A rip or tear in a car seat can be devastating. But, it’s not the end of the world. Fortunately, there are many great solutions, some more expensive and permanent than others. In this article, we will review some of the most common ways to fix a car seat that has a tear.

Replace the Entire Seat

This is the most obvious and logical choice for many. However, it is almost always the most expensive. Luckily, seats can be removed fairly easily. Usually, only four bolts are holding it into the car.  So, it’s not difficult to remove and replace most seats. However, a new car seat can be very expensive. A new seat can cost $300 to $1200 or much more. So, if you are working on a budget, or just don’t want to spend that kind of money, you can try the next best thing; part of the seat.

Part of the Seat

Sometimes a manufacturer will offer the bottom seat portion of a seat, or perhaps just a replacement for the back of the seat. This may happen when seats are prone to wearing out often for that type of vehicle. However, this solution is not always available.

Aftermarket Seats

You can also opt to purchase an entirely new seat for your vehicle; one that is not OEM. There is a wide array of aftermarket car seat manufacturers that sell upgrades to the seats you currently have in your vehicle. Of course, the downside is that you will have to lay down a good chunk of money. Also, you will probably want to replace both of the front seats at the same time, so keep your wallet open and keep handing out your money.

Repairing the Tear

A much less expensive method is to try to repair the tear yourself. If you have cloth seats and you have an older vehicle, you may be able to get away with sewing in a patch from an unnoticeable spot on the same seat.  For instance, for my 1998 Dodge Ram, I used a swatch of cloth from the back, inside portion of the seat that is never seen.  I then carefully hand sewed the piece of cloth into the seat after replacing some of the foam.  It was far from perfect, but it held up for many years and saved us a lot of money.

If you have leather, or pleather (plastic leather), you may want to try one of the leather repair kits on the market.  These inexpensive kits come with several common colors of liquid pleather.  You mix the colors to match your seat and then apply the plastic leather paste to the tear. After that, you cover it with a heavy paper that matches the design of the vinyl and use a hot iron to “set” the paste.

I tried this on my 2004 Chrysler Pacifica and it kind of worked.  It didn’t look great, and it didn’t hold up over time, but it was the first time I ever did it, and I probably did it wrong.


If the seat in your vehicle is torn or ripped, you have many alternatives. You can replace the seat completely, partially, or try to repair it yourself.



Written by Gary Pradel