Automotive Interiors: Car Seats - Which Material is Right for You?

It's estimated that the average American drives about 37 miles per day, or some 13,476 per year. Furthermore, over these 13,476 miles that the average person drives per year, it's estimated that 34 hours of it are spent in busy, congested traffic conditions. Yes, we all spend a lot of time in the car. And that's what brings us to a somewhat under appreciated, but vital piece, of the vehicle interior - the car seat. Specifically, what the car seat is made of. Materials range from luxurious to standard, from leather to vinyl, from easy to maintain and difficult to maintain.

Here's a look at some of the most popular car seat materials so you can decide which is best for you and your situation - especially if you're among the average driver crowd that is sitting in some 34 hours of traffic congestion each year.

Leather

Of all the car seat materials, it is leather that is the most comfortable. Often considered an upgrade on any car that is purchased, leather helps provide extra cushion due to its thickness and support and also helps absorb bumps in the road better than traditional seat materials.

Pros: There are several pros to leather seats, aside from just their comfortable feel. For one, they're easy to clean and maintain. They also provide a much nicer look to the interior of your vehicle. Additionally, leather seats can also help increase the retail value of your car, helping you pocket more money if you were to sell it or trade it in.

Cons: The biggest drawback of leather is its expense, as it costs considerably more than cloth or wool materials. Additionally, while it's an easy material to clean, it's a more sensitive material than other seating options. For instance, leather can get very hot in warm weather climates and seem uncomfortable in cold weather climates. Additionally, exposure to the sun and lack of proper care can prematurely fade or crack the color.

Vinyl

Most vehicles have some amount of vinyl in their interiors, whether it's the makeup of their entire seat, or just a part of their seat material. It comes in all types of colors and grains.

Pros: There are three big pros to vinyl material - it's affordable, easy to clean and maintain and durable. For instance, unlike leather materials, which can dry out and fade if cleaned with something other than a specific leather cleaner, vinyl can be cleaned with the typical household cleaning product. It's also a much cheaper option than leather, affordably priced and doesn't easily wear or tear.

Cons: Despite the several advantages that vinyl provides, there are a couple of notable drawbacks. For instance, while it's durable, no fabric is immune to rips and cracks. And when that happens, vinyl can be somewhat difficult to repair. Additionally, vinyl isn't as comfortable as other materials like leather or cloth and some types of vinyl are somewhat cheap looking, which can impact the overall appearance of your car.

Wool

Wool is more common in older, classic cars, than it is in current makes and models. For instance, you'll likely find wool seats in cars from the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

Pros: The biggest pro to wool car seats is definitely its look, which is why it is so prevalent in older, classic cars. It's an old, classic look and the seats are also comfortable and warm.

Cons: There are several disadvantages to wool car seats. First of all, they can be somewhat hard to come by, as they're typically found in older, classic cars. So it's common for wool car seats to be priced more expensively than other options because there's less of a demand for them. Many people also have wool allergies, which can be a make-it or break-it deal when it comes to such materials.

Cloth

Cloth is the most popular material that car seats are made from - both the preferred material for most automakers as well as the choice material for drivers looking for new car seats. Here's a look at why:

Pros: First and foremost, cloth is a very comfortable material. Unlike leather, it doesn't overheat in the hot summer months and get overly cold in the winter. Secondly, it's also affordable, partially because it's widely available. And lastly, it's also a durable material. For instance, it's more resistance to scratches and tears, which makes it an attractive material for drivers with young children and pets.

Cons: While cloth seats are durable and resistant to scratches and tears, the material isn't long lasting. For instance, the seats don't stand the test of time and you'll likely have to replace the materials in your car if you own it for an extended period of time. That's because cloth materials wear out over time. Cloth also easily stains and doesn't look as good or as elegant as leather seats.

That was a look at some of the pros and cons of the most popular types of car seat materials. But in the end, the choice is yours. After all, you're likely going to be driving some 13,476 miles sitting on such materials. For more information, contact us today.

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