Fabric Car Interior: The Ultimate DIY Repair Guide
FOR BEGINNER FABRIC REPAIRS

(Featuring A Must-See Repair Result!)

Coconix Blog: Fabric Car Interior: The Ultimate DIY Repair Guide FOR BEGINNER FABRIC REPAIRS  (Featuring A Must-See Repair Result!)

We might not realize it, but we spend a lot of time sitting in our car. It’s kind of like our second home isn’t it. For that reason, the upholstery in our car gets a fair amount of wear and tear, especially our car seats. When damage enters the picture, we need know the next steps to take to fix it and the precautions that we need to follow in the future. 

This ultimate DIY repair guide is especially made for car owners who want to fix their damaged fabric car seat themselves without having to spend an arm and a leg on upholstery. We will guide you through from the beginning: deciding whether DIY repair is for you, up to the final step of the repair project.




SECTION 1: Gauge Your Damage - Is my fabric car interior damage DIY-repairable?

The interior of a car is where we spend all of our time driving. Naturally, in our desire to keep our cars looking fresh and new for as long as possible, we should put an even greater premium on the cabin's condition. But the damage is an inevitable part of owning a car. Here is a list of common fabric car interior damages:

Gauge Your Damage - Is my fabric car interior damage DIY-repairable?

1. Sun Damage

Sun exposure is a car owner’s inevitable enemy, especially for those who live in tropical climates. Heat and humidity can cause car interiors to fade, dry out, and eventually crack or tear. Leaving your car under direct sunlight for long periods of time will cause fading and discoloration to your fabric car interior.

DIY repairable?: Yes
DIY Skill Level Required: Beginner

Gauge Your Damage - Is my fabric car interior damage DIY-repairable?

2. Stain Damage from Solids and Liquids

Water, food, drinks, vomit, rain from open windows, and even sweat can stain your fabric interior. Though most fabric interiors can be cleaned (or washed if the fabric cover is removable), there are stubborn stains that cannot be removed by just washing or cleaning.

DIY repairable?: Yes

DIY Skill Level Required: Beginner

Gauge Your Damage - Is my fabric car interior damage DIY-repairable?

3. Pet and Children Damage

Pets and children are both lovable and cute however, their playfulness also causes damage to our car interiors. Pets, especially cats, are the main causes of jagged scratches on car fabric interiors. Children’s toys and equipment can also cause scratches, scrapes, and minor cuts. 

DIY repairable?: Yes

DIY Skill Level Required: Beginner

Gauge Your Damage - Is my fabric car interior damage DIY-repairable?

4. Cuts, Rips, and Tears

From sharp objects in our pockets to heavy wear and tear, car fabric interiors are prone to cuts, abrasions, and rips. These damages vary depending on the cause of the tear. The cut can also be just a surface cut or it can be a deep cut that has also damaged the backing material of your car interior. 

DIY repairable?: Yes

DIY Skill Level RequiredBeginner to Intermediate

Gauge Your Damage - Is my fabric car interior damage DIY-repairable?

5. Burn Marks and Holes

Burn marks or burn holes are usually found in a smoker’s car. Sometimes, these can also be acquired when we allow a friend or family member to smoke inside the car. However, holes can also be caused by sharp objects poking a hole into the fabric. 

DIY repairable?: Yes

DIY Skill Level RequiredBeginner to Intermediate

Gauge Your Damage - Is my fabric car interior damage DIY-repairable?

6. Depressed Damages

There are holes, rips, and tears that have depression in the filling or foam material. This usually happens when the damage is left for long, causing the foam inside to be torn to pieces and eventually become depressed. 

DIY repairable?: Yes

DIY Skill Level Required: Intermediate to DIY Pro

Now that you have checked, compared, and evaluated the damage of your fabric car interior, we know the question you might have in mind: What are the benefits and disadvantages of a DIY repair? We can totally relate as this is a usual question especially for beginners. The next section will answer that question and hopefully, it will help you finally decide if DIY repair is for you. But if you’re sure that you want to do DIY, feel free to skip to the repair steps for your specific car interior damage.






