Seat covers can add comfort to your car, protect the seats against fading and wear, and cover damage that already appears on the seat.


– Consider price. The old adage, "You get what you pay for," applies here. The price helps signal the quality of the cover. Mass-produced covers, for example, are often inexpensive but are not built to last. They’ll shift around and wear over time.

– Know your car’s make, year and style of seat. Cars come with such seat styles as: front bucket high back with adjustable headrest; front bucket low back with integrated headrest; front bucket captain’s chair; plain bench, solid front or rear; or split bench seat.

– Consider the type of headrests on the seats, whether the seat belt comes out of the seat, and whether the seat includes an air bag, electrical controls or manual controls. Some headrests sit on two posts; others sit on just one but have a special mechanism. Seats that have air bags appear in the latest models of Volvos, Lexuses, some Toyotas and some Volkswagens.

– Select seat covers with material that is water-repellent, machine-washable, tough and durable. There is a wide variety of materials available. Sheepskin withstands heat and cold, is warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and absorbs perspiration. Velour, canvas, tweed and Cordoba are good-quality and built to last.

– Select covers from a company that offers a lifetime warranty.

– Check the yellow pages or Internet for auto boutique shops, which carry quality custom seat covers.

Tips & Warnings

Even if you know the model and year of your car, there still may be problems in selecting the proper seat cover. There are variations within the same model car. Toyota Avalon, for example, comes with two bucket seats or with seats that have bigger bottoms than tops, because some models come with an armrest in the middle of the bucket seats or have center consoles in the middle, in which case they have plain bucket seats. Headrests can differ, too. For example, the BMW M-3 two-door comes with one type of headrest, while the four-door comes with another type of headrest.


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