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Caring for leather seats...my personal experiences!

Discussion in '360/430' started by rob4092xx, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. rob4092xx

    rob4092xx Formula Junior

    Mar 8, 2010
    570
    Phoenix, AZ
    How to care for leather seats on You Tube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_210989&feature=iv&src_vid=MTUPKHV4SDU&v=zZqpzc4Tpvs

    Above is a great link to see how automotive leather seats should be cared for. They shouldn’t be "protected" by oils, creams, leather care products, etc. , anymore as automotive leather has changed. Many people think the leather needs to absorb these products to keep soft and reduce cracking. This is not the case with today's leather seats.

    I have owned plenty of cars with leather "trimmed" seats. First off, they are no longer called "leather seats." They are now called "leather trimmed seats." Car manufacturers were forced to change the description of the seats since the majority of the seat is actually vinyl! On most cars, only the middle inserts are actually leather. The bolsters, head rests, seat backs, etc., are actually made of vinyl.

    Today's leather seat cannot absorb conditioning products since the coloring of the leather is actually a urethane coating (paint, not dye as many think) that is sprayed over the raw leather. This coating will not allow any of the conditioners to absorb into the leather. Instead, these conditioners sit on the seats until it evaporates or is worn off by your clothing.

    Ever notice how smeary, foggy and greasy the insides of your windows are soon after conditioning your leather? How difficult is it to get all the smearing off the windows while you clean them? This is actually the leather conditioner evaporating off the seats since it cannot soak into the leather. Stop conditioning your seats and your windows will clear up!

    My experience has been putting a conditioner on the urethane coated seat actually is bad for the seat. The conditioner is greasy, and attracts and holds dirt. This dirt is then ground into the seat when you get in and out of your car causing more wear and tear.

    I have a very simple process that keeps my leather seats looking like new! About twice a year, I use a very soft horse hair brush to clean the seats with water and Woolite soap for delicate garments. Woolite has a very low ph factor and will not harm the seats like most leather cleaners out there. I then use a very wet towel to wipe the Woolite solution off the seats. I follow upon with a dry towel. That is it! I have been very successful keeping my leather seats looking like new using this method! No leather cleaners, conditioners, etc., for me anymore! The best part is the windows inside my car are a snap to clean with very little effort!
     
  2. 993man

    993man Formula Junior

    Sep 20, 2009
    833
    New Zealand
    Full Name:
    Graham
    This is really interesting. I have just yesterday ordered some Leatherique oil and cleaner, because I have always been told leather needs it.
    So the claims these companies are making, and been making for years and years are false?
    Why would Rolls Royce use it?
     
  3. Supreme360Swag

    Supreme360Swag Formula Junior

    Dec 26, 2011
    323
    Peninsula bay area
    Full Name:
    Allan
    Leatherique works great. Many others uses it also and it works well. It's just the process takes a little while unlike other products that u wipe on wipe off. I also use chemical guys leather cleaner + conditioner. Works great and smells good. A
     
  4. IDriveM5

    IDriveM5 F1 Rookie

    Jul 2, 2012
    2,574
    Central Ohio
    Full Name:
    Raj
    This is really interesting, though I can't say I agree with it. Caution: I didn't watch the video. Not saying I dispute your method, I just can't bring myself to NOT clean/condition the seats. It's like "conditioned" behavior for me. If my professional detailer came to me and said stop conditioning your seats, I'd think he was calling me a chump.

    For my German cars, my professional detailer has always used Lexol products with great results. I've never seen any film on the inside of my windows. I have noticed that the leather seems softer, at the cost of it being just a shade brighter. My leather is never greasy - that's Pep Boys stuff for kids.

    When I get the Ferrari, I'll probably defer to the detailer, who will probably use Leatherique, as it seems to be a step up from Lexol. And, FWIW, the Owner's Manual says to use "cleaner" and "creme" on page 5.28, I think.
     
  5. Ricambi America

    Ricambi America F1 World Champ
    Sponsor Owner

    Dec 7, 2003
    15,220
    Winston Salem, NC
    Full Name:
    Daniel
  6. HighandDry

    HighandDry Formula Junior

    Jul 24, 2012
    447
    Seattle
    Full Name:
    Steve
    I agree that any conditioner will not penetrate the coating on the leather. However, I still use Leatherique oil once/year. The reason being is that the company told me that the oil will still penetrate at perforations and stitching points. It also seems to lift off any deep contaminants and brightens the stitching.

    Overkill? Likely, but I figure once a year can't hurt it and it may be doing some help. I do use the Prestine Clean weekly as a cleaner. Supposedly, pH balanced with no silicone added and it leaves a nice matte finish.
     
