Custom vs Universal Seat Covers

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Ultra comfort leatherette beige seat cushions

As with all things, your vehicle is subject to the passing of time, and with that comes some wear and tear. Your seats are one of the most high-traffic areas of your car since you’re constantly getting in and out, most likely multiple times a day. This makes them especially prone to damage, whether from spills, tears, or just daily use.

It’s important to protect your car’s upholstery. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a set of seat covers, which will defend your seats from daily wear and tear as well as any of life’s happy accidents.

Typically, there are two varieties available on the market: custom seat covers and universal seat covers. While they have their similarities, they’re largely different products with many differences – and not all of them are as obvious as you might think.

Custom Seat Covers

Like the name implies, custom seat covers are custom made to fit your specific vehicle. They’re manufactured with extremely specific dimensions to conform to your seats down to every last inch, allowing them to fit like a glove. Even special features and peripherals are taken into account, including armrests, control panels, and storage compartments. They truly are perfectly designed for your vehicle.

Since custom seat covers are tailored so specifically, they can give your interior a polished, professional look. In many cases, you might be able to pass them off as your original upholstery. This makes upgrading your interior simple and effective. Any vehicle can instantly kick up the class a notch or two with some leather seats, and custom seat covers will give you that look for a fraction of the price.

Of course, there’s always a catch when something sounds too good to be true. In this case, custom seat covers tend to come with a hefty price tag, with costs easily soaring into hundreds of dollars. To be fair, most people would consider this price justified. After all, you’d be hard pressed to find a better fit anywhere else. On the other hand, people on a budget might not be so willing to part with their hard-earned cash for a set of seat covers.

The cost of custom seat covers can be considered a worthy investment, but they’re quite expensive to replace should something go awry. Most sellers include a warranty, but such agreements usually only cover manufacturer defects like damaged parts or faulty materials. If you happen to get a nasty tear in the covers, you’re on your own. You may not have to replace the entire set, but even replacing one single seat cover can easily cost you a pretty penny.

Another thing to consider is installation. Properly installing custom seat covers is often a complicated process, sometimes spanning hours. Since the pieces are cut so precisely, there’s no room for error when positioning them. However, don’t let that scare you off – though it may be a frustrating experience for some, most people would agree that the end result is worth the time and effort.

Universal Seat Covers

If custom seat covers are too pricey for your tastes, universal seat covers might be the way to go. They’re designed to fit a large range of vehicles, which makes them cheaper to produce. The manufacturer can then pass on the savings to the consumer, making universal seat covers a budget friendly option. Not only are they affordable to purchase, but their lower price makes it less painful to replace them if needed.

Shopping for universal seat covers is also an easier experience in general, since you don’t need to worry about whether or not they’ll fit your vehicle. Chances are, you can easily find a set that will work with your car, truck, or van. Some manufacturers even make seat covers for more uncommon vehicles, like ATVs.

In addition, universal seat covers are also much simpler to install than custom seat covers. Most universal seat covers consist of between one and three pieces, allowing them to be installed with ease. In some cases, it’s as painless as slipping a one-piece cover over your front seat and securing the straps.

This also makes them easier to take off, which lets you switch between covers with almost no hassle. You can switch up your look as often as you want without any complicated instructions. In fact, with how affordable universal seat covers are, you can easily invest in a few sets to match any season or style.

The simplicity of installation also makes universal seat covers easy to clean. While vacuuming usually does the job, it’s painless to simply take your seat covers off if things get particularly messy. Many varieties are machine washable for easy cleaning.

Choosing What’s Right For You

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong option. Consider your budget and lifestyle, as well as how much you’re willing to invest in your seat covers. Whether you splurge on fancy custom seat covers or opt for universal seat covers that are easier on your wallet, what’s important is how satisfied you are when all is said and done.