How to Make Classic Car Upholstery Look New – Colorbond Paint

How to Make Classic Car Upholstery Look New

November 17, 2022


Age is what makes a car a classic car. Any car that is 25 years old, or older, qualifies. That means those cars have had at least 25 years of opportunity for leather or vinyl upholstery to fade and become stained. Some cars have been preserved better than others; There are those with upholstery in like-new condition, while others leave owners wanting to know how to make their classic car upholstery look new.

Historical interest or rarity of a car or truck can determine its value as a classic. But like many things in life, value and desirability are subjective. Sure a 1965 427 Cobra has high value as a classic car due to historical interest, popularity, and rarity. That’s reflected by its incredibly high monetary value. But even a 1980 Chevy Citation, which doesn’t have the wow factor nor the monetary value of a Cobra, has high value as a collectible classic for those who appreciate it. Whether the vehicle is a 427 Cobra, a Chevy Citation, or any valued classic car or truck, if the upholstery isn’t too far gone there are easy and economical ways to renew faded, scratched, or stained leather and vinyl classic car upholstery without having to replace it.

How to Clean Car Upholstery

  1. The first step to make classic car upholstery look new is to give the leather or vinyl is to clean the car upholstery to remove dust, dirt, skin oil and other contaminants. Before using cleaning solutions, give it a wipe down with a wet cloth or sponge, to remove the loose debris.
  2. Be careful not to damage the leather or vinyl when cleaning. Don’t use scrub pads or abrasives, but only soft cloth (like microfiber), sponges, and brushes. Don’t scrub hard. Use circular motions and light pressure.
  3. When cleaning vinyl, you can use off-the-shelf cleaner designed for automotive vinyl. ColorBond Prep Cleaner works well for this purpose. Or, if desired you can use a homemade solution of white vinegar and water in a 50-50 mix. Rub the chosen cleaner into the vinyl and let it sit for a minute. Then scrub it using circular motions and light pressure until the vinyl is clean. When done wipe off the cleaner residue with a clean, damp cloth and then use a dry to cloth to wipe the upholstery dry.
  4. When cleaning leather, you can use leather cleaner (like afore mentioned ColorBond Prep Cleaner), saddle soap, or another mild leather soap. Or you can make a homemade formulation by combining one-part white vinegar and two parts linseed oil in a bowl or spray bottle. Apply the cleaner of choice on the leather and let it sit for a minute and then scrub with a soft bristle brush using a circular motion and light pressure. Once the leather is clean, wipe off the cleaner residue with a clean damp cloth wet cloth and then use a dry to cloth to wipe the upholstery dry.

How to Renew Faded or Stained Car Upholstery

You may find your classic car upholstery has faded or become discolored. In these situations, leather and vinyl upholstery paint for cars can be used to renew faded or stained car upholstery color, or even change it to a different color. 

ColorBond LVP is a perfect choice when you need to paint classic car upholstery and it’s trusted by professionals as well as DIY users for classic car upholstery restoration. The user-friendly leather, vinyl and plastic paint is easy to apply and bonds strongly without cracking or peeling. The color and finish quality are beautiful, and ColorBond LVP has the durability needed to look great for a long time. Over 205 colors are offered.

Ferrari Dino upholstery refinished with ColorBond LVP

How to Apply ColorBond LVP in 3 easy steps:

  1. Clean the vinyl or leather– While you may have previously cleaned the vinyl leather, it is important to be sure all cleaner residue and oils are removed to best prepare the surface for bonding of the paint. This is done with ColorBond Prep Cleaner. If you previously used this cleaner the surface will be ready if it was cleaned immediately before painting. If not, scrub down the surface with Prep Cleaner using a clean, tack free cloth using a circular motion. Remove the excess with a clean dry cloth and allow five minutes drying time.
  2. Masking– Mask off areas which are not to be painted using masking tape.
  3. Painting– Apply a light mist coat of ColorBond LVP, holding the can 12” from the surface. Add additional coats as necessary, allowing 2 minutes dry time between coats. The paint bonds in 10 minutes.

Camaro upholstery color changed to black with ColorBond LVP

With a thorough cleaning, and use of leather and vinyl upholstery paint for cars when needed, you can make classic car upholstery look new. And compared to the typical classic car interior restoration cost you’ll save significant money by avoiding upholstery replacement.