Leather seats are one of the most popular choices for a car seat, as they look good and are fabulous quality. But over time wrinkling can occur over the leather seat.
Here Are 8 common Problems With Wrinkling Leather Car Seats That Happen Over Time:
Throughout this article we will discuss the above problems with great detail so you can work out if this is happening on your car seats. And then some solutions to fix the wrinkling on your seat. Stay tuned!
Problems With Wrinkling Car Seats
a. Aging Leather
Leather is made from animal skin, and the quality of the leather is based on how young it was when slaughtered. The younger an animal is, the less likely it is to have any imperfections in its skin. As the animal ages after being killed for meat or leather, more blemishes can develop in its skin.
The internal structure of leather is made up of three layers: the top layer, the middle layer, and the bottom layer. The top layer is the most visible and is what we see when we look at leather. The middle layer is where the strength of the leather comes from, and the bottom layer is what protects the leather from moisture.
As leather ages, the top layer begins to wrinkle or crease. This is because of shrinkage in the middle layer, which gets smaller over time since it has nothing to hold its strength together. The bottom layer also shrinks, but not as much since it is not receiving any stress on it while the leather ages.
Even humans and other animals get wrinkled as they age, leather is worse as it is not alive and depends on preservatives to keep it in good condition.
As the chemicals added to the leather to preserve the material break down, it starts wrinkling.
b. Cold Weather
Cold weather can cause the leather to wrinkle because it shrinks the material, causing creases.
Sunlight does not penetrate deep into the material, so it cannot protect against damage caused by cold weather. Once the leather is exposed to cold temperatures, it takes months for the outer layer of skin to recover and return to its normal size. This is why leather car seats are covered in the winter with blankets or seat covers.
When it is cold leather contracts unevenly because of the extreme temperatures. As the outside of the leather shrinks, it pulls against itself and ripples.
Since leather is not like metal, it is hard for it to return to its original shape. Leather can be stretched easily, but it takes a long time to go back to its original condition.
This causes it to wrinkle because the middle layer cannot hold its strength together. The wrinkles remain visible unless the leather is restored.
c. Hot Weather
Leather absorbs heat because it is a porous material. The pores in the leather allow it to absorb the heat from the sun and then release it slowly. This is why leather seats get so hot in the summer sun.
The heat also causes the leather to expand, which makes it even more likely to wrinkle. Hot weather can also damage leather if it is exposed to the sun for too long.
The middle layer of skin begins to weaken, which causes the leather to crease and wrinkle. When it gets wet from humidity or sweat, it becomes harder for the material to return back to its original shape.
Hot weather also destroys the chemical preservatives in leather, which makes it more likely to wrinkle over time. When these chemicals get destroyed, the middle layer is no longer protected from the sun and cannot maintain its strength.
Leather absorbs water because it is a porous material, causing it to wrinkle. If this water is not dried immediately, it can damage the structure of the leather.
Remember that there are preservatives added to the leather which are chemicals. Water has a chemical structure of Hydrogen and Oxygen, therefore it reacts with the leather and can begin to destroy the chemicals that are added in order to preserve it.
Water also weakens the middle layer of skin, which cannot hold the strength to keep wrinkles away. Leather with water stains will wrinkle easily because the middle layer has been weakened by the water. If the leather gets wet, it is important to dry it thoroughly because the leather that remains damp will break down over time if it is not dried.
e. Incorrect Installation of Leather Cover
Leather seats are fitted with leather covers to keep them clean, which usually last around five years. It is important that you get these covers installed correctly in order for the seats to look good.
Reasons Why Incorrect Installation of Leather Cover Cause Wrinkling:
1. Allows water to seep into the leather causing wrinkles. When leather is stressed, it forms small cracks which allow water to seep in. Water reacts with the chemical preservatives in leather, causing it to wrinkle.
2. Allows dirt to accumulate in the leather, which causes damage to the material. The middle layer of skin is rubbed away because of the dirt, creating creases and wrinkles in the seat.
3. Does not allow proper air circulation to cool down or warm up correctly. This causes heavy dew to form on the seat.
Dirt or anything that is embedded in the leather will cause damage to the leather’s surface, which in turn causes wrinkling.
