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Rob's Garage

How can her leather seats look as good as new? Add to ...

Hi Rob,

I am having a problem with the leather seat on the driver's side of my 2006 Mazda3. Although my Mazda is almost 5 years old, it has always been kept under cover & has only 43,000 km on it.

I brought the situation to the attention of the service department at my Mazda dealer last fall and was informed that I was just outside of warranty period. I was advised that they could fill the leather for approximately $200. I was not pleased with this solution, so I attempted - unsuccessfully - to deal with the Customer Relations dept.

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I have two concerns with this solution:

1. I do not know what filling leather means and whether it would in fact be the right solution.

2. Will filling the leather last?

I would appreciate any guidance you can give me, Gail

Interesting how my questions come in clusters. I recently answered another question about car seats, last time it was a Toyota minivan.

To answer your question, "filling" leather is a term used to describe the chemical action that takes place within the pores of leather when a good quality leather condition is applied to upholstery. The ingredients in leather conditioners are absorbed by leather, bringing back some of the original colour and lustre. This gives the appearance of filling in the scratches and blemishes close to the surface of the leather. The scratches don't actually fill in.

I know the warranty thing is annoying Gail, but looking after the cosmetics of your car will be viewed by any manufacturer as the responsibility of the owner. As for the patina of your seat backs, regular application of quality leather products will go a long way in improving the look and feel of the leather.

You may find that several applications of conditioner may be required to provide a long-lasting effect, but once you get your seats looking good again, you may find that conditioning them once every six months will work fine.

Send your automotive maintenance and repair questions to globedrive@globeandmail.com

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