Once there’s a tear in your car’s vinyl seating, it can quickly get worse and turn into bigger tears. And when you expose the underlying foam to sunlight, it’s going to start deteriorating. To prevent tears from getting worse, read on to learn how to fix tears in your car’s vinyl seats.
Note: Whichever vinyl repair kit you choose, you want it to match the original color and texture of the vinyl as much as possible.
Clean the Area
While it may seem unnecessary, ensuring the area is clean before a repair will help the compound adhere better and ensure that the overall finish is smoother. However, there are certain materials you should and shouldn’t use to clean your vinyl because they can easily deteriorate the fabric’s bond strength. Be sure to use a gentle and diluted soap with a damp towel, pat off excess moisture, and let the seat dry.
Trim Away Frayed Edges
If the edges are frayed or ragged, you’ll want a quality pair of scissors to trim those edges to make them as straight as possible. While you don’t have to use vinyl-cutting scissors specifically, you’ll want to make sure that the scissors are sharp to avoid creating more jagged edges. Conversely, be sure not to go overboard and make the tear bigger than it is.
Prepare and Place the Interior Anchor
A quality vinyl repair kit will come with some form of foam backing that goes under the tear to act as an anchor. When cutting the interior anchor, make sure the size is bigger than the tear itself, apply glue around the edges, and place it underneath. Allow this to dry completely once you set it in place; it doesn’t have to be perfect at this stage, just flat and sealed.
Apply the Compound or Paste
Depending on the kit you buy, it will come with a compound or paste that will allow you to “fill in” the tear. Use the applicator provided to apply multiple layers, allowing time to dry between each layer until it rises a little over the seating material. Once the material has set, sand the filler with a fine grit until it is smooth and as flush with the seat as possible, without actually sanding the original material itself.
Some kits may come with a sealant to ensure the filler material doesn’t rub off or degrade quickly. Also, if the texture of the seal seems off, you can use spray-on texture to help the patch match the original material. Just be sure to cover the area surrounding the tear and apply the spray on texture in short bursts to avoid overdoing it. Ideally, you’ll find a spray-on texture with a similar color to the fabric material. If not, you can use a vinyl spray paint that does match. While it may seem complicated at first, learning how to fix tears in your car’s vinyl seats is easy. And now that you know how to do it, you don’t have to spend extra money on repairs!