SECTION 2: Fabric Car Interior DIY Repair: Pros and Cons!

PROS

1. Save Money

This is an obvious one right. It’s one of the biggest advantages of any DIY repair project. You get to save tens to thousands of dollars compared to hiring a professional to do it for you. There is no cut and dry answer when it comes to how much it costs for a professional repair but we have collected some data and listed the cost range for each damage type. You will see in the table below how much you may save in a DIY repair project versus professional repair.

FABRIC CAR INTERIOR DAMAGE  PROFESSIONAL REPAIR COST RANGE DIY REPAIR COST RANGE
Fabric Scratches and Scuffs $150 - $300 $19.95 - $50
(DIY Fabric Repair Kit + other materials needed)
Worn Fabric and Discoloration $150 - $1,000
Fabric Cuts, Rips, and Tears $200 - $1,000
Fabric Burn Marks and Holes $200 - $1,000
Fabric Depressed Damages $500 - $2,000

2. Gain Experience and learn something new

Doing DIY repair projects not only makes you skillful in DIY, but you will also understand and learn about the material you are repairing, about useful tools that can help you in future projects, and about repair methods that will help you in your future DIY car repair projects. Many of the skills you learn are replicable in your next project!

3. Become Your Own Pro

Doing your fabric car interior damage repair yourself will make you your own car interior professional. Knowing and experiencing the repair process will make you familiar with your own car, therefore, making you your own car DIY repair pro! Who needs a professional when you, yourself, can achieve professional results? 

Of course, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies for a DIY repair project. The list below is possible losses you may encounter when you do your DIY repair project. But, take note of the word possible. This means that this is not given and you may or may not encounter it. Though it’s always better if you prepare yourself for any possible scenario and set your expectations right. This will help you avoid frustrations and disappointments if ever things don’t go as planned. Also, there’s no need to fret if you ever feel unsure and anxious. Coconix has a team of experts who are available 7 days a week to help you with any questions you have about repairing your car fabrics. Just send us an email at support@coconix.com and include your repair photos. We’d be happy to help you get the best results possible!

CONS

1. Time and Effort

As always, DIY repair projects need not your money, but your time and effort. This is the equivalent of a successful DIY repair project. If you will think about it, ‘losses’ is not actually the right term as you don’t really lose your time and energy in this DIY repair project. You actually invest them in your DIY repair project in order to get the best results possible. 

2. Varying Outcome

This is true for most DIY repair projects. The outcome will always depend on several factors like the time and effort you put in, your DIY repair kit, tools and materials used, skill and experience of the doer, etc. For beginners, don’t ever be disheartened, because it really does come down to time and effort. This is a great chance for you to start on your DIY repair journey. Once you get the hang of doing a DIY repair project, you’ll be skillful enough to just laugh about the nervousness and anxiety that you once had while you were still a beginner! Plus, the Coconix Support Team is especially here to help beginners like you get the best results possible! You can contact us anytime for repair tips and personalized advice on your repair project.

3. Unforeseen Consequences

It’s always recommended to set your expectations right whenever starting a DIY repair project. Because it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, you have to expect that things may not go as planned. There can be times that your repair project may cost you a lot more money than you have expected. There are also cases when the damage worsens, especially when you have overlooked a step or two. Always be prepared for whatever may happen to avoid frustration and disappointment. When things go the wrong way, you can always seek the help of our Coconix Support Team. They’d be happy to help you improve your repair results!




SECTION 3: How to DIY Repair Fabric Scratches and Scuffs

If you're ready to give your DIY repair project a GO, then read and carefully follow the step-by-step instructions below that we prepared for you. 

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • DIY Fabric Repair Kit:
    1. Repair fibers
    2. Fabric glue
    3. Tweezers
    4. Mesh
    5. Backing fabric
    6. Mixing jar
    7. Mixing ball
  • Other Tools:
    1. Scissors or Cutter
    2. Rubberband
    3. Clear hairspray

STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS:

1. Prepare the damaged area. 

Prepare the damaged area by trimming off loose threads or jagged bits and cleaning it with a household cleaner.

