Why leather car and motorcycle seats crack

Most car interior leather and motorcycle seats are fully finished, and there are a couple of reasons why it cracks. Cracking usually occurs when the protective coating on fully finished leather is worn down or when there has been a manufacturer problem.

Cracked leather car seat

Cracked leather car seat

1. Body oil and dirt can cause leather to crack –

It is very easy for dirt and oils to collect on the surface of leather.  Together, these act like a fine sand paper, breaking down the protective layer on fully finished leather over time, eventually leading to visible cracks at the surface.  Once the protective layer is broken down, the leather underneath, which is incredibly porous, soaks up the dirt and oil sitting on its surface causing further abrasion and damage.

2. A manufacturer problem can cause leather to crack –

Tanneries put a layer of dye and a protective top coating on cow hide (almost like paint on drywall) to make fully finished leather.  Leather has a lot of give and will stretch and move as people sit and slide around on it, so the manufacturer needs to stretch it properly before they put on the dye and protective top coating.  If they don’t stretch it well, the leather will quickly stretch more than the dye can handle, and the coating will crack.

Once leather is cracked, a leather repair professional can typically fix it, however, it is much cheaper and easier to clean and take care of your leather seats from the start than to deal with cracking after it happens.

Additional Questions?

We’d be happy to answer any additional questions you have.  Please post questions in the comments below, and, if you want to show us a photo of a specific piece of leather, either post it on our Facebook page or contact your local franchisee.

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