Summer Heat On Leather Car Seats: 7 Things You didn’t know

Leather car seats have that expensive and luxurious look to them, and this is why most of the best cars in the world always have them in their latest vehicles. Even though they look great they can get hot in the summer time!

Here Is Why Leather Is Always Gets Hot In Summer:

There are lots of factors to a leather car seat getting hot and this includes colour and material. Leather is way hotter than other materials including vinyl, wool and cloth fabrics, and this is a fact if you were to compare them together.

Throughout this article we are going to give you all the reasons why leather seats get hot and comparisons to other fabrics, and best ways to keep them cool on those scorching days. Thanks for reading.

Why Leather Car Seats Are Always Hot

If you have leather car seats, then you should know about the inconvenience of getting a sticky and sweaty backside every time you drive in summer. Though leather is durable and gives an expensive look to your car, it gets hot even for a short drive.

The reason why leather car seats get hot is the same reason why black clothing absorbs heat in summer. The visible colour spectrum is divided into 7 colours, of which red, orange, and yellow are the hottest colours while blue and green are the coolest.

Black reflects all colours while all other colours reflect some part of the visible light spectrum. Since black absorbs all visible light spectrum, it absorbs the heat emanating from the sun and becomes hot. The same reason is applicable to leather car seats as well.

However, leather car seats absorb heat not only from the sun but also from inside the vehicle. The heat that it absorbs is then made worse by the heat produced by a person’s body and chemical reactions in padding, e.g., breakdown of textile fibers. As the temperature goes higher, more perspiration flows from the skin which makes your back even wetter and stickier.

Leather seats tend to absorb more heat than any other material because of their porous nature. The fine pores in leather let perspiration go through deep inside the material. Heat is preserved in these fine pores and makes the leather hot. Heat is also absorbed from a person’s body while sitting on this seat.

1. Black Absorbs Heat In The Car Seat

The scientific reason behind why black colour absorbs heat is the same as mentioned in the previous section. Black reflects almost no light while almost all other colours reflect some part of the light spectrum.

Since black absorbs all light spectrum, it absorbs the heat in the form of infrared radiation emitted from the sun and becomes hot. Our body also radiates heat which is then absorbed by the black car seat and makes it hot for us to sit on.

Here is a great article I have written on how black absorbs heat in your car seat.

2. Leather is Hotter Than Cloth Car Seat

Cloth is more porous than leather, which means it doesn’t absorb perspiration as much. Heat is also not retained in cloth as much. Also, since cloth has a higher heat capacity, the heat coming from inside the vehicle or person’s body gets spread out quickly by air circulation around the seat.

3. Leather Is Hotter Than Vinyl Car Seat

Vinyl car seats are usually made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This material has a lower heat capacity and higher thermal conductivity than leather. Heat quickly gets transferred to the seat and then spread out into the environment by air circulation, making the seat cooler.

Vinyl car seats are also very light as compared to leather. Vinyl has a lower heat capacity as well as thermal conductivity, which makes it absorb heat faster and then spread the heat out quickly. The non-porous nature of vinyl also makes it a poor heat absorber.

4. Leather Is Hotter Than Woolen Car Seat

Wool absorbs perspiration very well and quickly spreads the heat around the seat by air circulation to cool it down. Wool is a good insulator and has high heat capacity, but its thermal conductivity is very low. The result of these physical properties is that heat is absorbed from a person’s body and spread out in the environment by air circulation.

5. Brown/Tan Absorbs Heat In The Car Seat

Brown and tan seats do absorb heat in the car seat. Heat absorption is an especially big problem in cars with dark interiors.

The reason why brown/tan absorbs heat is that there are metal particles mixed into the leather. These metals include chromium, nickel, and aluminum oxide. These metals help to give the leather strength and durability. Unfortunately, these metal particles also absorb heat very well-meaning that they will heat up the car seat.

