Originally posted on https://www.autoanything.com/resources/shopping-for-seat-covers-sucks-let-us-help/
Let’s face it, shopping for seat covers can be a pain. There are endless options from hundreds of different brands and enough different fabric, style, and color options to make even an interior designer dizzy. That’s why we took the time to make this guide.
We’ll help you figure out what you need, and more importantly, what you don’t. So first, let’s figure out why you need these seat covers. Do you have a pile of sticky kids climbing all over the place? Using your truck for work? Pile of sticky Uber/Lyft passengers? Or do you just want something that looks and feels nice while keeping your seats looking new?
- How well do they fit?
- Are they hard to install?
- How do I do I know which will fit?
- How do I clean them?
- Custom? Semi-custom? Universal?
- Will my side air bags still work?
- What else do I need?
Covers by Lifestyle:
- Keeping things nice/interior refresh
- 1970’s time traveler
- On a budget
Seat Covers FAQ:
That depends! A high-quality set of custom fitted covers can look like your seats came that way from the factory to the untrained eye.
From there, it starts becoming obvious that they are aftermarket, not that that’s a bad thing. Semi-custom and universal covers will protect your seats just as well but might have some bagginess to them.
Are car seat covers hard to install?
Not especially, but again, that depends. As a general rule of thumb, the more snug and form fitting the cover is, the more time consuming the installation will be. Most covers really just slide over your seat, then fasten down with Velcro, hooks, or snaps.
In general, expect to spend 20-30 minutes on custom front seat covers. Back seats are a different story depending on the level of fitment and also how your car is configured. Some cars require the rear seats to be removed, but it’s still not something you would need a mechanic for.
How do I know what will fit my seats?
This is where shopping for car seat covers can really become a pain. Sometimes a single model can have over a dozen different variations on the seat design/layout depending on sub-model, trim, and options.We work pretty hard to include all the info you need when checking out, but if you’re ever unsure, hop in a chat with one of our experts!
With such a wide variety of materials to choose from, there really isn’t one answer here.
In general, just vacuuming the covers can take care of a lot of tracked in dirt or dry spills. Most of the fabric covers we carry are designed to be machine washable, or in the case of waterproof neoprene covers, like from Wet Okole, you can wash and scrub them without even taking them off. Pretty handy, eh?
Custom? Semi-custom? Universal? Which do I need?
Custom fit: If you really want the covers to look like a factory option or a snug fit with a different look, then you’ll probably want to pony up for a custom fitted set. Don’t worry, they don’t have to be too expensive depending on the brand and material. Custom sets are the majority of what we sell.
Semi-custom: Basically semi-custom means they were designed to fit your particular seats, but will also fit similar size/shape seats from other manufacturers. These will be perfectly functional, but you can definitely tell they’re seat covers, so it depends on what you’re looking for.
This is where to look if you just need something that will get the job done on a budget.
Universal: These are perfect if you need something you can throw on and pull off without too much hassle when you need them. If you need to protect your seats from a pet, a gaggle of dirty kids from soccer practice, or if you’ve got to load up some cargo that’s dirty or particularly abrasive (and I don’t mean your in-laws), then universal fit covers might be just what you need.
If you want to do a deep dive on the differences, check out our full guide here.
Will my side air bags still work?
If your seats have side impact air bags built in, then we recommend looking into a custom fitted set, as those are designed to give way and allow your factory safety equipment do its job unimpeded.
What else might I need to protect my interior?
Seat covers are just one factor in protecting and/or refreshing the look and feel of your car’s interior. If you really want to cover all your bases, here are a few other options to check out:
What Seat Covers Would Best Suit my Lifestyle and Needs?
Construction/Tradesman Truck Seat Covers
If you’re using your truck for work, it’s not going to take long for the look (and smell) of your interior to take a hit. It’s not just dirt, but carrying tools and equipment can really tear things up quickly.
