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How to Install Seat Covers

Rough Country Neoprene Front Seat Covers F-150

By Garrett Davis - May 22, 2020

Someone needs to invent a car that never loses that new car smell, don’t you think? And no, those “new car smell” air fresheners don’t count. Those are a joke that nobody is falling for. It’s not just the new car smell, it’s keeping everything inside pristine and nice — something that’s nearly impossible on a daily driver. Every Big Gulp is a potential sticky stain when traversing a bumpy road, every takeout burger is a greasy spot waiting to happen, and every dirty work shirt is a sweaty seatback odor that may linger longer than it should. Luckily for you, a set of high-quality seat covers are a great and affordable line of defense against each of these daily hazards.

So by now you’ve probably thought about ordering seat covers and one point or another, but may have hesitated because you don’t know how the seat covers would fit over your seats, how they would look, or even how to install them in the first place. Good news, everyone! We’ve got options that will look great, and they’re probably a lot easier to install than you might think.

How to Install Car Seat Covers:

Bucket seat installation:

  1. Remove your headrests.
  2. Slide the back piece of the seat cover over the back of your seat, making sure that the cover’s seams match up with the seat’s contours.
  3. Tuck the seat cover through the crease where the seat and seat back meet, and secure any sewn fasteners on the backside. Most seat covers use Velcro or snaps to stay put.
  4. Once the back piece is in place, slide the cover’s bottom piece over the lower cushion. Again, make sure that the cover’s seams line up with the seat’s contours.
  5. Tuck the seat cover through the crease of your seat and run the tie-down straps from the front of the cover to the back. Connect the straps to the back and tighten for a snug fit (don’t be afraid to pull hard, good seat covers are a tight fit).
  6. Slide the headrest covers into place and put your headrests back into the seat.

Bench and Back Seat Installation:

  1. Remove your headrests.
  2. Wrap the seat cover’s back piece around the bench seat’s back and pull it tight, making sure that the cover’s seams line up with your seat’s contours.
  3. Tuck the seat cover through the crease of your seat and secure it on the backside with the Velcro or straps.
  4. Secure the Velcro seams around the outline of your seat, pulling as tight as you can.
  5. After the back piece is in place, slide the cover’s bottom piece over the lower cushion. Line the seams line up with the contours.
  6. Tuck the seat cover through the crease of your seat and run the tie-down straps from the front of the cover to the back. Connect the straps to the back and tighten until it’s secure.
  7. Put on the headrest covers and insert your headrests back into the seat.

Some seats or seat covers may require specific steps, so you should always go by the manufacturer’s recommended instructions first, but failing that, the steps above should be a general enough guide to get you there.

Taking the Next Step

Believe it or not, for a lot of people installing the seat covers is the easy part. Choosing seat covers for your vehicle is where it gets tricky. There are a lot of different options for fabrics, styles, and designs to choose from, and they all claim to be the best. Narrowing the list to one set boils down to your lifestyle and your sense of style. So, while we understand that a purple Hibiscus flower pattern may be screaming your name, you may want to lay down more serious protection if, for example, you do a lot of traveling with your four-legged buddy. Most dog seat covers are stitched with padded and quilted canvas, and are treated for “water” resistance.

If you’re the active, sporty, or surfing type, neoprene seat covers might be the best choice for you. Not only are they nearly waterproof — they’re made from a wetsuit-like material — but they’re also quite strong. There are a number of different brands to choose from, including Wet Okole neoprene seat covers and Saddleman Neosupreme seat covers.

What’s the Difference Between Neoprene and Neosupreme Seat Covers?

The names of the two fabrics sound a lot alike, and the marketing between them is near identical, but there are considerable differences between the two fabrics. CR-Grade Neoprene is an expensive, often thicker rubber material that’s used in top-grade wetsuits worn by surfers or scuba divers. This high-end neoprene is sewn into seat covers for the best in water protection and comfort. Neoprene seat covers also offer easier installation and cleaning than most, and are best for outdoor aficionados, swimmers, and parents with young kids because they are waterproof, sporty and durable.

Neosupreme seat covers on the other hand include some of the same materials used in genuine neoprene seat covers, but mixed with a polyester blend. This is a neoprene-like material called Neotex, and they’re often complete with a foam backing for added protection and comfort. While neosupreme fabric doesn’t stand up to the same level of abuse as CR-grade neoprene, it still provides your upholstery with a durable line of defense against minor spills and abuse.

Also, they achieve a similar sporty look and cushiony feel just like genuine neoprene seat covers, but without the higher price tag. If you’re looking for a good looking set of car seat covers that’s a bit more budget-friendly, AT’s neosupreme covers could be your best bet. Once installed, these seat covers look nearly identical to the more expensive CR-grade neoprene car seat covers, just without a little bit of the toughness and water resistance as the real deal.

What Other Seat Cover Fabrics Are Popular?

If you’re leaning a little more upscale, leather seat covers are an excellent choice. They give your interior the feel of an expensive dealership option without the expense. Or better yet, slide on a set of sheepskin seat covers as an unironic throwback to what we insist was a better time. Not only do they look awesome, and are just dripping with 80’s swagger, but you’ll feel like you’re sitting on a cloud.

Are you a hunter? Or maybe just like the feeling of being surrounded by the great outdoors? You should probably take a look at some of our camo seat covers are a no-brainer. They’re available in a wide range of authentic camouflage patterns and are sturdy enough to withstand mud, blood, and grime. Are you looking for extreme durability that can handle any mess? Or would you rather have stylish protection that delivers extra comfort? Either way, seat covers are the easiest way to give your interior the protection it needs.

What if you want a little bit of luxury? Who ever said living like royalty has to be pricey? If you want the look and feel of leather without the high price, it’s hard to go wrong with Coverking Leatherette Seat Covers. They are custom designed, cut, and are made to order to ensure a perfect fit. The high-grade vinyl fabric guards against UV damage, stains, mildew and rot, and with a tight fit, these covers resist seam slippage time after time.

If you’re still having a hard time deciding between leather seat covers or fabric seat covers, check out the seat covers reviews on our website. In fact, you can even read vehicle-specific reviews for your year, make and model. We even have a seat covers tech center to help you out as well, be sure to check that out.

Whatever material you go with, be sure to shop for custom seat covers instead of universals. You don’t want your new seat covers that you took the time to install to look like old sheets draped across your interior, after all. We also have tons of seat cover reviews, so be sure to check them out.