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Interior - plastic and leather

Fig 34. This scuff is on vinyl, which is made to look like leather. In this case the repair is done in the same way we would repair real leather.

Advice: Leather & Vinyl

Be careful sliding in and out of your car over leather upholstery and try to avoid the bolster. This area of the seat will always wear fastest, but often they can wear all the way through. Although normal wear to your upholstery is acceptable, if your leather is cracked and worn through, likely or not this will be judged to be excessive wear and incur a recharge. Leather is very delicate!

Take great care with zips, rivets and buckles on clothing. Try not to wear jeans on leather seats, and do not sit on your coat, these items will mark, scuff and even rip leather.

Take great care on those trips back from Ikea! The majority of damage we see to leather seats are caused by putting stuff like mirrors and picture-frames into the passenger area of the car instead of the boot in an attempt to keep these items safe and unbroken on the journey home. But on balance it is far cheaper to replace a £5.99 picture frame than to repair leather upholstery.

Fig 34A. Some scuffing and a deep gouge in a plastic dashboard.

Fig 34B. Apologies for the poor quality of the photo!
The area is smoothed, filled, smoothed again and then a texturizer is applied to match the original finish. Finally the area is repainted to match.

Advice: Plastics

With so many after-market items on the market it is tempting to bolt any number of extras to your dashboard. Bare in mind that any holes drilled into the dashboard of a leased or contract hire vehicle for fixtures will need to be repaired before you return your car. If you do need a mobile phone holder or satellite navigation system try and have them fixed to hard plastic, and not to areas of the dashboard or centre console which are covered by soft vinyl. Hard plastic is easier to repair but will probably not be much cheaper! If you do have to fix something to the dashboard or interior trim, be prepared to pay to have it fixed, so avoid it at all costs.

Using double sided tape is not a better option to drilling. The solvents in the glue on the tape will in time leach into the plastic and cause damage to the surface, especially on areas of the dashboard that catch the sun, they become baked on leaving you with an even bigger area to repair than a few screw holes.

The only method of fixing which doesn't do damage is suction cups attached to the glass.

Although we recommend getting yourself a 'No Smoking' sticker, you should place this on the inside of the windscreen, avoid putting any stickers on the dashboard or trim.

You must also be very careful with air fresheners (magic tree type card). Although it can be annoying to have them dangling from the rear-view mirror, avoid placing them so that they hang onto the dashboard, centre-console or steering column. Many air fresheners contain oils which can stain or even melt plastic over time, this kind of damage is not acceptable to lease companies.

If you have damage or wear to leather or fabric upholstery and you are wondering if anything can be done about it, upload a photo to Ask the Experts and we'll advise you - no obligation.

Ask the Experts about upholstery repairs.
De-Fleet Services

Our End-of-Lease Services provide quality repair for excessive wear and tear, and is acceptable and appropriate for Contract Hire, Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), Private Lease, Contract Purchase and Lease Purchase. Fleet managers wishing to efficiently prepare off-lease vehicles can contact us or send their drivers directly to our Q&A. Our advisors are trianed by Manheim to work to the BVRLA guidelines.

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This page was last updated on Wed, 12 October, 2011
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