2. Mix and shake the repair fibers.

Fill the color fibers into the empty jar. Add the metal ball into the mixing jar, screw the lid on, and shake the jar for at least 30 seconds. Remove the metal ball and secure the mesh to the jar with the rubber band to create a sifter.

3. Apply a thin layer of the fabric glue. 

Apply the glue to the damaged area, and work from the outside to the center to avoid air bubbles. Fill the damaged area as evenly as possible. Also, apply a thin layer of glue around the damage to blend in the repair.

4. Sift the repair fibers.

Hold the mixing jar above the adhesive upside down and gently tap the mixing jar. This will sift the fibers on the adhesive. Cover the fabric glue completely with fiber. Gently pack down the fibers with the spatula. Duplicate any fabric patterns such as lines or swirls with the spatula.

5. Allow drying time. 

Allow 24 hours to dry. Once the fabric glue is fully dry, blow off excess fibers. If the repaired area gets hard wear, you can protect it by spraying a clear hairspray over the area.




SECTION 4: How to DIY Repair Worn Fabric and Discoloration

If you've identified that your fabric car interior's damage is wear and discoloration, then you're in the right section! Feel free to contact our support team if you need further repair advice.

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • DIY Fabric Repair Kit:
    1. Repair fibers
    2. Fabric glue
    3. Tweezers
    4. Mesh
    5. Backing fabric
    6. Mixing jar
    7. Mixing ball
  • Other Tools:
    1. Scissors or Cutter
    2. Rubberband
    3. Clear hairspray

STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS:

1. Prepare the damaged area. 

Prepare the damaged area by trimming off loose threads or jagged bits and cleaning it with a household cleaner.

2. Mix and shake the repair fibers.

Fill the color fibers into the empty jar. Add the metal ball into the mixing jar, screw the lid on, and shake the jar for at least 30 seconds. Remove the metal ball and secure the mesh to the jar with the rubber band to create a sifter.

3. Apply a thin layer of the fabric glue. 

Apply the glue to the damaged area, and work from the outside to the center to avoid air bubbles. Fill the damaged area as evenly as possible. Also, apply a thin layer of glue around the damage to blend in the repair.

4. Sift the repair fibers.

Hold the mixing jar above the adhesive upside down and gently tap the mixing jar. This will sift the fibers on the adhesive. Cover the fabric glue completely with fiber. Gently pack down the fibers with the spatula. Duplicate any fabric patterns such as lines or swirls with the spatula.

5. Allow drying time. 

Allow 24 hours to dry. Once the fabric glue is fully dry, blow off excess fibers. If the repaired area gets hard wear, you can protect it by spraying a clear hairspray over the area.







SECTION 5: How to DIY Repair Fabric Cuts, Rips, and Tears

Cuts, rips, and tears are eyesore damage that ranges from minor to severe extent. Read the reminder and instructions below and you'll surely fix your car interior in no time!

IMPORTANT REMINDER!

For large cuts, rips, and tears, you may need to sew the backing fabric with the fabric material before sifting the repair fibers into the damaged area.  This will add strength and durability to your repair. 

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • DIY Fabric Repair Kit:
    1. Repair fibers
    2. Fabric glue
    3. Tweezers
    4. Mesh
    5. Backing fabric
    6. Mixing jar
    7. Mixing ball
  • Other Tools:
    1. Scissors or Cutter
    2. Rubberband
    3. Clear hairspray
    4. Sewing kit (for large and extensive repairs)

STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS:

1. Prepare the damaged area. 

Prepare the damaged area by trimming off loose threads or jagged bits and cleaning it with a household cleaner.

2. Insert the backing fabric. 

Cut out a piece of backing fabric with rounded edges and larger than the tear. Insert it into the tear with the help of the spatula.

 

3. Prepare your color mixture. 

Use your color matching guide to look for your main color and secondary color. Please let me know if you need help with matching your color.

4. Apply the glue to the damaged area. 

Apply it under and along the edges and work from the outside to the center to avoid air bubbles. Fill the damaged area as evenly as possible. Also, apply a thin layer of glue around the damage to blend in the repair. 

