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Car Seat Repair


My 2003 Toyota Avalon XLS has gray leather seats with some tearing in the driver’s seat. I have taken it to a couple upholsterers and the best price I can get for the repair is $350.

I’m a DIYer, and I can’t believe (or stomach) spending that much on what seems like an injury that runs only “skin-deep.” I don’t need the seat to look absolutely perfect, I just want it to not look painfully obvious that a repair has been done.

Tips or experience? :slightly_smiling_face:

Seat covers.


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Don’t you think that you have understated the extent of the damage… just a bit? :wink:
“Torn-up” would be a much more accurate description, IMHO.

In any event, unless you are skilled at this type of upholstery work, I don’t see any alternative to having it done by a professional. I think you should visit as many shops as possible, in search of a lower price.

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I mean, my thought is this: can’t I find at a PepBoys or Home Depot or some place like that a few thin gray leather (or pleather or vinyl) “squares” and just basically paste them in? Don’t these things exist?

Good luck. That is the most stressed part of the seat. A patch will have to endure constant stretching forces through great temperature extremes. I don’t see anything other than a replacement panel sewn in surviving very long. And then matching the color and texture, it will be quite noticeable. A new seat bottom cover is the wise choice for repair imo. Why not buy the new covers and install yourself to save some money if it makes you feel better? It’s not hard but some tools like hog ring pliers make it less frustrating.


I agree with @TwinTurbo. Get new covers that match the existing ones. It won’t be an exact match due to age and wear, but the closest you can get is replacement Lexus covers.

Thank you guys! I knew I would be able to find some good advice here. :slight_smile:

Do you have links to the covers you’re talking about and to tutorials that show how to do what you are describing? I am a complete novice, but am ready, eager and willing to learn!

I should note as well that it is a heated seat, so that is one additional thing I’m curious about, how to make sure the heat still “works” through the replacement cover/repair.

Google seat covers just like we would have to do . Also google seat cover videos .
Frankly I don’t under stand why you don’t want this repair done by professionals . It is not like you are driving a old Junker.

Amazon has tons of various covers made from various materials. Some are very inexpensive.

Blockquote Frankly I don’t under stand why you don’t want this repair done by professionals . It is not like you are driving a old Junker.

Frankly because I am interested in learning as much as I can about car repair. I like learning new things and if it is possible and practical to do things a) myself b) at the best price I can, then I would like to do that. I will also be repainting the car from blue to white, getting it done at Maaco for ~$1500 (the car has a few fairly significant dents/chips in the paints that they will have to buff out)…which I would love to do myself, but THAT does not seem practical, as much as I would love to.

So that’s why. :slight_smile:

Changing colors at Maaco for 1500.00 . I can almost guarantee that you will be disappointed after that is done .


I sure hope not. I know it’s a great price (I went to two Maaco’s, one of which was significantly more expensive - the assessor at the one Maaco who gave me the $1500 actually misquoted me - the manager actually reprimanded her afterwards but said he would honor it). And after going to more “reputable” body & paint shops, and hearing that it would be ~$4000, again I know this is a great price.

But unfortunately that’s what my budget can take at the moment.

So, again, I know I am taking some risks here…hoping they will pan out.

Thank you everyone for your advice regarding the seats (and paint I guess now :))…I am soaking it all in. Please keep it coming!

You could try to find a replacement seat at a salvage yard, but it would take some luck to find an exact match that is in good shape.

I think if you try to fix it yourself, or buy a quality seat cover (you’ll have to get two so the passenger seat matches), you will find out that $350 is a fair price considering the difficulty in labor and finding replacement materials.

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check if you can get a used seat cover or maybe entire seat for your model line

repainting 16-years old car with no collectors’ value?
I would say it is money thrown out.
if it is in so bad shape and you are itching to get it better… search for “rustoleum car paint job roller” on YouTube and I bet you will get it done in 1/10 of what you are quoted :slight_smile:

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Agree , plus changing color and saying limited budget . Does not make a lot of sense .


There’s proper car repair, and then there’s a hack. Replacing that hole with a clued-on patch is a hack. Any yokel can do a hack, so I wouldn’t consider it learning anything.

A proper repair is to replace the covering. This is a skill set that might be difficult to learn on your own. Too many places to screw up. Sure you could do it, but it might cost you more in the long run then just having it professionally repaired.

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If you like learning new things about car repair so much, do as I did and go buy an auto upholstery book and read it. Then as I did, take it to an upholstery shop and have them do it. Then you don’t need to worry about ordering matching material, taking the seat apart, making the patterns, getting a professional sewing machine to sew it all together, then installing it all maybe 40 hours later. $350 is a pretty good price.

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I ordered a set of Coverking front seat covers for a 2010 Cobalt. Good fit and in good shape at 9 years old. Not cheap though.

Ed B.

$350 for that repair is a good price. I would do that. Good sest covers will cost more.

$1500 for a color change will look just awful. You door jambs will still be blue as will the area around the trunk seal and underhood. The body will not be smooth because fixing those dings and dents is extra. They will wash the car, scuff the paint, mask and shoot color. It will look shiny when you pick it up but 3 weeks later it will look like some kid painted it with a roller as the paint shrinks when it cures.

If it were mine, I’d fix the seats, detail the paint and drive it 'till it drops.

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Another option may be if there is a PullAPart operation in your area. I’ve purchased seats from the one here in OK for 15 bucks each in very good condition.
Another option might be to check with LKQ on their website. They are a widespread PAP operation and while I’m not certain I believe theyh do ship items.