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  1. #11
    Senior Member Eldorado2k's Avatar
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    Re: New Car, New Leather??

    Quote Originally Posted by paul_g View Post
    One thing not mentioned is the make/model/type of car, and car seats... For example, if it's a LS3 Corvette - probably has a real hide leather.
    If it is high-grade leather, the best thing to do is request a set of instructions from the manufacturer or reference the owners manual.
    Pinnacle Black Label has products for such leather.

    If it's a run-o-the mill leather seats, i.e. like in my Mustang GT or Malibu LTZ, it's coated pretty darn good from the factory.
    I condition because, like everyone else has stated, some conditioners have a wonderful scent to them. Pinnacle Leather Conditioner smells, well, like leather!!
    After doing my seats the car smells like walking into one of those stores that only sells leather jackets. Sadly it eventually wears off after a few days.

    But I think all other posts are pretty spot on here. There is a automotive leather expert on this forum that occasionally chimes in from the UK (I think..). Her posts are both informative and educational, in stating basically what has already been said.
    Would the same rules apply in a Mercedes Benz? I would tend to think so, right? I'm sure you've felt the major difference between a Benz with fake pretend MTex vinyl compared to 1 equipped with real leather interior. I guess my question is whether the real leather interior is coated or not? It feels so good the 1st thought is that it's not, but then again it wouldn't be ideal for them not to coat it, right?

  2. #12
    Senior Member FUNX650's Avatar
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    Re: New Car, New Leather??

    Knowing that since the majority of leather
    conditioners just sit on top of coated
    leathers...I say: Instead of using such
    leather conditioners on the vehicles'
    interior appointments---in order to have
    the vehicles' interiors' atmosphere be
    filled with a leather smell/aroma/scent...

    Why not just "condition" a separate (and
    easily removable) piece of leather.

    IMO:
    That'd save a lot of the wear & tear
    caused by the contaminates that are
    attracted to leather conditioners; and
    still be able to infuse the interior with
    a leather smell.


    Bob
    "Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk."
    ~Joaquin de Setanti

  3. #13
    Senior Member Eldorado2k's Avatar
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    Re: New Car, New Leather??

    Quote Originally Posted by FUNX650 View Post
    Knowing that since the majority of leather
    conditioners just sit on top of coated
    leathers...I say: Instead of using such
    leather conditioners on the vehicles'
    interior appointments---in order to have
    the vehicles' interiors' atmosphere be
    filled with a leather smell/aroma/scent...

    Why not just "condition" a separate (and
    easily removable) piece of leather.

    IMO:
    That'd save a lot of the wear & tear
    caused by the contaminates that are
    attracted to leather conditioners; and
    still be able to infuse the interior with
    a leather smell.


    Bob
    What do you suggest? That people hang up a leather jacket in their backseats and condition It?
    Has it ever occurred to you that the whole leather conditioners attract dirt concept way just be a myth? Or that the people who so strongly believe that may just be wrong?
    I use leather conditioner and IME it doesn't attract any dust or dirt, period.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Jaretr1's Avatar
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    Re: New Car, New Leather??

    The debate on whether its necessary to condition leather will go on for as long as there is leather in cars. I use both a conditioner and a protectant. Sometimes I am in the mood to just protect and the best one is Ultima Interior Guard Plus. It does not change the appearance of what it is being applied to and can be used on everything inside the car.

    However, if I want to amp up that leather scent, then so far my favorite conditioner is Pinnacle (not the black label) leather conditioner. Has a nice leather scent and also does not change the appearance of the leather.

  5. #15
    Senior Member FUNX650's Avatar
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    Re: New Car, New Leather??

    Condition(ed/er):
    That's the problem with Science.

    Sometimes you got a bunch of
    empiricists trying to describe
    things of unimaginable wonder.





    Bob
    "Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk."
    ~Joaquin de Setanti

  6. #16
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    Re: New Car, New Leather??

    Quote Originally Posted by galaxy View Post
    Hahahahhaha...one thought I had swaying me toward not using anything was trying to stay away from cleaners and conditioners that may have their own fragrance and take away from the new smell. Don't want that!

    So Adams leather stuff smells good? I actually really like their interior detailer.
    yes best smelling stuff ever . To me it smells like new leather . It's the closest thing to new car smell I have found . I also like the fact it's not shiny or greasy . It's dry and matte

  7. #17
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    Re: New Car, New Leather??

    Info how to care for your leather seats, dashboard and door panels.

