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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Can these 2003 Outback leather seats be helped?

outback bean leather

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5 replies to this topic

#1 pleiades1995


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Posted 15 July 2014 - 10:12 PM

I'm considering buying a 2003 Outback LL Bean H6 (120k, they're asking $5300, in pretty good shape). However, the seats (especially the driver's side) are--I don't know--dirty? the beginning of cracks? I'm new to leather seats so I don't really know how they wear or age. I'm not sure what these light-colored streaks are. Does that mean the whole thing is dirty and they're just creased/not dirty areas? Or are the light areas where the color has worn off from rubbing? (the leather is painted, right?). In person they don't look/feel like they're ready to split/crack.

Either way, is there anything I can do about it to improve the looks or should I just live with them? The rear seats I'm not so worred about as I don't look at them every day. I've done some reading on general cleaning & taking care of leather seats for these Outbacks, but I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing (if it's possible) for whatever it is that is going on. Thank you!

[The image sizes aren't that great, hopefully you can see what I'm talking about.]

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#2 Fairtax4me



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Posted 16 July 2014 - 12:56 AM

Ehhk! Pukesburg! Those a friggin gross!

Dogs and kids have seen to the ruin of many a leather seat.

The best you can do is clean them with a damp cloth with dish soap and warm water. You don't want water dripping all over because it will harden and shrink the leather, so wring the cloth out well before wiping the seats.

After everything is dry apply a leather conditioner. The stuff in the brown bottles at the auto parts store works well. Lexol? I haven't used any in a while, can't remember the name off-hand.

There may be some cracks/lines in the color coating on the leather. This is normal with age and use and wear. The brown stuff is not normal (on these) and may not all clean off.

#3 pleiades1995


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Posted 16 July 2014 - 07:31 AM

LOL, you have a good eye, the owner has three giant dogs. I should have taken pics of the chew marks on the rear interior door handles! Not a lot of tooth marks, but the seats (condition & color) are the only things really making me hesitate about this car. I would have preferred a grey or black interior, but I think finding a black leather interior on a loaded H6 is well nigh impossible or would take too long, though I'm not in a super rush.


Would a good professional detailing job help these seats any more than me trying/buying different stuff?


Actually, I'm borrowing it Thursday to take it to my garage (the owner trusts me), so maybe I'll try to inconspicuously clean a bit of the seat. Some people on the forums have suggested a Mr. Clean magic eraser.


Below is exterior pic so you can see the outside purty.

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#4 lmdew



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Posted 16 July 2014 - 07:44 AM

Go to the Local Self Serve yard and pull an interior.  Easy to do and Cheaper than trying to get them professionally cleaned.

#5 Fairtax4me



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Posted 16 July 2014 - 11:15 AM

Magic eraser is too abrasive for leather and will likely damage the color coating.

A professional detailer will probably charge $100-150 for an interior cleaning and leather treatment, and they may not be able to remove all of the staining. It's kind of a crap-shoot. Especially if you have red clay dirt in your area. Red clay stains badly and usually doesn't completely come out.

There could also be staining due to any "leather" treatments the previous owner may have used. Alot of people like to use Armor-all on leather, and armor-all only makes the dirt sink in further.

#6 freekraz


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Posted 16 July 2014 - 03:23 PM

First of all, these seats look pretty good for an 11-year-old car with 120,000 miles. If you want perfect leather seats, buy a new Outback for $30,000.


Secondly, you should get some leather treatment to nourish the leather and bring back some of the cracked areas. I have used this with good results:




Good luck with the car.


Jeff in Boston

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: outback, bean, leather

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