A report in the 2014 Journal of Product Innovation Management highlighted that a car's aesthetic interior is more effective than lower price at inspiring a consumer's willingness to buy. Hence, utilizing the services of a good car interior repair shop not only ensures a comfortable finish and extended lifespan but can also increase the resale value of your car by almost 30%. Note, an unprofessional reupholstering and repairs will leave your car's interior tacky, which in turn negatively affects its overall value.
As such, whether you want to reupholster your car seats, dye your car carpet, or repair your car's console and dashboard, it is always better to employ the services of a professional car interior repair shop near you. This way, you are sure that the job will be done properly the first time around, and you do not have to worry about any financial liabilities that may arise as a result of on-the-job injuries and other unforeseen circumstances. When contemplating the choice of hiring the best car interior repair shop, you can narrow down your options by asking the following questions:
Are You Licensed, Registered, or Certified?
The running and operation of automotive repair shops in the United States is regulated at the state level by several states in the country. These states, which include California, New York, Michigan, and Florida, typically require repair shops that wish to operate within their jurisdictions to either obtain a license or register with relevant authorities before offering their services to interested members of the public. In addition to this, at least 10 states require occupation-specific professional licensing for auto repair technicians that repair or replace car upholstery.
You should always make sure that the car interior repair shop you intend to patronize is licensed to operate in your area of residence. Contact the consumer protection office that oversees your locality to find out the licensing requirements for these shops and also inquire whether car interior repair technicians in your area require occupation-specific licenses. If the car interior repair shop or technician fails to meet these licensing requirements, then you should consider a different car repair interior shop near you. You can also go a step further by requesting ASE certification from the shop or the technician. Auto repair shops and technicians that are ASE certified are generally considered experts in the automotive industry and this certification can go a long way in assuring you of the car interior repair technician's level of expertise as well as the repair shop's reputation. Note that not every technician in an auto repair shop has to be ASE certified for the shop to display an ASE certification logo. However, if the auto repair shop displays an ASE Blue Seal of Excellence logo, then it means that at least 75% of its technicians and mechanics are ASE certified, and each area of service or support that the repair shop offers is covered by at least one of these ASE certified professionals.
How Much Does Car Interior Repair Cost?
The cost of car interior repair generally depends on the extent of damage and the types of repairs that have to be carried out. The cost of materials required to replace the damaged parts of the car's interior also influences the total cost of these repairs. As such, you can pay as little as $50 - $250 to replace a seat belt or reupholster a car seat, or as high as $5,000 - $15,000 to customize the entire interior of your car. Some average cost estimates associated with car interior repair are listed below:
- Car bolster replacement - $100 - $300 (per bolster)
- Car carpet replacement - $150 - $500
- Car headliner replacement - $150 - $450
- Car interior repainting/recoloring - $500 - $1,500
- Cigarette burn hole removal - $20 - $60 (per burn hole)
- Custom seat cover installation - $200 - $1,500
- Dashboard trim repair/reupholstering - $300 - $1,000
- Front and rear seat reupholstering - $1,000 - $2,500
- Front bucket seat reupholstering - $250 - $1000 (per seat)
- Front seat reupholstering - $150 - $750 (per seat)
- Leather seats replacement - $400 $2,500 (per seat)
- Seatbelt replacement - $20 - $250
- Steering wheel recovering - $200 - $500
- Miscellaneous repairs - $100 - $300
- Labor costs - $50 $100 per hour
Before you settle on a particular car interior repair shop, you should consider getting cost estimates from at least three repair shops near you. This way you can compare and contrast their prices and select the shop with a cost that is closest to your budget. Another cost-saving measure you can take is focusing on only the areas of your car's interior that badly need repairs and limiting the work to those areas. Also, if you have to replace an entire seat, you should consider getting aftermarket seats or checking local junkyards for a similar seat that is still in good condition instead of going directly to the manufacturer or purchasing brand new seats from the factory. Finally, you can purchase a car repair kit and other materials like the upholstery fabric needed for your car interior job by yourself. Doing this reduces any mark-ups that you may be charged if these materials are provided by your car interior repair shop or technician.
What Are Common Car Interior Repair Expenses?
While car interior repair services do not typically include any extra expenses outside the cost of the repair itself, it is common to also carry out other repairs and enhancements on the exterior of your car to increase its overall appeal and value. These enhancements usually include painting and bodywork. A basic car paint job can cost you anywhere between $300 to $900, while a standard paint job that includes sanding and rust removal range from $1,000 to $4,500. Likewise, bodywork and car exterior repairs can cost as little as $70 or as high as $2,500 depending on the type of damage, the brand of your car, and the mechanic or technician involved. You should find out if your car interior repair shop also offers car exterior repair services and whether any discounts may be available to you for doing multiple repair work.