    The three most common types of automotive leather are:

    Aniline: Leather that has been dyed and coated with a pigment (colored urethane paint) to yield uniform color and then clear coated. This type of leather does not reveal scars, pores and blemishes and has an artificial uniform grain pattern embossed. It is typically the only real leather in the seat and located only in the center inserts of the seat. The sides, bolsters, etc., are vinyl painted with the same colored urethane paint so it matches the leather inserts perfectly giving the entire seat a "leather" look. This is what 99% of cars have including Corvette, Escalade, newer Ferrari and Lamborghini. To demonstrate this just put a drop of water on your seat and see if it soaks in. It will not soak in as the leather has a painted on urethane coating on it. If water can't penetrate the coating how can "conditioners" and "protectants?" Read on.....

    Semi-Aniline: Leather that has been dyed and coated with a semi-transparent pigment then clear coated This type of leather may reveal some of the underlying scars and blemishes of the hide as well as some color and grain changes. Almost never seen in the past twenty years.

    Synthetic (aka vinyl): Much of the leather, and in some, all of the leather in many of today's vehicles is entirely synthetic or engineered leather. It looks like real leather but is really entirely synthetic. This is in use in some high ticket brands like Lexus, MB and Infinity for example. It is often difficult to tell what is real leather and what is engineered leather.

    The bottom line is 99.9% of cars sold today have leather only on the middle insert of the seat bottom and back. The sides are completely 100% vinyl. The color and texture of the vinyl matches the leather inserts perfectly as they are all sprayed with a colored urethane coating. A perfect way to demonstrate they are vinyl is the water drop test outlined above. Another way is pull some of the seat siding out from underneath the seat. Notice there is a very thin foam or cloth backing? Real leather (from real cows) doesn't have foam backing on it.

    Have you noticed the change in new car window stickers when referring to the seats? They now call the interior "leather lined," or "leather trim." Just take a look at a new C7 Corvette window sticker. They don't say "leather seats" like they used to. Now the C7 window sticker says, "Trim, Leather." This is because only the center inserts are actually leather! The remainder of the seat is vinyl. Remember, vinyl has a thin foam or cloth backing on it.

    Everyone seems to like the term "conditioner," but just what is conditioning? When leather professionals speak of “conditioning leather” they are usually speaking about leather hydration. Properly hydrated leather will be soft, plump and flexible making it resistant to creasing and cracking. Most traditional conditioners are typically oily or contain silicone, wax or things like Aloe or Neat's-foot or Mink oil. No protected, urethane coated, leather needs or benefits from these things. Conditioning products were initially designed for a much different type of leather like car seat who were 100% uncoated leather back in the 60's and 70's. Remember, none of these conditioners can absorb through the urethane coating making them useless.

    Most conditioners leave a film on protected leather that can hasten the accumulation of soil. Dirt is attracted to the oil as it sits on top of the urethane coating and in the stitching. Your butt rubbing back and forth across this dirt acts like sandpaper and actually buffs the colored urethane coating off. This is frequently the cause of early bolster wear!

    Conditioners do not penetrate the urethane painted top coat to condition the leather. True, some of the H2o in these conditioners evaporates and raises the relative humidity in the car cockpit which is beneficial as the leather will pick up the molecular H2o through the process of transpiration. Transpiration is the process by which moisture is carried through humidity to small pores on the underside of the leather/vinyl, where it changes to vapor and is released to the atmosphere. The leather/vinyl can absorb this through the untreated, underside of the material. However, a damp wipe down with a towel will do this as well and not leave that soil grabbing film.

    Keep in mind that the colored urethane topcoat was added to the leather for the purpose of preventing spills and liquids from getting to the leather, as well as hiding the leather’s underlying scars, and blemishes, while making the leather more abrasion resistant. The urethane topcoat is colored so all of the surfaces of the seat match the door panels, dashboard, etc. If they did not contain coloring, every single piece of "leather" in your car would not match.

    Leather conditioners do nothing to prevent stains or dye transfer. If your leather has developed cracks, using an oily conditioner may further degrade the adhesion of the painted topcoat around the crack and make the damage worse. Doesn't wet paper tear much easier than dry paper?

