What Do Auto Upholsterers Do?
Upholsterers, also known as trimmers, coach trimmers have been around since before motorised transportation. Traditionally limited to building the interiors and finery associated with horse drawn carriages, when cars began their rise in popularity many coach trimmers or upholsterers started in the auto industry by building custom interiors for auto manufacturers and wealthy clients. Today, auto upholsterers work on a wide range of vehicles from luxury and custom cars to everyday drivers.
Depending on the upholsterer’s expertise and experience, a modern auto upholsterer can perform a number of car upholstery repairs or other tasks, including:
Upholstery replacement – When the seat, carpet or interior trim of a vehicle is beyond replacement or when a customer wants a new interior, for a custom car for example, a talented auto upholsterer can replace the entire upholstery of a vehicle. In cases where only one component or section of a vehicle’s upholstery is being replaced, such as a damaged seat, an effective auto upholstery replacement job requires that the new material match the existing material as closely as possible.
Upholstery repair – If the damage to a vehicle’s upholstery is not too significant or widespread, experienced upholsterers can repair minor damages such as burns, rips and tears for a wide range of upholstery such as seat covers and headliners and materials including vinyl, plastic, leather, fabric and carpet. Interior carpets – In addition to the carpet you will find on the floor of most passenger cars and trucks, you can usually find a fair amount of carpet and other fabric in the boot as well. Automotive carpet is designed to be extremely durable and stain resistant, but the material can wear out or become damaged with regular wear and tear. Dashboards – While not every auto upholsterer will able to make repairs to dashboards, they may be able make repairs or cover up damage to this most noticeable part of a vehicle’s interior. Door panels – Doors and interior door panels get a lot of use and often take more abuse than other upholstery features, so it is not unusual for the fabric or other materials that cover them to become damaged or soiled.
Headliner repair – Because it is typically attached to the interior roof using adhesives, special steps usually need to be taken to repair a rippled, loose, ripped or sagging headliner.
Upholstery restoration – For owners of vintage or classic cars who wish to preserve their vehicles’ original equipment, replacing old upholstery with new isn’t always an option. An upholsterer with experience in upholstering classic and older vehicles may be able to preserve and improve that upholstery, making it look new again.
Custom upholstery – To achieve a truly custom, personalised look for your vehicle, one of the most effective options is to install custom upholstery. From custom embroidery to exotic leathers, a customer auto upholsterer or interior specialist can provide uniqueness and individuality to any ride.
Repairing and replacing convertible tops and fabric roof covers – Although the heavy-duty vinyl or canvas that comprises most convertible tops or fabric roof covers is designed to be waterproof, durable and long-lasting, over time the elements can take their toll. An auto upholsterer that provides convertible and fabric roof services can repair or replace these features.
Marine and boat upholstery – Although the basic premise of boat upholstery is the same as automotive, marine upholstery may require a specialist. Because boat cockpits and interiors, and bimini/canopy tops or canvas covers, are typically exposed frequently to water and UV degradation, marine-grade materials that are more durable, more water resistant or waterproof and resistant to UV degradation need to be used.
Keeping your car interior clean, including regular interior maintenance, can help ensure upholstery lasts longer and can prevent upholstery problems.
Like most people, you would probably rather not invest in the cost of an automotive upholsterer but while not every accident or spill can be avoided, keeping these tips in mind can help maintain your car upholstery.
Don’t smoke in your car – Smoking can cause serious damage to the interior of a car. In addition to the increased possibility of burns to vinyl surfaces, seat fabric and the carpet, smoke residue leaves behind an unsightly film and can cause your upholster to smell and discolour.
Clean up spills immediately – If and when you spill coffee, fizzy juice, milk or any other liquid in your car, make an effort to soak up as much of the spill as possible immediately. Carrying paper towels or an old towel in your car can help you react and prevent stains quickly.
Run the vacuum – Vacuuming out your vehicle on a regular basis, ideally once every week, can help prevent dirt, dust and debris from getting ground down into carpeted floors or between seat cushions.
Shampoo regularly – Try to keep on a schedule with giving your carpet and fabric a deep clean, too. Once every few months, give your cars upholstered floors and seats a shampoo to extricate dirt or strains. Carpet shampoo products are available at most auto retailers, but you can also pay for this option at many full-service car washes or valeters.
Work the leather – If your vehicle is equipped with leather seats and other interior trim details, don’t forget to condition the leather on a regular basis. While synthetic fabrics and carpets have been engineered to resist constant exposure to sunlight and extreme conditions, natural leather can become brittle or weak over time. You can find vehicle leather conditioner at most car retailers and feeding the leather on a regular basis will help prevent cracking which is caused by wear & tear.
Watch what you carry – Transporting large objects with sharp edges can puncture seats, rip upholstery and dent plastic or vinyl trim pieces. Transporting animals can also potentially damage your vehicles upholstery, as fur can become lodged in fabric and carpet and nails or claws can cause scratches, rips, tears or holes.