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What are the Different Types of Seat Covers?

Paulla Estes
Updated May 23, 2024
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There are many different types of seat covers for your automobile, depending on your taste, your pocketbook, and the purpose you want them to serve. They are generally divided into three categories: those designed to protect seats so they will stay in good shape, those made to cover seats that are damaged or worn out, and those that simply change or enhance the style of the existing seats.

When large amounts of hard earned money have been spent on a good quality automobile, owners and leasers alike will want to protect the seats, which after all, take much wear and tear. Since cars quickly depreciate, they must be preserved and protected as much as possible; good quality seat covers will help them retain their value. Of course, if an older, used car has been purchased, the look and comfort of the seats may have faded over time, and covers for the seats can bring back the look and feel of a newer car. Lastly, there are those of us who simply want to put our own personal style into our cars. Seat covers can be found in a variety of colors, patterns, and fabrics, and many car owners even have their name, initials, or business logo embroidered onto them.

Perhaps the best, and the most expensive, seat covers are those made to fit a specific kind of car seat. These custom-fit covers look and feel as though they were factory installed; their style, design, and fit are made-to-order. In addition, when covers are custom made for a specific make and model of an automobile, they will not interfere with the seat belt, seat control buttons, head rest, or side-impact air bags.

Semi-custom seat covers are a bit less expensive, but include nearly all the qualities of the made-to-order variety. This type is generally made to cover the seats in specific types of cars. For instance, a set might fit all the sports utility vehicles or all the compact cars of a particular make of automobiles.

Universal seat covers are just what they sound like: they fit any type of seat in any type of vehicle, including every make, model, and year. They are less expensive and easy to install, as they usually just stretch over the existing seats. Manufacturers have warned, however, that this type should not be used on cars with side-impact airbags.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Paulla Estes
By Paulla Estes
Based in Maine, Paulla Estes is a freelance writer and website editor with a B.A. in English Literature from George Mason University. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Paulla appreciates the flexibility and consistency that comes with contributing to WikiMotors. She relishes the opportunity to continuously learn new things while crafting informative and engaging articles for readers.
Discussion Comments
By Matis — On Jul 15, 2011

The last car I bought was used. I got a good price on it, and it is mechanically sound. But the upholstery leaves something to be desired. The driver’s side has suffered some wear, but the back seat has taken the most abuse.

I knew I would have to buy rear seat covers right away. I did some looking around and price comparing before I settled on the seat covers that suited me best. I managed to find matching seat covers for the front as well as a steering wheel cover to complete the set.

The covers have really added aesthetic value to my car and I feel a lot better in it. It is great how something as easy as seat covers can change the overall appearance of your vehicle.

By mantra — On Jul 14, 2011

When it comes to seat covers for cars, I have been a long time fan of the beaded seat covers. They may invoke images of cab drivers in crowded cities, but I find them to be very comfortable. Driving is like getting a mini massage.

They can get warm in the car, so I suggest putting up shades in the window while the car is parked. They might not protect your original car seats as well as some of the ones with material that completely covers the seat. But, as for comfort, they are my favorite.

Paulla Estes
Paulla Estes
Based in Maine, Paulla Estes is a freelance writer and website editor with a B.A. in English Literature from George...
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