    So how does this painted on protective urethane coating work and still allow the leather to stay hydrated? Much the same way as a rain coat would protect you from a driving rain. At the same time the rain is being repelled, you will begin to notice that your clothing is becoming damp due to the 100% humidity level. That's basically how your leather stays hydrated, at the molecular level. If you want to test this put a drop of water on your protected leather in an inconspicuous place and leave for 15-20 minutes and you will see that it does not soak in. That is the urethane top coat preventing the absorption of the liquid as it was designed to do. H2o is a small molecule when compared to an oily conditioner so if water is not being absorbed by the leather, the larger molecules of a conditioner certainly are not.

    Ok, so for those who insist that their leather feels softer after using a conditioner I can suggest three reasons for this. The first is that the conditioner has left an oily film on the leather and it altered the "hand" or feel of the leather. It has not really done anything to the leather, as it can't get to the leather, but it makes the hand feel nice for a short time until it is rubbed off or evaporates.

    The other reason is that the conditioner likely contains a good deal of water and that it is raising the humidity level in the proximity of the leather. If this happens, the leather may absorb the water molecules and plump up and feel softer. The thing about this is that a wipe down with a wrung out watered cotton towel would accomplish the exact same thing.

    The third reason is that the term conditioner has no defined meaning. Who knows what is in the bottle labeled Leather Conditioner? What one company calls a conditioner another might call a protectant. Whatever your "conditioner" is will just give you the impression the leather is softer when you touch it since it is slick. It is certainly not "conditioned" since it cannot absorb into the leather or vinyl portion of your seats. Bottom line is the industry has too many vague definitions as to exactly what "conditioning" is.

    Leather is made soft in the tanning process and then sealed. You cannot add oils back through the urethane topcoat of protected leather. Leather becomes hard if it loses its needed hydration. Dry leather shrinks and feels hard. Much the same way a chamois gets hard when it is dry. Rehydrate the chamois and it becomes soft again. Rehydrate unprotected leather seats and they should soften to the degree designed in the original tanning process. Think about it.

    I never use products that contain neat's-foot, mink, or other oils, silicone, aloe, or any other odd, useless item, but often the labels doesn't tell you what is in the bottle. This includes Leatherique, Lexol, 303 Protectant, Armor All, Zaino, etc., etc. In my experience, these products do nothing but sit on top of the urethane top coating until your clothing wipes them off. In the meantime, they collect dust and dirt which is then ground into your seats and stitching as you slide across the seat getting in and out much like sandpaper. 90% of your seat damage comes from this!

    In fact, page 212 of the C7 Corvette owner's manual makes it clear that the only way to clean and treat the seats or other "leather" areas is with water and a mild soap - no cleaners or conditioners! This includes dashboard, door inserts, etc. More specifically, the manual states, "Use a soft microfiber cloth dampened with water to remove dust and loose dirt. For a more thorough cleaning, use a soft microfiber cloth dampened with a mild soap solution. Wipe excess moisture from these surfaces after cleaning and allow them to dry naturally. Never use heat, steam, or spot removers. Do not use cleaners that contain silicone or wax-based products. Cleaners containing solvents can permanently change the appearance and feel of leather or soft trim, and are not recommended. Soaking or saturating leather, especially perforated leather, as well as other interior surfaces, may cause permanent damage."

    Don't you think GM would recommend leather cleaners and conditioners if the material was in fact all leather?

    The only real, non-coated leather I have seen in a non-exotic car in the past 20 years is a Ford "Big Ranch" Truck. That is it! Take a look at one someday that is a year or more old. The seats will be a complete mess! Being uncoated everything soaks into them such as beer, soda, spew, jizz, body oil, urine, grease, dirt, etc. You will be happy the leather in your car is "coated" after seeing this. Remember, the reason this stuff doesn't soak into your seat is the same reason "conditioners" will not soak in so don't use them!

    I vacuum the leather in my C6, Ferrari 360 and Lambo Gallardo and wipe it down with a wrung out watered (damp) towel weekly. This includes dashboard, door inserts, etc. When they get dirty, I clean them with delicate soap like Woolite (10 to 1 ratio) or a highly diluted all-purpose cleaner, A very nice, gentle product is Leathermasters Foam Cleaner. You can buy it at AutoGeek, Amazon, EBay, etc. Leather Master Foam Cleaner is suitable for all leather types including Aniline, Protected, Synthetic (vinyl), Nubuck and Suede Leather.

    After cleaning, and before the seats dry, get the cleaning product out/off the seats with a wet towel. Not a damp towel, a wet, but not dripping wet, towel. Finish by wiping off and sucking up the moisture from the wet towel with a dry towel. Use several dry towels if necessary. The key is to absorb as much of the cleaner as possible. This ensures all of the cleaner was removed. Just a damp towel for normal maintenance and cleaning. That is it! Your leather will look like brand new for many years to come! My C6 is ten years old and the seats still look like brand new!

