What can damage my car interior's upholstery?

Prevention is the best defense
by Joey Bernardez | Jul 11, 2018

The interior of a car is where we spend all of our time driving. Naturally, in our desire to keep our cars looking fresh and new for as long as possible, we should put an even greater premium on the cabin's condition. Here are a few things that can damage it, and what we can do to avoid, minimize, and prevent that from happening.

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1) Sun damage

I put this at the top of the list because we are all affected by it, considering the climate in this part of the world. Heat and humidity can cause upholstery materials to shrink, dashboards to crack, and other surfaces to fade, dry out, and tear.

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As much as possible we want to park in a shaded area to reduce our car’s exposure to sun and heat. Now this is not always possible, so the next best thing we can do is to minimize the interior’s exposure to sun and heat by investing in high-quality tint that can reject harmful ultra-violet rays. Another thing we can do is to use cleaners and refresh the plastic parts using silicone-based protectants with UV protection.

2) Damage from liquids

Damage from liquids can come in a few forms: Staining from water or staining from food, drink, or vomit. Even just rain coming in from the doors, windows, or sunroof can cause stains on the upholstery. Make sure to always keep doors, windows, and sunroof closed whenever you leave your car. Accidents from water, food, drink, or even vomit, should be cleaned up immediately to reduce the chances of staining.

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3) Damage from passengers, pets, or cargo

You, your passengers, your pets, or even cargo that you load into your car can cause damage to the interior. And let's not forget about cigarette burns. The best thing you can do for this kind of damage is prevention. Tears and burns cannot be fixed without repair or replacement. Thus, if you regularly have passengers, pets, or cargo that can damage cabin parts, the best prevention is to protect the interior by lining it. For your car's carpets, there are many kinds of floor mats and floor-liners these days that can protect them effectively. Although pricy, these are what are referred to as "3D floor liners." These are custom fit to particular vehicles and give the utmost protection to your car's carpets. For your seats, you can go to an upholsterer to get a set of seat covers that fit well to protect your upholstery.

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If you have children who eat and drink in the car, I suggest you get vinyl seat covers so that can be easily cleaned with a damp towel. Such seat covers can also protect against cigarette burns if caught early enough.

The combination of a 3D floor liner and custom vinyl seat covers should protect your car’s upholstery and carpet from just about anything—your messiest friends or rowdy children included.

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PHOTO: Lexus
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