Leather seats in cars come in two main textures: perforated and smooth. Perforating leather simply means cutting holes into the leather at regularly spaced intervals.
There are several reasons why perforated seats make sense. The main reason with newer cars is that many models have built in seat heating and cooling, and the holes allow better airflow.
We receive a lot of questions about leather, so let’s take a deeper look into perforated leather seats pros and cons.
Perforated Leather Seats Pros and Cons
Perforating seats actually makes quite a bit of difference in rider comfort, look and feel and interior maintenance.
- Allow more airflow for better breathability
- Keep drivers cooler and help limit sweating in hot climates
- Act as a sound absorber to dampen unwanted road noise
- Provide a more luxurious feel (perforated leather is usually thicker to compensate for the holes)
- Has a more tactile and a less slippery feel
- Offer a clean, modern look
- Prone to wrinkling even more than smooth leather
- Allow small debris (e.g., crumbs, dust) and spills to penetrate the seat
- Require more maintenance to keep clean and maintain condition
- Can be more expensive
- Can be less durable, especially cheaper models (e.g., seat foam material can protrude through the holes ove time)
Are Perforated Seats Worth It?
To me, they most definitely are. I have them in my Grand Cherokee and live in a climate that is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. They remain comfortable even when temperatures exceed 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
After 3 years, there is a little wrinkling on the edges of the seat, but that is par for the course with leather. I personally think the effect is only 5% – 10% worse than with smooth leather.
However, other drivers may have different priorities and a different opinion. Review the pros and cons above to see if there are any “must haves” or “showstoppers” for you.
How to Maintain Perforated Leather Seats
We noted earlier that these seats can require more maintenance. Here’s how you can keep them looking new:
- Avoid parking in the sun. UV radiation degrades seats and dashboards much more quickly than car paint.
- Wipe away any debris or spills as soon as possible before they can penetrate the perforations in the seat
- Vacuum seats periodically, generally once a month
- Use a leather cleaner and follow up with a leather conditioner monthly.
In terms of cleaning the seats, I have found Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Conditioner to work best for me.
Simply follow these steps for amazingly clean leather seats:
- Wipe off any excess dust using a soft cloth
- Spray the cleaner on to a soft bristle horsehair brush (anything soft will work)
- Use small circular motions with medium pressure
- Wipe off the excess with a microfiber cleaning cloth
- Apply a small amount of leather conditioner to a cleaning cloth
- Work the conditioner into the leather with small circular motions
- Wipe of the excess with a microfiber cleaning cloth.
That’s it. This is a very simple, and I have to say, gratifying process.
Here is a brief two minute instructional video from the manufacturer that you may find helpful. One small note to point out, with perforated leather seats I would spray the cleaner directly on the brush versus the seat itself.
When buying a new car, perforated versus smooth, is rarely an option on any given model. If you’re buying a used car, restoring an older model or simply changing out seats, you may have a choice.
Generally speaking, perforated leather is cooler, quieter and has a more tactile feel. The downsides are primarily maintenance related. Perforated leather seats requires more cleaning as debris can get in the perforations.
Knowing the perforated leather seats pros and cons will help you make a better and more informed decision. Hopefully, this article has been informative.