Parents. Pet owners. Tradies. We know we’re the worst of the worst when it comes to car cleanliness, right?
It’s not like we set out to have a stained filled car. We do clean it, pick up the mess, and wipe up the spills. It kinda just happens.
Our defense is “we’re surrounded by mess makers”. The kids, the dog, and the work-mate who eats his macky-dees burger IN THE CAR…!
But honestly. Up until recently, these truths didn’t really sit well with me.
My stance was “come on. Just look after your car, parent your kids, tell the pig (not talking about your kids anymore) to eat with his mouth shut. I dunno, be more human”…
But my-oh-my…. could I have been any more wrong?
As a parent myself, it all dawned on me pretty hard. One moment ignorant, the next I could see the light. Or rather, the stains.
Exceptions to the rule…
I get there are those out there that keep an immaculate ride. I salute them. So, no need to pile on to me about them… please.
And I get there are definitely times us parents, pet owners, and tradies can do better.
But for the most part, I believe the strains we put on our cars is mostly inevitable.
So let’s take a collective sigh about our predicament and consider ways to A) cover up the mess or B) even better… stop it from taking hold when it happens.
You might relate to this…
My family has a second hand Hyundai ix35 (small, cheap, SUV).
I have a 3 ½-year-old daughter that can spot a McDonalds sign faster than a South African cameraman can a cheating Aussie cricketer.
My wife (she normally drives it) is busy with a stressful job, does the childcare pick-up, and rushes home each day to get a simple meal going while I do a 1hr 20min commute.
We don’t leave food or anything nasty sitting around…
…we wash and vacuum our car on a semi-regular basis.
… sound familiar?
Anyway, on one fateful day — we still don’t know when — our little mess-maker spotted the golden arches on the way back from a late pick-up.
Mum gave in… it was late… better grab her a snack.
Then the aftermath...
(Best guess this is what sweet sauce looks like when it’s smeared all over and left to dry)
(Surrender. I’ll call it… Stains 1 – Factory upholstery 0)
Now the thing that gets me the most is that we didn’t pick this up earlier.
Honestly, how does a slurry of sweet sauce sliding around the back go undetected for however long? You’d think that’s the kind of thing you see and remove on a semi-regular clean.
And since we didn’t, it makes me think it was unavoidable. Like, if it didn’t happen now it was going to happen later.
And since it was unavoidable, how do I protect my seats in the future?
We can do this…
You’d know by now that FitMyCar is a car accessory manufacturer & retailer, so clearly there are ways avoid the stains.
So why didn’t I? The simple answer: I put it off. Maybe you can relate …
- I tend to put off a fix when it involves spending money
- The thought of giving up 15 minutes of my time to fit seat cover velcro or tie strips (stupidly) seemed a bit much; I mean that’s half a Netflix episode
- I didn’t twig onto a solution that might suit me more
- I’ve grown up being ‘cover averse’. (If you grew up with relo’s that put freezer bags over the remote control and leave the original plastic on their iPhone, you’d get what I mean). Slowly that’s changing, though…
They’re a tried and true solution that comes in a million different forms. You’ve got…
- Generic covers. These aren’t made for your vehicle so typically look worse than a saggy tattoo, except you can remove them…annnndd you should.
- Custom/made-to-fit covers. These are made specifically for your vehicle so you know some engineering has gone into them and your car will get a good fit.
- Airbag safe seat covers. There isn’t a specific regulation or standard for what is or isn’t a deploy safe seat cover. Having said that, when this badge is shown it means the manufacturer has deliberately engineered the cover to have weaker stitching around airbag areas to allow for easier deployment.
Then there’s the variations…
- Sheepskin seat covers. They come in two forms:
- 1) Genuine wool seat covers. Needless to say, these aren’t cheap. You might find a generic “fitting” front set of Merino covers going for $300-$400 and a made to fit set for $700-$900. Wool is great for comfort and will look like new even after the 1000th time you’ve sat in them. There is a risk to them, though. Unlike synthetic materials, the actual fibre can be stained. Obviously, this impacts the look of your covers. To get around this speed hump, you could always buy a black set.
- 2) Fake wool seat covers are cheaper than genuine wool and give you the same plushy look. Probably debatable if they feel the same as the real deal (we’d lean towards, no). Another downside is they might not retain and disperse heat like a proper set would. Summary, a compromise in quality but for the $$$ it’s a noble alternative.
- Canvas seat covers are one of the hardiest materials going around. You can hit them with water or dirt and these bad boys will fight back harder than Will Smith himself. Perfect for tradies, growing families, and campers. Also comes with a generous warranty and fitment guarantee.
- Neoprene seat covers are hardy too. They’re waterproof and feel a little bit like a giant wetsuit over your seats. Despite how that sounds, a neoprene seat cover is actually quite nice. It’s ideal for growing families, tradies and outdoor-sy (beach-loving) types.
- Microsuede seat covers are typically designed to look much like your original ‘factory’ seats. This is a great option for those who prefer their gear to blend in, not stand out. They’re not as hardy as Canvas though, so think about where and how you use your car before you get this set. As with the above, a good set will be engineered to be UV / fade resistant.
- Fabric seat covers are very similar to microsuede. They have the ‘factory’ look and similar warranties. Biggest difference is probably the feel. Microsuede has a suede-like feel. Fabric is slightly firmer to touch. Fitment is guaranteed on these.
Installing a set of seat covers can take on a few different forms:
- You’ve got Buckle clips. These are by far the easiest to fit and most secure option.
- Velcro fitment is another good option but the jury is probably out on whether it is better than material ties. On one hand, it’s a neater solution but you can’t crank up the tension like you can with material ties.
- Material ties can be tightened and tucked away out of sight.
Pet Seat Covers
Despite the name, pet seat covers are an excellent solution for a bunch of situations, not just pet owners. You could easily throw a cover over the back seat for the kids, under tools, or under the four-legged comrade, too.
It’s also a great option driver or front passenger. Yes, I said that. They’re easy to fold so you can go ahead and make it work for your setup. Versatility – check.
Another unspoken benefit is ease of installation.
Since you’re using buckle clips, it means you can click them into place – pronto.
Compared to seat covers it means less work, but on the downside, it also means less overall protection since it can only protect the section of the car you choose.
Summary: decide how much protection you need and make a call on which type of seat cover you need. Traditional Seat Covers are ideal for overall protection and consistent themed look. Pet Seat Covers are perfect for a wide range of lifestyles and can click in wherever you need protection most.
If you’re still wondering …why bother at all?
Protecting your car is important for a bunch of reasons that might apply to you.
For one, you might have an eye on the resale value of your car and need a way to maintain an unblemished look.
Two, you might want to cover a few sins from past owners, or like me, current owners.
Third, you’ve always had one so are comfortable going down this route.
Others still might be an ultimate pragmatist and figure buying a set of made-to-fit covers are cheaper than a whole new set of seats!
When seat covers aren’t a good fit for you…
It might come as a surprise for us to say this, but there ARE times when seat covers are not a good idea. They include:
- You own a car with leather seats. Covering up leather is like leaving the sunroof closed on a sunny day. It just shouldn’t be done. Unless you desperately like the look of fabric over leather I wouldn’t recommend it.
- You can’t find a set that actually fits your vehicle. They’re horrible.
- You expect them to fit tighter than a pair of Eddie Murphy’s jeans (reference below) from day one. A made-to-fit set will fit nicely but need time settle in. You are unsure though give us a call and we will assist, stat.
Final word on Seat Covers…
Get a cover for your car seats and save yourself the pain I had. Prices start at $89. Fitment is guaranteed and shipping is always free.