Ways in Which Dirt Cause Wrinkling:
1. As dirt builds up on leather it forms hard spots, which makes the leather weaker. Because of this dirt that is embedded into the leather, the middle layer cannot hold its strength together and wrinkles are formed. The middle layer of skin is rubbed away because of the dirt, creating creases and wrinkles in the seat.
2. As the leather becomes exposed to dirt it begins to dry out which causes its surface to harden and crack. This makes an indentation on the leather that holds the strength of the middle layer together and it cannot hold its shape causing wrinkles.
3. Dirt can scratch or damage the surface of the leather with sharp objects, causing permanent damage to the material’s appearance.
Humidity causes both hot and cold weather to damage leather. It can also cause water stains on the leather. When humidity seeps onto leather it creates a film over the surface of the material, which hinders air circulation around it.
The chemicals in leather break down because of humidity, therefore damaging the strength of the middle layer of skin, which will make it more susceptible to wrinkling.
Also, when humidity seeps onto leather it creates a film over the surface of the material, which hinders air circulation around it. This makes the surface hot because air cannot escape through the leather’s pores so the heat builds up underneath it causing noticeable wrinkles.
When humidity is high in the air, leather absorbs this moisture instead of repelling it like most synthetic materials. When leather absorbs humidity, it weakens the middle layer of skin causing wrinkles to form in the material.
It is good to cover and protect leather seats from humidity and water, because it will help prevent wrinkles and other damage to the material.
Methods to Fix the Wrinkles in Your Leather Car Seat
1. Clean Leather
Clean your leather thoroughly and make sure there is no dirt or grime left on the seat. Use soapy water and a clean sponge to scrub the area and make sure it is completely free of dirt. Make sure that you do not use water with other impurities as this would damage your leather by eroding the chemicals in it
When washing leather, use lukewarm water and a soft cloth to gently wipe the area. You can use a leather cleaner and conditioner on your seat so it does not get damaged from soap residue. The leather care product will nourish the material so it does not dry out and wrinkle.
Make sure that you are thorough when washing your leather because even small dirt particles embedded in the material can cause damage to its chemical preservative which is essential for preventing wrinkles.
2. Dry Thoroughly
Use a heat gun to dry out leather. When the material is dry, it will be less likely for any humidity in the air that seeps into your car’s seat to cause damage.
Wipe away excess water with a clean cloth and then use the heat gun to blow hot air onto both sides of your seat. The hot air will evaporate all moisture on the side of the leather you are working on. Keep moving your heat gun back and forth to make sure that all areas of your seat are dried out.
1. Place Hot Towel Over Seat
A hot towel placed over the leather seat will warm up the material and allow it to be manipulated easier. It will also relax any wrinkles that are in the middle layer of skin that form because of humidity, cold weather, or dirt build up.
First, wet a hand towel with scalding hot water and then squeeze out the excess water. Place the towel over the leather seat and get a piece of plastic that will cover the surface of the seat where you are going to iron the towel. Make sure that it is a thick piece of plastic so you can easily smooth out wrinkles in your leather car seat.
2. Wipe Down With Soap and Water
After your hot towel has been sitting on the leather seat for a few minutes, take your plastic piece and dry off any excess water on the surface of the leather. Then simply wipe away all dust and dirt particles on the leather using your hand towel. Make sure you get rid of all of the dirt so it does not build up in between wrinkles or cause further damage to your car’s seat.
3. Use Hairdryer
If you do not have any plastic pieces to go over your leather, then use the hairdryer on it. Just be sure to gently hold the hairdryer away from the seat so it does not burn or melt anything. Make sure that you are very careful when using heat because it can seriously damage your car’s seat.
Leather seats wrinkle for a variety of reasons, but most often it is because the material absorbs humidity and the wrinkles form in the middle layer of skin.
You can use methods like hot towels and heat guns to try to fix the wrinkles, but it is best to prevent them from happening in the first place by cleaning and drying your leather seat thoroughly. Make sure you protect your leather from high levels of humidity and water so it does not absorb moisture and weaken over time.