In addition to metal particles, the dye used for brown and tan-colored leather absorbs heat as well. This means that if your car seat color is either brown or tan then you would be particularly vulnerable to heat absorption resulting from sitting in a hot car.

6. Leather is Hotter Than Polyester Car Seat

The reason why polyester car seats are less hot is that the material does not absorb heat at all. This means that you will be able to stay cool even if you sit on it for hours, and your sweat will evaporate quickly, allowing you to keep fresh throughout.

Leather seats tend to do just the opposite; they absorb more heat than other materials, meaning that you will end up sweating even more if you sit on them for extended periods of time.

Lighter Colours Including White Absorb Heat

The physics behind this phenomenon is simple. A dark colour absorbs light waves, which are then transformed into heat energy. The more intense the colour of your car seat, the stronger its capacity to absorb heat.

Light colours reflect light waves away from your leather car seats and therefore do not transform them into heat energy as easily as darker colours. That is why lighter colours including white absorb heat in the car seat to a lesser extent than darker colours.

Inside the car, this light is not reflected back to the atmosphere, most of it gets retained inside the vehicle and heats up. This heat stays trapped even in light colours and also in darker colours too. The only difference is that in a lighter colour this heat gets retained to a lesser extent.

How Do You Keep Your Leather Cool in Summer?

There are several ways to keep your leather car seats cool during summer:

Leave Your Car Windows Slightly Open

In summers, it is a good idea to keep your car windows slightly open or cracked instead of keeping the AC switched on. This allows for fresh air inside your vehicle which results in cooling down of the leather car seats. In winter, keep the AC switched on and keep the windows closed.

Install Solar-Powered Fans

In some cars, you have a provision to install an additional fan that sucks out the hot air from the leather car seat and releases it back into the atmosphere. You can buy a solar-powered fan for this purpose. This way your leather car seat gets a fresh cool air supply just like in summers.

Use Your Car AC

Some car manufacturers make leather car seat covers like fabric car seats, which can be used in summers as well as winters. If your car cannot be fitted with such an AC alternative for summer, you can always keep the AC switched on to keep your leather cool during summer.

Park Your Car In A Shaded Area

If you live in a region where temperatures may rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit during summer, it is recommended that you park your car under trees. This way the sun cannot come down directly on your leather car seats and results in lowering of the temperature there.

What is the Best Way to Protect Your Leather Seats From the Sun?

It is important that you protect your leather car seats from the sun. There are various ways you can do it:

1. Sun Visor

A sun visor is a type of visor that is fitted to the front windscreen of a car. It is designed to protect the driver from the sun and can be folded down when not in use.

The main function of a sun visor is to block the sun’s rays from directly entering the front windscreen and striking the driver. Typically made out of plastic, sun visors are typically constructed in one piece that spans the width of the cabin. Sun visors usually have transparent panels on both sides so drivers can see outside even when they are lowered.

2. Tinted Windows

Car windows should be tinted to reduce the excessive amount of infrared rays and ultraviolet light that enter the car. These rays will make leather seats hot in summer, affect driving safety, and can lead to vision problems. Typically, tinting is done by professionals in an automobile shop or at a car dealership. You should ensure that the windshield is tinted with a high-quality film.

3. Cover The Seats

You can purchase some products to keep your car seats cool in summer that are specially made for covering leather car seats. Seat covers are designed for cars that do not have any built-in seat cooling systems. With these seat covers, you can reduce the heat in your seats, which in turn will help you to reduce the temperature of your car during hot days.

4. Leather Conditioner

You can use a leather conditioner to keep your car leather cool in summer. This is often done by applying the conditioner on the seats and other exposed parts of the interior before turning on the air conditioning or leaving your car parked in direct sunlight.

You should wipe off any excess with a soft, dry cloth after 10-15 minutes. The leather conditioner will help to reduce the heat in your car, which will also allow you to reduce the heat generated by the air conditioning system.

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