    You are going to read a lot of people who make comments disagreeing with me. Just conduct the two above tests and make your own decisions. Does a drop of water soak into the seat or just sit on top until it evaporates? Does the backing of your seat material on the side pieces (bolster) have foam or cloth on the back? Remember, your seats may feel softer after applying a "conditioner," but go back in a day or two and see if they still feel that way. Once the conditioner dries on the seats and on your hands, this softness is gone!

    If Corvette seats are 100% leather, why has GM changed their description on MSRP window sticker as "Trim, Leather" and why do they recommend against use of leather cleaners and conditioners? Always keep in mind that you’re dealing with the finished coating on the leather and not with the leather hide itself.

    Last example how leather needs nothing more than a simple wipe with a damp cloth. You know that fine leather and recliner couch you own? When was the last time you conditioned it with Lexol, Latherique, Zaino, etc.? Never! And I bet it still looks like brand new. How could this be if you need to smear leather conditioner and cleaners all over it all the time? Truth be known....do nothing and it will last forever!!!! Enuf said!

  8. #18
    Senior Member The Guz's Avatar
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    Re: New Car, New Leather??

    I can see you have this write up saved to copy and paste it in most of the leather threads that come up.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Eldorado2k's Avatar
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    Re: New Car, New Leather??

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob4092xx View Post
    In fact, page 212 of the C7 Corvette owner's manual makes it clear that the only way to clean and treat the seats or other "leather" areas is with water and a mild soap - no cleaners or conditioners! This includes dashboard, door inserts, etc. More specifically, the manual states, "Use a soft microfiber cloth dampened with water to remove dust and loose dirt. For a more thorough cleaning, use a soft microfiber cloth dampened with a mild soap solution. Wipe excess moisture from these surfaces after cleaning and allow them to dry naturally. Never use heat, steam, or spot removers. Do not use cleaners that contain silicone or wax-based products. Cleaners containing solvents can permanently change the appearance and feel of leather or soft trim, and are not recommended. Soaking or saturating leather, especially perforated leather, as well as other interior surfaces, may cause permanent damage."

    Don't you think GM would recommend leather cleaners and conditioners if the material was in fact all leather?
    Ok I'll be the 1 to disagree. In chapter 6, page 48 of my Cadillac owners manual it clearly states to use a Leather Cleaner. And since Cadillac has forever been GM's flagship maker, Corvettes take a backseat to Cadillac's. And if it states in the Cadillac owners manual to use a leather cleaner than that shall be considered law. And as far as the "recommended cleaners", I was at the Cadillac dealership just last month, and they've got a nice jewel display case full of products. Everything from Mothers VLR, Sonax Leather Cleaner, and various other cleaner & conditioner options from many known brands. So they do in fact recommend leather cleaners and conditioners just fine. I can stop by tomorrow and take a picture if you'd like proof. Lol.

    Leather Cleaner:

    http://i.imgur.com/dhLgVgth.jpg

    ... And, I believe last I checked, Meguiars D180 Leather Cleaner & Conditioner is water based. That's what I use when it comes to conditioners and works just fine. Doesn't attract dirt or anything negative at all. It's completely dry to the touch in a matter of a couple hours at the most. No worries.

  10. #20
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    Re: New Car, New Leather??

    Quote Originally Posted by postaltwo View Post
    You must be using adams leather conditioner . Stuff smells fantastic
    Grabbed a bottle...yes, that does smell great.

    Quote Originally Posted by paul_g View Post
    One thing not mentioned is the make/model/type of car, and car seats...
    2016 Ford Focus ST with the Recaro leather. Certainly a step better than the standard Ford leather in a standard car, and (at least judging with the old butt dyno, so to speak), on par with any other quality car I've been in. As good as any new Lexus I've ever owned. Seats and steering wheel feel great.

    I really, really, really want to save the steering wheel from getting that worn, shiney look you see on steering wheels after a lot of miles.

    Great read though. Some great points made. Only thing I'm left wondering would be between a dedicated leather cleaner or an AIO leather product. I ran an experiment on my truck steering wheel the other day. Cleaned with a damp cloth and thought it was clean. Went back over it with Adam's leather cleaner and it was not clean. That cleaned it. But...any coating on my steering wheel in the truck is long since worn off.

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