The Different Types of Leather Used in Vehicles

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There’s something premium about detailing your car in leather. The superior feel, look and easier maintenance makes it one of the best material to go onto your car’s interior. Even though most refined car owners understand the pride, and extra costs, that come with a leather interior, many know that there’s more to leather than meets the eye.

Your upholstery will either be Aniline, Pigmented or Semi-Aniline.

Pigmented Leather

Also referred to as coated or protected leather, it is the most versatile thanks to the synthetic coat that goes over the hide. The hide retains its natural dark tan since it is the protective layer that gives the upholstery the desired pigmentation.

The manufacturer has the option of using a thick pigmentation layer to protect the hide better or go for high-end thin coatings that not only protect the processed hide well but also retain that natural feel and look. Thickly coated variants are cheaper to produce since the manufacturer can use low-quality hides and count on the thick protective coating to mask the flaws.

Most car interiors use pigmented finishes thanks to the thousands of possible finishes a manufacturer can use on the hide. This gives you the freedom to do a perfect balance between cost and looks and end up something that is as close to that perfect upholstery as you can afford.

Aniline Leather

Aniline gives you a hide in its natural form. This gives you a dyed and tanned hide with no protective coating whatsoever. The result is a soft and comfortable upholstery that is susceptible to damage. It will stain and scratch easily. Anything wet on its surface will lead to irreversible staining and stiffening. Even though aniline finishes are the closest you can get to the real leather, the fact that it is so susceptible to damage has made it a very rare find in the modern day automotive world.

This type of upholstery is rare due to its inferior versatility. It was, however, common in vintage cars back when protective coating leather wasn’t so popular. Classic car enthusiasts can easily pay a fortune to get customized aniline leather for special builds.

Semi Aniline Leather

Semi aniline versions will be a trade off between keeping the finish as natural as possible and lending it some versatility by giving it a thin but versatile protective coating. Semi aniline upholstery comes from premium hides that are dyed and finished to perfection since the thin protective layer cannot hide any flaws.

This makes semi aniline finishes the holy grail of car upholstery. The clever balance between practicality and that natural leathery feel makes it the best option for your car’s interior.

The amount you will pay for your semi aniline finish will depend on some factors like:

  • The type and quality of finish on the hide: Thin but resilient protective coats that give the least possible interference are the best – and the most expensive
  • Quality or type of the hide used to make the upholstery: Perfect hides with less or no blemishes will give an even patina that is more attractive

Knowing the type of finishing that is going into your car’s upholstery will help you make wiser trade-offs. Even though a good car detailing expert will advise you on the best upholstery for your money, knowing your options in advance will help you set aside the right budget for that look and feel you so much desire. Only you can understand your lifestyle and how you will use the car hence the type of finishing that will suit your budget and use scenario. Consider consulting experts from Z-One Automotive for advice on for your car interior. They will offer you expert advice, help you identify cleaning jobs that may need more experience, and offer after sales services for your equipment.