5. Sift the repair fibers.

Hold the mixing jar above the adhesive upside down and gently tap the mixing jar. This will sift the fibers on the adhesive. Cover the fabric glue completely with fiber. Gently pack down the fibers with the spatula. Duplicate any fabric patterns such as lines or swirls with the spatula.

6. Allow drying time. 

Allow 24 hours to dry. Once the fabric glue is fully dry, blow off excess fibers. If the repaired area gets hard wear, you can protect it by spraying a clear hairspray over the area.







SECTION 6: How to DIY Repair Fabric Burn Marks and Holes

Similar to the previous section on cuts, rips, and tears, you may need to sew the backing fabric with the fabric material to add strength and durability to your repair. 

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • DIY Fabric Repair Kit:
    1. Repair fibers
    2. Fabric glue
    3. Tweezers
    4. Mesh
    5. Backing fabric
    6. Mixing jar
    7. Mixing ball
  • Other Tools:
    1. Household cleaner
    2. Scissors
    3. Cotton balls or cotton batting
    4. Rubberband
    5. Clear hairspray
    6. Sewing kit (for large and extensive repairs)

STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS:

1. Prepare the damaged area. 

Prepare the damaged area by trimming any jagged bits or burn marks with the scissors and clean the damaged area with a household cleaner. If padding is missing and the area under the damage is depressed, insert cotton balls or cotton batting and spread evenly.

2. Insert the backing fabric.

Cut out a piece of backing fabric with rounded edges, larger than the damaged area. Insert the backing fabric with the help of the spatula.

3. Mix and shake the repair fibers. 

Fill the color fibers into the empty jar. Use the main colors or mix and match the right color for your project with the help of the color matching guide included in the kit. Add the metal ball into the mixing jar, screw the lid on, and shake the jar for at least 30 seconds. Remove the metal ball and secure the mesh to the jar with the rubber band to create a sifter.

4. Apply a thin layer of fabric glue. 

Apply the glue to the damaged area, under, and along the edges. Fill the damaged area as evenly as possible. Also, apply a thin layer of glue around the damage to blend in the repair.

5. Sift the repair fibers.

Hold the mixing jar upside down and gently tap. Cover the fabric glue completely. Gently pack down the fibers with the spatula.

6. Allow drying time. 

Allow 24 hours to dry. Blow off excess fibers. If the repaired area gets hard wear, you can protect it by spraying a clear hairspray.







SECTION 7: How to DIY Repair Fabric Depressed Damages

Carefully read and follow the instructions below for this type of damage as this is one of the severe damage you may encounter in a fabric car interior.

IMPORTANT REMINDER!

For the large rips, these repairs require the backing fabric to hold the repair together. Also, we recommend filling in the area where there is missing foam before inserting the backing fabric. Please fill it with filler materials like foam, old cloth pieces, or cotton. We also recommend using fabric glue or foam adhesive to keep the fillers in place and to keep them from bulging out the repaired spot.

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • DIY Fabric Repair Kit:
    1. Repair fibers
    2. Fabric glue
    3. Tweezers
    4. Mesh
    5. Backing fabric
    6. Mixing jar
    7. Mixing ball
  • Other Tools:
    1. Household cleaner
    2. Scissors
    3. Foam/ Old cloth pieces/ Cotton balls or cotton batting
    4. Fabric glue (if the glue included in your kit is not enough) or foam adhesive
    5. Rubberband
    6. Clear hairspray
    7. Sewing kit (for large and extensive repairs)

STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS:

1. Prepare the damaged area.

Prepare the damaged area by trimming off loose threads or jagged bits and cleaning it with a household cleaner. Since the padding is missing and the area under the damage is depressed, insert cotton balls or cotton batting and spread evenly.

2. Fill the depression and insert the backing fabric. 

Fill the depressed area with filler materials like foam, old cloth pieces, or cotton. Avoid filling in too much as it may cause the repaired area to bulge. Also, use fabric glue or foam adhesive to secure the filler in place. For this repair, you will need the backing fabric to hold the repair together. Cut a piece of backing fabric with rounded edges, slightly larger than the damaged area, and insert it with the spatula. Do not use the backing fabric for repairs smaller than 1/4 of an inch. Sew the backing fabric with the fabric material if the damaged area gets heavy wear and tear. This is to add strength and durability.