  7. ar4me

    ar4me F1 Rookie
    Owner

    Apr 4, 2010
    3,115
    Southern California
    Full Name:
    Jes
    This may be true for your Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, etc. but on your Ferrari you are looking at real leather. On an Infiniti it was clearly lots of vinyl as you could feel the difference between areas when applying the conditioner, but this has been known for years. On past cars, I have always applied a leather cleaner and conditioner once a year, and comparing my seats to other identical vehicles of same age and mileage the difference can be staggering: Looking almost new vs junk.
    Jes
     
  8. Afonsolaw

    Afonsolaw Formula 3

    Sep 11, 2011
    1,906
    New jersey
    Zymol Leather Cleaner and Conditioner.... awesome stuff and leaves the interior smelling like a fresh pair of italian shoes.... belisimo :)
     
  9. Mo T

    Mo T Formula Junior

    Nov 26, 2011
    478
    Saudi Arabia
    Full Name:
    Mohammed
    The guy in the vid raises some good points, BUT ....

    How do I prevent my leather from getting dry which eventually results in leather cracks?

    Especially with spiders in hot weather I think conditioning the leather is essential.

    Some company's have a leather sealer (similar to clear coats used on paint) which seems to prevent the natural oil in the leather (or moist) from evaporating over time, not sure how good these work but they are out there.

    I used Zymol and it smells real good, on the other hand Leatherique seemed to condition much much better. Now after 3 months since I my last treatment the leather is rock hard again. I would have used Leatherique every month if the application was easier.
     
  10. av2

    av2 Formula Junior

    May 22, 2008
    473
    S. California
    I've tried almost every leather conditioner from Armorall, Maguire's, Zymol, Connolly and Leatherique. Leatherique is by far my favorite product followed by Connolly. Connolly Hide Food shows great results but very messy to apply and remove.
     
  11. Trent

    Trent Formula 3

    Dec 10, 2003
    2,010
    Indialantic, FL
    Full Name:
    Trent
    +1; Leatherique. Try it, follow directions, then report back if you do not have noticeably softer and better smelling leather. *the Leatherique does not smell good by itself, but it seems to bring out the natural leather smell.
     
  12. xilly

    xilly Rookie

    Jun 18, 2010
    38
    Port Washington, NY
    Full Name:
    William
    for Leatherique, do you use the rejuvenator or only apply the "prestine clean" bottle?

    William
     
  13. roadracer311

    roadracer311 Formula 3

    May 6, 2009
    2,350
    San Francisco
    Full Name:
    Paul
    I've been using both, once a year on my 1995 F355 Spider. For such a small car there is a ridiculous amount of leather in there! Takes a long time to do it right. Last time I pulled the seats and center console, so I could really soak the leather without oiling up the carpets. Pulling the seats is really pretty quick, but they are shockingly heavy.
     
  14. PFSEX

    PFSEX Formula Junior

    Jun 30, 2006
    786
    Las Vegas
    Full Name:
    John Ratto
    Most modern car leather has either been treated in the dye process or been sprayed with clear lacquer after dying to make it impervious to moisture. The manufacturers do this because it protects the leather from stains and spills. Water will bead on this stuff. It feels artificial. Difficult to tell it form vinyl. Virtually no leather smell. The owner's manual will tell you to only wipe it with water to clean it. This system works well for 'normal' cars because the protection layer is good for about 5 years - after that the manufacturer doesn't care any more and the original owner has likely sold the car, so he doesn't care either. It works well because people eat and drink and maybe - well you know - get it on is the 60s term - in these cars and protection and durability is more important than beauty, feel, and smell. Once the protective layer wears off, the leather will deteriorate quite fast unless something is done to save it.

    Higher grade cars use higher grade, or at least different type, leather. It has not been sealed up like the stuff above. The pores are open. This leather needs to be fed. It will stain a lot easier because it will absorb whatever is spilled on it. But, it smells and feels grand. This is the stuff Ferrari uses. If you treat it well - it will last a lifetime.

    JRR
     
  15. PFSEX

    PFSEX Formula Junior

    Jun 30, 2006
    786
    Las Vegas
    Full Name:
    John Ratto
    Just watched the video.

    Quite informative.

    It tells you how to take care of the sealed leather I talked about first in previous post. Very good explanation of the coatings they use and how the coating seals the leather and how the coating should be protected.

    Just understand, Ferrari uses the OTHER type of leather mentioned at the beginning of the video and then tossed aside because it is not used (well, there ARE exectptions) on car seats.
     
  16. futureferraribuyer

    futureferraribuyer Formula Junior

    Jun 23, 2010
    285
    Leatherique doesn't really seem to clean that well but it does really make the leather super soft. My seats were not really that stiff to begin with but after several application it is glove soft. I don't think I've actually felt any leather seat this soft. Will continue to use it every month or so.

