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Avoid these mistakes when considering seat covers for your vehicle

If you’ve been thinking about adding seat covers to your car to protect those new surfaces or to cover up those old ragged ones, consider these factors before making your decision.

Not all seat covers are made the same. Some are one-size-fits-all, easy to install, cheap, and meant for more short-term use. Others are all-weather, custom-made covers that will cost more money, but are designed for longer-term, if not permanent, use in your vehicle. Depending on how you plan on using those covers, it makes a difference what type you choose.

The cheap, one-size covers are fine if you’re just quickly covering up your seats to go to the beach or take a hunting trip. When you return, you pull off the covers and clean them up for future use. But these are not the seat covers you want to use permanently in your vehicle, or at least for long periods of time.

The custom-made seat covers offer more protection for your vehicle and won’t give you the problems the cheaper products will if you leave them on for the long term. They come in different styles and fabrics, including these amazing saddle blanket seat covers. But you will pay more for these covers, an investment that could save you money.

If you’re not looking for a quick, short-term cover, here’s why the custom-made seat covers are a better solution.

First, the custom-made seat covers typically fit snug around each seat, offering protection from dirt, fibers, and pet hair that might make their way under the cover. The custom design of the covers to fit your vehicle’s seats perfectly ensures that tight, snug fit. Without it, that dirt and debris can make their way under the looser seat covers and could lead to worse damage to the original seats, like embedded dirt scratching the leather or cloth surfaces.

This may not matter if your original seats are already damaged, stained, torn, or tattered. In that case, the loser, the cheaper cover might work for you. But just remember, that dirt and pet hair can work their way into your original seat’s surface and leave an unpleasant odor over time that may be difficult to remove. Make sure you remove the one-size-fits-all covers occasionally to clean your original seats and keep out as much of that unpleasant smell as possible.

Second, the custom-made seat covers are designed to maintain the operability of all seat functions, like adjustment controls, headrests, and console components. The same can’t be said of the cheaper seat covers that come in one size. You’ll also have to be careful with the looser-fitting seat covers, so they don’t get caught in the seats’ components, like forward slides or headrest locks.

Third, you must make sure that your new seat covers don’t interfere with the airbags installed in your vehicle to protect you and your passengers in an accident. Some airbags deploy from central components in a seat and could be hindered if covered improperly by a seat cover. Be sure that the custom-made seat covers take this into account for your vehicle. The cheaper, one-size seat covers do not provide this protection, so you’ll want to make sure that you leave the airbags free to operate when using them.

Again, if you have an older vehicle that doesn’t have airbags or only has them in areas away from the seats, this wouldn’t be a problem for you. But check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for information about airbags and any warnings given to ensure their operability.

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