Canvas seat covers hold up against cuts and punctures while being easy to clean. You can feel comfortable tossing a tool box, tools, spare parts, etc on these without worrying. Just being able to get in and out of the truck with tools on your belt and not worrying about tears is enough peace of mind to make them worth it for a lot of people.
For a little more comfort, neoprene and neosupreme covers make for a nice place to plant your rear and have the added benefit of being waterproof. Or for a western vibe, some saddle blanket truck seat covers hold up well to abuse very well.
Family/Kids Car Seat Covers
Nothing can ruin your seats like a gaggle of kids putting their feet up on everything, wiping boogers on every reachable surface, and just generally leaking all over the place.
Not only do you want to be able to actually sell your car someday, but it’s still the family car, and you want it to look nice, right? Leather or leatherette are a good choice to keep things looking nice while being easy to clean. Or, if you’ve ended up as the designated soccer practice taxi, then you might want to look at canvas covers.
Also, those geniuses at Coverking came up with some cheap and effective backseat kick mats, which are great to protect the back of your seat from the overzealous little tyke sitting behind you.
Some people just can’t get enough camo in their lives, and if that’s you, you’re spoiled for choice, my friend.
You can get them in just about any style, material, and type of camo you can dream of. RealTree? Yup. Pink urban camo? Sure, why not. We’ve also got a solid selection of tactical style truck seat covers for all your covert operations and/or trips to the mall — wait sorry, tactical trips to the mall. Go get ’em, killer.
Then there are brands like Carhartt, who are probably the kings of actually rugged outdoor apparel. With their legendary duck weave fabric, you would have to have to work very hard to wear these out, but in all honesty you’ll probably need to replace the whole truck by that time.
After dozens of trips back and forth from the dog park, going on roadtrips with the pups, or even just a nice Sunday drive with your pet armadillo (that’s what Texans keep as pets, right?), your seats are going to suffer.
Luckily, we’ve got a massive selection of covers, beds/pads, barriers, and rear seat dog hammocks, all of which are designed to keep your seats protected from punctures, scratches, and being permanently infused with fur.
One of our favorite recommendations is the Kurgo Wander Dog Hammock, it can quickly convert from a regular back seat cover to a “hammock” between the front and rear seats. This is handy to keep your furry friend contained to exactly where you want him while keeping things protected.
Keeping Things Nice/Interior Refresh
OK, so maybe you just want to refresh an aging interior, or liven things up with some nicer materials while keeping your factory seats clean.
Some nice leather or even some sporty Alcantara covers can really make your car feel more luxurious. Another couple of nice options are the CalTrend MicroSuede covers, or if you really want to stay comfy, the Coverking SnugglePlush covers might be worth looking into.
If you’re looking for something that looks like it could be stock, check out the LeatherCraft SeatSkinz. With real leather and super snug fit, someone would have to really pay close attention to know they weren’t just the OEM seats. To get that quality and look, the install process is a little more involved than some others on this list, but the look is definitely worth it for a few hours of work.
Time Traveler from the 1970’s?
This might be a long shot for a target audience, but if that’s you, we’ve got a surprising amount of options for ya. Oh yeah, and welcome to the future, man. It’s a pretty groovy time, despite the severe lack of lava lamps around these days.
Did you know that we actually started out as a company selling sheepskin seat covers? Far out, right? Well, we still sell them today, and they are dy-no-mite! Oh, and you might notice that there is a lot less velour used in cars today. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered on that one too.
Seat Covers on a budget?
Sometimes you just need something. If your seats have holes in them, are looking worse for wear, or maybe you just need something to throw on for some occasional protection, we’ve got plenty of options for you.
Some seat towels can come in handy when you need something quick and easy to throw on, or if you want something a little more permanent, ProZ offers plenty of affordable options in a whole bunch of different materials. Oh, and you NFL fans get some love too, thanks to FANMATS.
Whew, that was a lot to go through. There is a shocking amount of stuff to know for what seems like should be a relatively straight forward concept.
This is the kind of stuff we thrive on here at AutoAnything, so never hesitate to hop into a chat with us or give us a call! That’s what we’re here for!