3. Mix and shake the repair fibers. 

Fill the color fibers into the empty jar. Add the metal ball into the mixing jar, screw the lid on, and shake the jar for at least 30 seconds. Remove the metal ball and secure the mesh to the jar with the rubber band to create a sifter.

4. Apply a thin layer of fabric glue. 

Apply the glue to the damaged area, under and along the edges, and work from the outside to the center to avoid air bubbles. Fill the damaged area as evenly as possible. Also, apply a thin layer of glue around the damage to blend in the repair.

5. Sift the repair fibers. 

Hold the mixing jar above the adhesive upside down and gently tap the mixing jar. This will sift the fibers on the adhesive. Cover the fabric glue completely with fiber. Gently pack down the fibers with the spatula. Duplicate any fabric patterns such as lines or swirls with the spatula.

6. Allow drying time. 

Allow 24 hours to dry. Once the fabric glue is fully dry, blow off excess fibers. If the repaired area gets hard wear, you can protect it by spraying a clear hairspray over the area.







SECTION 8: How to Maintain Your Fabric Car Interior Damage-Free

After dealing with your car's interior damage, the next step is to make sure that you don’t experience this anymore. Here are some of the ways you can keep your car fabric interior damage-free.

1. Park your car in a shaded area.

Make it a habit to park your car in a shaded area. Keeping your car from direct sun exposure and heat will prevent sun damage to your car fabric interior. This will also help your car fabric interior last longer. 

2. Vacuum often.

Vacuuming often will prevent dirt buildup in your car seat fabric. Dirt and dust can also cause damage to your fabric seats so it’s best to keep them clean and dirt-free. 

3. Avoid eating or drinking inside your car.

This is often easier said than done, especially for car owners who use their cars daily. Despite this, it’s always recommended to avoid bringing food and drinks inside your car as these are the number one enemies of your car fabric interior. Food and drink accidents will not only ruin your car’s scent but will also stain your car’s fabric interior. 

4. Invest in a quality window tint.

Window tints can also protect your car fabric interior from sun damage. Dark tints and tints with UV ray protection will help maintain your car fabric interior in good condition even when parked in an area under direct sunlight. 

5. Watch out for sharp objects, toys, and equipment.

If you’re bringing in equipment and objects that may puncture or tear the car fabric interior, make sure that they are placed properly inside. Keep sharp edges covered with protective tools or with a cloth. When you have kids that love to bring toys with them, try to make them bring toys that are not pointy or that won’t stain your car fabric interior.







SECTION 9: A Must-See Repair Result!

Check out below an amazing before and after image of a DIY fabric car interior repair! 

A Must-See Repair Result! Coconix Fabric Repair

1. “Worked AS ADVERTISED!”

by S. Ellis on Aug 29, 2020

Click here for the actual review on Amazon. 

“Not perfect, and didn't expect that, but turned out much better than expected. Easy to use. Spend the extra time on the mixing/blending process. Do not overly use the glue or you will get seepage around the mending area as I did. If i re-appply a second time, I think it will turn out even better.”



DIY repairs are not magic. They have steps, processes, and methods that have to be followed in order to get the professional results you desire. With enough preparation, the right DIY repair kit, ample time and effort allotted, and the patience of a DIYer, you’ll definitely get the best results possible! Plus, you have the entire DIY community at your fingertips and the Coconix Support Team to help you throughout the entire repair process. We hope this ultimate guide will help you be inspired and be motivated to finally start your DIY car fabric repair project. If you have any questions, or you need personalized advice on your repair, contact our Coconix Support Team via email at support@coconix.com.







SECTION 10: BONUS! How to Clean Your Fabric Car Interior

Below is an infographic to help you keep in mind the basic steps in cleaning your car's fabric seats and interior. 

Coconix Blog: How to Clean Your Fabric Car Interior


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