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How to Choose an Auto Upholstery Kit

how to choose an auto upholstery kit

If you’re looking to replace the upholstery in your vehicle, then an auto upholstery kit may be your solution. We explain what upholstery kits for cars are, and how to choose a good one.

When it comes to reupholstering a car, there are many excellent options available on the market today. One of the more popular options is choosing an auto upholstery kit. These kits are packaged deals that include all of the materials that you will need to completely reupholster the interior of your vehicle. They include precut fabrics, padding, adhesive, and other essential items. Using a well-designed upholstery kit can be very beneficial for car enthusiasts who are looking to tackle the interior of their car on their own and save money in the process.

In tis article, we explain what you can expect to find in upholstery kits for cars, how to select a suitable auto upholstery kit for your car including class car upholstery kits, plus a few brand recommendations.

When to Use an Auto Upholstery Kit

Although car upholstery kits are a great way of saving money, they are not always the best option. It’s important to know when to use an auto reupholstery kit, and when you should hire a professional to do the job instead.

Using an Auto Upholstery Kit

If you have at least some basic skills and are fairly comfortable with working with a wide variety of different tools, then it might be beneficial for you to try reupholstering the interior of your car using an auto upholstery kit. Of course, being able to take pride in the restoration of your car plays a crucial role in determining whether to use a kit or not. After all, they are a great way of saving you money, and allow you to complete all of the reupholstering work on your own.

Hiring a Professional

Not everyone has the time or patience for a DIY project of such great magnitude. Most car upholstery work is complex in nature, as there are countless designs that use very intricate patterns. If you lack the necessary experience in working with upholstery and want a flawless and professional-looking result in the end, then it might be a better choice to hire a professional to get the job done right the first time.

auto upholstery kit for family cars
For family cars and less valuable vehicles, the easiest and cheapest solution is to simply fix damaged car upholstery using a repair kit instead of replacing it all.

How to Choose an Auto Upholstery Kit

When it comes to choosing the right upholstery kit for your project, there are several factors that you need to take into consideration when making a final selection. Not all kits are created equal, so it’s important to take the time to determine which factors are more important to your particular project.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Upholstery Kits for Cars

Quality of Materials

Kits for car reupholstery come in many different shapes and sizes. And although they are a great way of saving money, it is important to not cut corners when choosing a high-quality kit. Take the time to look for kits that make use of quality materials including foam, fabric, and adhesives. After all, you get what you pay for.

Fit and Compatibility

Although there are some kits that are universal in nature, it is best to always choose an option that is specifically designed for your make and model. These specially designed kits, come precut with all of the panels that you need to re-assemble and cover your car’s original interior. While specialized kits are more expensive, they are definitely worth the added price.

Type of Material

When selecting, take the time to determine what type of material you want to cover the inside of your car. There are many different kits available on the market today, and they come in a wide variety of materials including vinyl, leather, and cloth.

Color and Design Options

Pay close attention to the colors and design options that are available from the supplier. You want something that matches your car’s aesthetic and of course your personal preferences. Whether you are looking for a single-color design, or are seeking a flashy, multicolored design, find something that will add value to your car.

Ease of Installation

Even if you have a significant amount of experience with DIY automotive work, working with upholstery can be quite difficult. Check to make sure that the kit you are purchasing now only comes with excellent instructions, but that the supplier also provides you with video tutorials and top-notch customer support to assist you throughout the installation process.

Included Tools and Hardware

You will find that a wide variety of kits will come complete with the necessary tools and hardware to complete the job. However, not all kits are all-inclusive. Before making a final selection, verify that the kit includes the tools, hardware, and other accessories that you need to get the job done right the first time.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

Take the time to read any reviews or ratings about the particular manufacturer or kit from a number of different sources. By selecting different sources for your research, you can reduce the chances that the reviews or ratings are biased in one way or the other.

Price

Of course, price plays a very important role when it comes to choosing an auto upholstery kit. While purchasing a kit is a great way of saving you money, it is important to make sure that you also find something that’s well within your budget. You need to consider both how much you are willing to spend, as well as how much you are willing to compromise on the final quality of the product.

Warranty

Believe it or not, many kits available on the market today come with some form of warranty or satisfaction guarantee. Make sure to select a product that has a guarantee or warranty of some sort.

classic car upholstery kits
Finding classic car upholstery kits to suit your model may be challenging. When in doubt, take it to a professional for assessment.

