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Leather, Nylon, Polyester, or Vinyl: Which Car Upholstery is Superior?

Car Interior


Whether it’s commuting back and forth from work, embarking on a weekend adventure or doing the routine school run, many of us spend hours each and every day sitting in our cars. So, considering the vast amount of time you likely spend in your car, picking the most suitable car upholstery is among one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when purchasing a car.

Importance of Selecting The Right Car Upholstery. Selecting the right car upholstery is something which should be thoughtfully considered by all car owners, considering the massive impact the right car upholstery can have on overall driving enjoyment – it’s not simply or solely about aesthetics. The type of car upholstery chosen has the potential to add value to your car, enhance the look of your car and ensure maximum comfort. Not to mention, you’ll be able to reduce the need and frequency of maintenance and cleaning.

Types of Car Upholstery To Select From

The choice of car upholstery can be an overwhelming one, for the importance and finality of the ultimate decision and the number of critical factors one must consider. For instance, when selecting the type of upholstery for your car, it’s crucial to keep in mind the following:

  • Appearance
  • Affordability
  • Durability
  • Type of car you’re purchasing (or already own, if you’re reupholstering)
  • Ease of cleaning and maintenance
  • Lifestyle

Leather Upholstery

With its refined look and feel, leather signifies and offers car owners unrivalled luxury and elegance, and as a result, has long existed as the default choice when it comes to car interiors, particularly within the premium car market. Though, leather is suited to practically any vehicle type, and is guaranteed to add value to any type of car too. Beyond aesthetics and its incredible comfortable quality, leather is also a highly durable material, for it does not absorb water and stains as easily as other fabrics. So, although leather may represent one of the most expensive types of car upholstery available, when regularly and properly cared for, leather’s likely to outlast cloth fabrics. Though, leather interiors do require the most maintenance in comparison to any other types of upholstery, as well as especially designed cleaning products. As unlike other types of car upholstery, leather demands special care, owing to its high cost. Using cheap or unsuitable cleaning solutions on leather can strip the material of its natural oil and cause cracks when drying, in turn risking deteriorating the aesthetic of your car interior. 

Another factor to consider is that leather is not particularly conducive to the heat, as harmful UV rays can bake the leather seats of your cars, leaving the material brittle, not to mention it’s quite unpleasant for passengers. If you do choose leather, it is thus best to avoid parking your car outside in the direct sunlight. If that is, however not possible, or you simply wish to make your car cooler (in temperature and appearance) and more comfortable to drive,  window tinting your car is strongly considered. Learn about Novus’ window tinting service and its many benefits here. Lastly, the carbon intensive production of leather is far from an environmentally friendly undertaking, not to mention the leather seats in your car are typically made from cowhide.

leather seats novus

Nylon Upholstery

Available in an array of colours and patterns and capable of enduring UV rays, an alternative to leather is nylon. Renowned for its durability and impressive resistance to day to day wear and tear, nylon is generally long lasting. The cleaning process for nylon is also relatively straightforward, often simply requiring a brief vacuum to remove debris, and a sponge with warm water and a mild detergent. However, whilst the actual process may be simple, due to nylon’s porous nature, the material can easily and quickly become dirty, thus requiring fairly regular cleaning. Plus, whilst nylon is a highly practical choice, comfort is sacrificed.

Polyester Upholstery

Sharing many of the same properties as nylon, polyester is a very soft, comfortable fabric designed to look like and possess a similar texture to suede leather. Similar to nylon, polyester is too very porous, making it prone to staining. Unlike nylon, the cleaning of polyester is a little more difficult, as to remove accumulated dirt and debris effectively, a cleaning solution designed for microsuede is required, along with a damp cloth. Though the more regularly you clean polyester, the easier it will be to keep your interior in pristine condition. Notably, polyester can be steam cleaned.

nylon seating novus

Vinyl Upholstery

Last but not least, vinyl is an increasingly popular, cost-effective material being used in the interiors of cars. A major reason is as a non-porous, nearly waterproof material, vinyl does not trap dirt or debris, making it one of the easiest materials to keep clean – a damp cloth or cleaning towel to promptly manage any spills to prevent staining will do the trick! Beyond being incredibly low maintenance, vinyl is also highly durable, able to withstand heavy usage and often lasting years. Though, similar to leather, vinyl can become quite hot in the summer months, making your skin sweat.

Which Type of Car Upholstery Is Superior?

No one type of car upholstery is necessarily more superior than the other, each with their own advantages and disadvantages – the choice, ultimately is heavily dependent on you, on your lifestyle, and on your needs. As some materials are highly durable and easy to maintain, whilst others are more about style and comfort.

For instance, leather is ideal for those consumers seeking a refined, luxurious look and feeling, and are willing (and able) to afford the cost associated with leather upholstery, as well as take the necessary time to properly maintain and clean it. Leather, however, is not particularly suited to those owning a soft-top car, or who often, unavoidably have their car parked out in the sun.

Whereas vinyl is incredibly low maintenance and easy to clean, making is best for those with children, pets or consumers who simply often find the interior of their car requires regular cleaning, for one reason or another. Plus, vinyl is perfect when seeking a cost-effective option.

Alternatively, Nylon is best suited to those living in regions with a warmer climate or who often have their car parked out in the sun, as well as consumers who are willing to sacrifice comfort in favour of practicality.

In complete contrast, polyester is perfect for consumers who desire maximum comfort and are willing to go to the effort and take the necessary time to properly and regularly maintain and clean the upholstery.

Whichever type of car upholstery you select, on the basis of your personal needs and preferences, it’s vital you tailor your cleaning process accordingly to ensure your chosen car upholstery remains in pristine condition for as long as possible.

For more information on cleaning your vehicle properly, inside and out, and all the cleaning products you’ll need to do so, click here.

Novus Autoglass is a global brand in glass repair. Novus repairs and replaces broken and cracked windscreens efficiently using the latest technology to get you back on the road faster. Book in your service online or call 13 22 34 today to hear more about our services.

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