Recommendations for changing cloth seats to leather

we purchased a nice 2010 Toyota Highlander this summer. Nice vehicle and great ride. Now the wife wants to change the cloth seats to leather.

so we were going to just go to the local toyo dealer and have them do it. $1600 and we will be set. My question is, since we are doing this anyways, should we add seat warmers? is that a dependable item (aftermarkey wise)?

thanks for any input…and yes, we should have just purchased leather originally…dohh!!

Have the local toyo dealer put in factory bum warmers, since they will have the seats out. They should be able to get a factory add kit that uses the existing wiring harness and OEM connectors, OEM designed switches, and it will look like it was originally sold that way. A little more costly than aftermarket, but well worth the expense.

Find a matching leather set with heaters at a salvage yard for less than half the price. I have bought COMPLETE interiors for $300, including the door panels, which you aren’t getting from the dealer. Granted they weren’t for Highlanders. Check .

Failing that, any good upholstery shop should be able to do this for less than $1600. You can bet $1600 that the dealer is farming this job out to someone, and marking it up. They don’t have a little old lady in back with a sewing machine to do their own upholstery. I know of two such local shops that can also add bun warmers. I doubt there is much difference in bun warmer quality. Shop around.

I had a work car with heated seats, I think as long as your car has the wiring for them and they are oem you should go for the heated seat. I ended up enjoying what I had always thought a fairly useless option. A body shop or mechanic may be able to get some “recycled” (salvage) seats and save you some significant green on the install if you want to go that route.

Adding in O.E. bun warmers is going to be harder that you think.
When the factory does it, the entire harness is itegrated …there is no sepatate harness to be had . PLUS there are control modules as well…not a simple on off switch. ( they may be 12v, there is a timer and temp limiter, there is an ‘off’ default etc )

If there are aftermarket kits for this , that would be the way to go.
Even though buying used seats with warmers is the best choice, adding the warmer circuit is a pain in the …buns.

A dealer that I worked for would sublet new trucks to an upholstery shop for leather upholstery. The kits used looked as good as OEM. The cost of OEM parts makes this type of change impractical.

If they are using Katzkin seat kits there is a heated seat option for $399.

My daughter just bought a new Toyota Camry to replace her old Corolla and she got the heated seats and leather. Toyota won’t sell the heated option unless you get the leather for some reasons. The sales person did discuss putting the the leather and heated seats in an LE (they are only available as a factory option on the XLE and you have to get a bunch of other options as well). According to the salesperson, the leather option on the LE would be installed by a local upholstery shop approved by Toyota and it is $1600, same $ as factory option on new XLE plus $300 for the heaters, again same $ as factory option.

If you want heated buns from the factory, Toyota makes you pay dearly for it. The only option you do not have to buy is the V6, but you have to get everything else. Turns a $20k car into a $31k car just to get this $300 option.

I blame Subaru for all this, she test drove one of them where the seat warmers don’t require options to the max and the one she drove had the seat warmers. It was frigid that day, but the seat warmers were the only thing she liked about the Subie. It rode too rough for her.

My brother managed to order his VW GTI when you didn’t have to get the fancy package with Leather seats just to have seat heaters, relatives in South Dakota won’t have a car without heated seats now after driving a service loaner without them in winter

The price doesn’t seem to bad, the dealer should be able to tell you if factory heaters can be added. Haven’t personally tried aftermarket heaters.

Check these out if you want to consider just the heated option, without leather.

My Pacifica with leather has heated seats and I would be very unhappy without them on cold mornings. My other vehicles have cloth seats without heaters, and I have no problem doing without heaters.

If you’re changing out the seats anyway, and it gets cold where you live, get the heaters. Cold leather will suck the heat right out your cheeks.

You should look at custom leather companies. Factory leather on normal-people cars (i.e. not Bentley or Ferrari) is not as good as the stuff you can get from other places. I redid my MR2’s bad factory leather with new covers from, including custom logo stitching in the seat backs, for much cheaper than the dealership would have charged. And the difference is phenomenal. The aftermarket leather is thick, soft, and 3 years later it still looks brand new.

You can get aftermarket seat heaters from them as well, though I can’t comment on how good they are - the MR2 doesn’t get driven in winter so I skipped them.

A dealer that I worked for would sublet new trucks to an upholstery shop for leather upholstery. The kits used looked as good as OEM. The cost of OEM parts makes this type of change impractical.

This is exactly what we did for my wifes 1996 Accord. Wife wanted leather…but the only way we could get leather as standard was to get the V6 and we didn’t want the V6. So the dealer offered us an option to have the interior changed over by this upholstery shop they worked with. The match was PERFECT.

thanks for all of the comments. I really appreciate it…especially the links to the websites.

i will post back the decision and results. Gene

How did you go about replacing your cloth with leather seats? Did you purchase the actual seat and replace it?

Thanks in advance


You don’t replace the seat…You remove the cloth coverings and replace with custom fit Leather coverings.

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Both are possible. Sometimes the OEM leather seats are different from the cloth ones in terms of shape, support, comfort, etc. It’s up to the customer to decide.

Where would you recommend getting the leather coverings? Katzkin is a name that has popped up quite a few times on my searches. I feel comfortable doing it myself.

Katzkins are the one I used, but I’m sure there are others. But if you want to do it yourself, then you may need to pick a different brand because Katzkins will only sell to installers. I’m extremely happy with my Katzkins covers.

Anythings possible, but I’ve never heard of anyone who wanted to just replace their cloth seats with leather pay the extra several hundred dollars per seat to replace them too. They may have wanted different seats, which is different from just wanting leather.