Whether you use your vehicle to transport construction materials, kids and grandkids, or simply spill a lot of coffee, you know how quickly factory seat covers become soiled. You only have three options if they’re beyond saving with upholstery cleaning and you want to brighten up your vehicle’s interior: Pay a skilled automobile upholsterer $1,000 to reupholster your seats, buy secondhand seats from a junkyard, or buy and install seat coverings yourself.
For a universal-fit style, aftermarket seat coverings start at $50 per seat, and top-of-the-line custom-fit covers start at $150 per seat. We’ll walk you through the process of ordering and installing custom-fit seat covers. The process is the same for all manufacturers and models. For front and rear seats, the job takes roughly two hours. To fish the straps under the plastic trim pieces, you’ll only need a wire coat hanger and some tape. The seat covers come with everything else.
There are two types of seat covers: universal and custom-fit. Universal seat covers can be purchased off the shelf at an auto parts store or ordered online. Seat covers that are made to fit your particular year, make, model, and seat style must be ordered. They cost a lot more than universal-fit seat covers. However, they are more comfortable, fit like a glove, and remain place when you slide in and out. Plus, if your car has side bolster air bags, custom-fit seat covers include breakaway stitching so the air bag can deploy correctly.
Universal seat covers simply remove the fabric that would ordinarily cover the seat air bags to avoid the air bag issue and save money. The underside of the cloth is then coated with an anti-skid rubber to prevent slipping. This makes them a little more difficult to sit on for long periods of time. And because they’re not a perfect fit for your chairs, they’ll inevitably fall out of place and wrinkle.
Officially approved designer camouflage and sports motifs are the most popular seat cover fabrics these days for some inexplicable reason we don’t comprehend. You’ll pay more for those patterns because the fabric designers get a royalty on every sale. If you want to save money, avoid the popular camo and sports fabrics and opt for a basic hue instead.
You can buy matching armrest and headrest coverings, console covers, seat back storage, and map pockets when you order custom-fit seat covers.
Retail and online car parts stores, as well as the manufacturer, sell custom-fit and universal seat coverings. An online search provided the custom-fit seat covers for this 2010 Subaru Outback. We took a chance and went for the popular Bill Jordan Realtree AP Snow camo pattern, as well as headrest covers.
These instructions will work with the majority of makes and models because most chairs are manufactured the same way. If the instructions provided by the seat cover manufacturer differ from ours, follow their instructions instead.
Starting with the front seat coverings is a good place to start. Unclip the bib panel straps from the springs or pull the elastic straps out from under the springs by following the bib panel straps. Then raise the bib panel to have access to the space between the back and bottom cushion.
Straps, buckles, and S-hooks are commonly used to secure the bottom seat cushion covers to the seat. Bottom cushion straps must be threaded through the gap between the seat back and the bottom cushions (where the back reclines). In older automobiles, this is simple. In recent automobiles, however, the gap is frequently filled with a “bib” panel. Don’t be concerned. It’s simple to detach the bib. Either clamps or an elastic strap attach it to the seat springs. Simply reach under the seat and undo the straps (Photo 1). Then lift the bib to have access to the opening.
After that, secure the seat cover to the bottom cushion and pull the back straps through the opening Tighten the straps by routing them toward the front buckles. Then tie the bungee cords together .Tuck the “skirt” of the puckered seat covers beneath the plastic trim pieces.
Headrests must be removed. Then place the cover over the rear cushion of the seat. Just like the bottom cushion, push the bottom straps through the opening and into the buckles. To remove creases, reconnect the bib panel and pull down on the back portion of the seat back cover. Then, to fasten the bib, attach the hook-loop edge to it. Reinstall the headrest covers on the chairs by stretching them over the headrest.
Then make your way to the backseats.
Thread the straps into the buckles and secure the cover to the bench seat. Tighten to a snug fit. Check the fit and make any necessary adjustments. Tighten the buckles, attach the bungee cords, and use S-hooks to connect the remaining straps to the springs.
Remove the bottom cushion first if your car has 60/40 rear bench seats. If your vehicle has bucket seats in the back, install them the same way you did the front. To remove a bench seat bottom cushion, locate the latch points by running your palm along the front edge. At the latch points, try jerking straight up. If the cushion does not release, raise it up, and push it straight back, to free it from the hook latches. Then remove the vehicle’s complete bottom cushion and place it on a bench. With straps and S-hooks, attach the bottom cushion seat cover . Remove the rear headrests and replace them with the rear seat back coverings. Use the connected hook-and-loop fasteners to keep it in place. Replace the headrests and add headrest covers.
You’ve completed the task.
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