Who Will Do the Work?
It is important to find out who exactly will be working on your vehicle when you drop it off at a car interior repair shop near you. These shops usually employ more than one technician, who are then assigned to different jobs. If your area of residence has any licensing requirements for car interior repair technicians, then make sure that the technician assigned to your vehicle meets every single one. Always get a technician that not only pays attention to details but is also skilled enough to get the job done as quickly and professionally as possible. If the car interior repair shop is ASE certified or has an ASE Blue Seal of Excellence, then it is a good idea to insist on having an ASE certified technician work on your vehicle. Note that an ASE certified technician might charge higher fees than a technician that is not certified.
What Qualifications Should a Car Interior Repair Technician Have?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are currently over 26,000 employed professionals that make, repair, or replace upholstery in the United States, including those employed by the automotive repair and maintenance industry. Car interior repair shops typically require their technicians to have a high school diploma or its educational equivalent. Some of these technicians also further their education in technical schools and vocational schools as well as through apprenticeships and hands-on training with more experienced car interior repair technicians. Car interior technicians can also obtain certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. An ASE certification is tangible proof that a technician is knowledgeable, skillful, and experienced enough to professionally carry out any car interior repair work that you may need doing.
Will You Provide References?
Requesting references is a good way to distinguish between the professional and unprofessional car interior repair shops near you. Whether you get referrals from friends, neighbors, family, or online via the find a repair shop portal provided by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, you should always insist on getting references from any car interior repair shop that you intend to hire before you sign on the dotted line. Professional and reputable repair shops and technicians will not hesitate to provide you with the names and contact details of past customers that can vouch for their work. In many cases, they will also provide you with ˜before and after' pictures of car interior repair jobs that they have successfully completed. Do not retain the services of any car interior repair shop or technician that cannot provide you with at least three verifiable references.
In addition to asking for references, you can also utilize third-party websites like Better Business Bureau and Google Review to get independent and unbiased customer opinions and reviews on car interior repair shops near you.
Quick Facts about Car Interior Upholsterers and Repair Technicians
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A professional car interior repair shop can provide a wide variety of repair and restorative services to your car's interior. These services can range from replacing faulty seat belts and adjusting car seat lumbar support, repairing and recovering car armrests and carpets, and reupholstering old car seats, to repairing seat frames, installing new leather seats, and repairing luxury leather seats. Nevertheless, you should always make sure that the car interior repair shop near you offers the specific type of repair service that you require.
You can prevent tears and cracks in your car's leather seats by being careful about what you put on these seats. Avoid placing sharp and bulky objects like keys, tools, and pet carriers directly on your leather seats. You should also consider getting window shields or screens if your car sits in the sun, as extended exposure to direct sunlight causes leather seats to crack and fade. Finally, you should clean and condition your leather seats regularly. Note that you should always use gentle cleaners and conditioners that have been specifically designed for leather when doing this.
Car interior repairs can take as little as one to two hours to complete or as long as one week or more. The length of time that it will take to fix damages to the interior of your car typically depends on factors like the extent of the damage, the type of repair that is required to rectify this damage, and the availability of any materials and parts required for this repair. As such, it is always a good idea to get a definitive idea of how long it would take to rectify your specific car interior problem before dropping your car off at any repair shop.
Many professional car interior repair shops typically offer their customers guarantees or warranties that assure their customers that any repair jobs that they complete will last for a specified period or under certain stipulated conditions. Per these warranties, the car interior repair shops are usually responsible for covering the costs of any workmanship defects to the repaired areas of your car's interior during this covered period. Note that warranty conditions are heavily dependent on the car interior repair shops that issue them. Considering this, it is advisable to get any warranties that you are offered in writing and make sure that any conditions that may void the warranty are clearly stated.
Many car interior repair shops typically collect payment for their services when you go to pick up your car. However, you may be required to make an up-front payment to cover the cost of materials that will be required for the job before any repairs commence.
If you are not happy with the repairs carried out on your car's interior, then you should take the following steps:
- Document the areas of the repair job that were not satisfactorily done
- Inform your car interior repair shop about the issue. You should do this as calmly and courteously as possible so as not to exacerbate the situation. If the repair job is covered by your insurance, then you should also contact your insurance company and let them know about the situation
- Request that the work should be done properly
- Consider getting legal advice if the car interior repair shop proves to be unhelpful or flat out refuses to acknowledge that the repair job was badly done