been parked outside for pretty much 99% of the last six years. I reckon I'll throw some duct tape on there for now and start hunting around for seat covers. I guess they'll be a good investment since I'm planning on driving the car for the next few years.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:31 PM on June 25, 2010

Don't use duct tape. Been there, done that, it will curl up and start sticking to you.
posted by Ferrari328 at 12:33 PM on June 25, 2010

I would also suggest not going the duct tape route. Especially if it's in the sun all the time. The first thing the duct tape will do is get melty-sticky and stick to anything that touches it. And then it will dry out and the adhesive will start flaking off, leaving you with some lovely cancer-dust all over your car and a useless strip of plastic and fabric that no longer sticks to your seat.

I'd get some super glue and use it to seal off the edges of the rip, with big gobs at the ends to stop it from ripping back more. Nail polish might also work if you don't want to go get super glue. And then I would sew it, but that's just me. Seat covers are also a good suggestion, but I would definitely stop the rip with the super glue as a first step.
posted by phunniemee at 12:40 PM on June 25, 2010

Freycheck all around the edges of the tear.
posted by fifilaru at 12:43 PM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

A goretex patch is self sticking, and probably won't be as nasty looking as duct tape. You can strengthen the edges by using some seam sealer.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 1:36 PM on June 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

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