    Have not noticed fogging after Leatherique but I do get it on the windows when I apply it to dash and such. It cleans up easily with window cleaner.
     
  17. rob4092xx

    rob4092xx Formula Junior

    Mar 8, 2010
    570
    Phoenix, AZ
    I am certainly no expert on leather care. I only related my personal experiences with my C6's, NSX's and other cars.

    Can someone who is an expert on Ferrari 360 leather chime in and comment? Is Ferrari 360 leather really different than other leather seats and actually needs conditioners rubbed in? The leather sure looks coated to me much like other cars seats.

    I tried putting a drop of water on my 360 seat and it did not absorb in. Instead, it just ran off since it out couldn't absorb through the coating. Seems like any conditioner would fail to absorb as well.

    I want to keep my seats looking like new. I am just afraid to make a mess of them by putting conditioners on them. Like many of you, I also have Leatherique and Pristine Clean. I am afraid of putting this on the seats.
     
  18. ar4me

    ar4me F1 Rookie
    Owner

    Apr 4, 2010
    3,115
    Southern California
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    Jes
    For what it is worth, I have put Leatherique products on the leather in my 360, and the sky hasn't fallen down yet :)

    Worst case, they can be reupholstered, but I hear you in taking good care of them.

    Jes
     
  19. 993man

    993man Formula Junior

    Sep 20, 2009
    833
    New Zealand
    Full Name:
    Graham
    I did mine this morning with leatherique. I used my hand to masage it into the seats and dash top. My seats are not really hard at all, but I figure this cant hurt.

    It's messy stuff to use.
     
  20. rob4092xx

    rob4092xx Formula Junior

    Mar 8, 2010
    570
    Phoenix, AZ
    Did you notice any difference how quick the product absorbed into the dash and seats?

    I am confident the seats are coated in urethane making leather conditioners worthless. However, I am still not sure if the dash leather has this coating.

    Can you advise if the product seemed to absorb at the same rate of time or did the dash absorb quicker?

    Did you just do the top of the dash or all the leather below the top of the dash, dashboard, glove box, around gauges, etc.?

    Thanks!
     
  21. futureferraribuyer

    futureferraribuyer Formula Junior

    Jun 23, 2010
    285
    I've done Leatherique treatment 3 times on my 03 360 and the leather is significantly softer. It was in good shape to begin with but now is as supple as my other cars. It does not seem to clean the cream colored seats very well. The dash is also much much softer. It does not seem to stretch or shrink the leather but it is very very soft now and feels much better. I've left it on for 1-2 days before removing it with Pristine clean.
     
  22. John NY-Naples

    John NY-Naples Karting

    Aug 25, 2007
    143
    New York
    Interesting. Other than cleaning dirty spots with soap, I have never put any kind of leather conditioner on any of my cars with leather seats, which include mostly Porsches and BMWs. I have never had a problem with leather degeneration, cracking, etc. This wasn't a conscious decision -- it's just a function of me being lazy. I was curious as to whether Ferrari leather needed greater care, but the OP's post gives me some comfort that I can continue to be my lazy self.
     
  23. futureferraribuyer

    futureferraribuyer Formula Junior

    Jun 23, 2010
    285
    Good point about cleaning. The last time I owned a 10 year old car was in college and it was beater. Now I have a 10 year old Ferrari that I want to look new which is unrealistic but keep trying with all kinds of products...
     
  24. SoftwareDrone

    SoftwareDrone F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Jan 19, 2004
    6,157
    San Jose, California
    Full Name:
    Mike
    I'm a Lexol guy myself (but have never tried Leatherique).

    The 360 too has SO much leather - they had to use a whole herd!
    :D
     
  25. rob4092xx

    rob4092xx Formula Junior

    Mar 8, 2010
    570
    Phoenix, AZ
    The seats will not absorb any leather conditioner. That is why the feel and texture did not change after you applied the product.

    The seat leather is coated in clear urethane which will prevent conditioner from absorbing into the leather. Proof of this can be done with a drop of water.

    Place a few drops of water on your seats. Notice how they either run off or sit in drop form. They cannot pass by the urethane coating and absorb into the leather. This is why you should clean them with with a non-leather cleaning product. You are not cleaning leather...you are cleaning the top urethane coating. Use a very low ph soap product such as diluted Woolite, and a very soft brush, to clean your seats. Wash the Woolite off with a very wet white towel. Then, follow up with a dry white towel.

    Look at the white towels and you will see all the dirt that comes off.

    Products such as Leatherique Pristine Clean are made to clean leather...not urethane!

    I am still not sure if the dash leather is urethane coated or not.
     

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