Special Considerations for Classic Car Upholstery Kits

Here are some additional considerations that you need to factor in when selecting an upholstery kit for a classic car. Ensuring that you choose a high quality classic car upholstery kit intended for your model, will help ensure a high quality finish that may even improve the value of your classic vehicle. Don’t cut corners with classic cars, otherwise you can risk damaging the appearance and value of your prized possession permanently; when in doubt, take it to a professional auto upholsterer for assessment.

Classic Car Upholstery Kits – Important Considerations

Authenticity

When it comes to restoring a classic car back to its original state, you want to look for classic car upholstery kits that are designed to match the original materials and design as closely as possible. If you cannot locate an authentic dealer of OEM parts, then look for something that is as authentic as possible.

Availability of Parts

Let’s face it, one of the biggest challenges with restoring a classic car is that many car interiors are extremely hard to find. This is why many enthusiasts opt to upgrade their car’s interior to a custom design instead.

Customization

When all else fails, you want to choose a classic car upholstery kit that provides you with the amount of customization that you need to truly bring out the beauty of your classic car. Look for kits that are high quality, and feature highly customizable options that will make your car look stunningly beautiful.

Auto Upholstery Kit Recommendations

Although there are many different suppliers of auto upholstery kits, here are some recommendations of the most popular brands available on the market today.

Popular Auto Upholstery Kit Brands

Legendary Auto Interiors

Website: https://www.legendaryautointeriors.com/

Since 1983, Legendary Auto Interiors has been providing some of the highest quality car reupholstery kits available on the market today. They offer a wide range of options for both classic as well as modern cars that will suit just about anyone’s personal preferences.

TMI Products

Website: https://www.tmiproducts.com/

It was back in 1982 when TIMI Products first opened its doors, and since then have grown to become one of the leading car upholstery suppliers in the industry. They are well known for providing an extensive selection of kits and customization options. TIMI can cater to just about any make and model.

Acme Auto Headlining Co.

Website: https://www.acmeautoheadlining.com/

Acme Auto Headlining is one of the oldest and most well-respected names in the industry. Founded back in 1948, Acme has been providing a range of original-style kits for a large selection of classic cars. While many other manufacturers focus mostly on newer cars, Acme has been a reliable source of authentic OEM products for decades.

Kee Auto Top Manufacturing Co.

Website: https://www.keeautotop.com/

Key Auto Top first opened its doors back in 1964 and has been providing both convertible tops and upholstery kits for a wide range of classic cars ever since. When it comes to restoring your vintage or classic car to its original condition, you can come to rely on the quality products provided by Key Auto Top Manufacturing.

Distinctive Industries

Website: https://distinctiveindustries.com/

It was back in 1969 when Distinctive Industries first opened its doors to the public. They offer a large selection of high-quality reupholstering kits for classic American cars. The vast majority of their selections include original style materials and patterns, allowing car enthusiasts to restore their classic cars to their original condition.

Final Thoughts on Using an Auto Upholstery Kit

When it comes to car upholstery, ultimately, you have a few options. If your car is older and holds no value, whether sentimental or monetary, the cheapest solution is to make some basic repairs to damaged upholstery without replacing the lot. For this, you can purchase a simple car upholstery repair kit, which we’ve covered in a previous article in detail as well as this step-by-step tutorial to repairing torn upholstery fabric in cars.

Alternatively, if you own a classic car or some other car that holds value to you, the choices are to take your vehicle to a professional upholsterer that specializes in car upholstery, do it yourself, or use an auto upholstery kit. In this case, it’s really a case of ‘you get what you pay for’.

DIY Upholstery

Unless you are seriously committed to learning how to do the work from scratch properly and have an experienced auto upholsterer guide you through it in person, it’s not a good idea to attempt your own car upholstery replacement on a valuable vehicle. The risk is that you will mess up the job, and subsequently devalue your vehicle.

Professional Upholstery

This is the safest option and takes the responsibility out of your hands, but can be very costly, especially for classic cars and any other models that require customization, or hard to source parts and fabrics.

Auto Upholstery Kit

This is a good balance between DIY and Professional Upholstery. The challenge is finding a kit that will fit your particular vehicle.

If you are considering finding and using upholstery kits for cars, the next logical step is to research your car model to see if auto upholstery kits exist for it, whether original or after-market. The results of that search will determine ultimately whether an auto upholstery kit is your best option, or not.

For more tips on car upholstery maintenance and tips, be sure to check out all the articles in our Car & Automotive Upholstery section.

Happy upholstering!