Re-upholstery: For The Ultimate Car Make-over

Picking up your boss from the airport next week? Or is the new client for that multi-million naira contract? Perhaps you cannot afford the ultimate machine just yet and the spray job was nice but it still did not ‘hit the spot’.

The answer lies in the car interior. That is where you spend most of your driving experience and that is where you can really score points with your boss or new client. Besides, a new car could just as well have a boring interior anyway.

Renewing your car interior is called re-upholstery and it has gone beyond just changing the seat cover. Today re-upholstery is about expressing your individuality and style. The possibilities are endless.

You can choose from a wide variety of fabrics and leathers. You can go as far as floral, artwork, landscape, tie & dye designs or animal skin designs like tiger, leopard, cheetah, zebra, snake, crocodile, etc. You can have a velvet look, a smooth silk feel, a shiny wet look, fringed seat design, or even artificial fur. You can do fantastic things with the colours as well. You can even have a customised colour/fabric job for your car.

Re-upholstery goes and far as the car doors, the car steering, the mirrors, speakers, the roof, the floors and rugs; and who says you cannot have throw pillows in your car? You can change or even increase the numbers of mirrors, change the speakers, fix partitions and fancy accessories and finishing.

You can remove the seats completely and replace them with better and more comfortable ones. Let your car interior reflect your personality; be it cool and calm, jazzy, vibrant, cosmopolitan etc. At purchase, most cars come in dull greys, and faded shades of blues and blacks.

Most people just put up with it. However, considering the number of hours we spend in traffic, it is not worth it. Your car is your ‘home’ on the road. The average car interior lasts about 15 years. That is a long time to endure a dull ‘home’. It is like enduring dull beddings for a decade just because they are not torn yet.

Your car interior should cheer you up and make you feel good about yourself; who you are and what you do. Yes, you can have your signature and clichés of your business, or career in your car.

Here is a look at a few of the options:

Seats: There are a variety of sports seats on offer. The front seats are easier to find. The rear seats may be a little difficult to track down. Most aftermarket front seats are universal with an adapter rail to fit the car whereas rear seats have to be a specific size and they have precisely cut belt holes and release catches.

You can get a complete set of leather or sporty interior –perhaps from an upgraded version, a sports or executive model of your car. Use these seats as a base and you can replace their cover with choice fabric if you please.

If you have only one car, one way to go about it is to leave the new seats at the workshop and have them covered there while you continue using your car. When they have finished then you take your car and have the seats replaced and the rest of the re-upholstery done. After which you can sell your old car seats to someone else. You can have it done within hours.

Fabric: Go for the best fabric: Strength first, style next.  Always choose a hard wearing fabric. Leather is very popular it repels most stains and liquids. It is relatively easy to clean and can be stretched to fit which creates a nice finish. Other fabric choices include Alcantara, heavy cotton and synthetic fibres. Fur also looks fabulous.  The fabric you choose would change the ‘look’ as well as the ‘feel’ of the colour, design and style you have chosen so it is important to bear this in mind: Cheetah skin design in leather, is completely different from Cheetah skin in artificial fox fur.

Ensure that you get a good finish and that all the seams are double stitched because they are going to be under a lot of pressure.

Doors: you could replace the door fittings (catches, switches and handles) with classier ones. You can change the door cards if you please. The door cards are generally pushed on with studs that are easily scratched and warped as the card is being removed so you should get a set of new stud pins and ensure the workmen use the new ones.

Caution the workmen about the use of adhesive. They most use enough adhesive without letting it ooze onto the fabric – this would harden the fabric. The fabric should not be placed on wet glue – the workmen should wait a few seconds for the glue to get a little tacky.

Speakers: Re-upholstery is a good opportunity to upgrade the speakers and blend them into the new look. Don’t go overboard; sometimes less is more and adding a small coloured panel around them can radically transform your cars look.

Finishing: Upgrade the dash board function, the dials, the gear knob and the hand brake in line with the new look. Trim parts are available including stick on trim surrounds in wood, leather, carbon fibre and a wide variety of custom colours and finishes.

The interior of your car has an air of its own and this contributes to your mood. It plays a major role in determining the state of mind you would have as you step out of your car and into the world. It would go a long way to determine the perception your boss or that client would have of you as s/he thanks you for the ride.

So when it comes to cars, it is not about what you can afford; it is about what you do with it.

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