Seat Covers Guide – Deciding Between Universal Fit and Custom Made Seat Covers

Choosing the right seat covers can be a difficult process. There are many things one has to take into account, specifically the style and functions that you want your covers to have. This article will focus specifically on the style and aesthetic aspect of choosing the right covers for your seats. When style is concerned, the first and most important choice is whether to purchase custom fit or universal covers. Choosing incorrectly can result in poorly fit covers that sag, wrinkle and rip resulting in an interior that looks cheap and feels uncomfortable.

Universal/Generic Seat Covers

There are two main styles of seat covers available on the market today: universal/generic fit and custom fit. Universal seat covers have the advantage of being cheap to purchase, and can be found in a variety of department stores throughout the US. However, as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Universal covers are generic and mass produced for quantity rather than quality, meaning that they are constructed with very cheap fabrics, imprecise designs and poor assembly. By definition, universal covers are created to accommodate a large variety of seat sizes which means that more often than not, they are manufactured a few sizes too large or too small to properly fit your seats. This sizing discrepancy causes all sorts of problems for the driver. In cases where the covers are too large, the extra fabric shifts, folds and wrinkles easily, creating a very uncomfortable sitting experience and a very shoddy looking interior. If the covers are too small it will result in very tight fit that tears easily and wears very quickly as well. Your choices in fabrics are also severely limited with universal covers. Most offshore manufacturers use cheap and low grade materials that are unable to withstand everyday wear, not to mention that they are entirely unsuitable for pets or heavy duty applications such as construction or hunting. Lastly and most importantly, universal covers are not designed to accommodate vehicles with side impact airbags. This can result in obstructed airbag deployment that can seriously risk the safety of you and your passengers.

Custom Made Seat Covers

Custom fit seat covers are created specifically for the make, model and year of your vehicle. Making a custom seat cover is a multi-step process that results in an exceptionally well fitting product. First, the seat cover material is machine cut from a precise computer aided pattern that corresponds to the exact dimensions and design of your vehicle’s seating application – this includes taking every detail, from the placement of airbags and control switches to the position of arm rests, into account. The pattern is then hand assembled ensuring clean and consistent stitching. After the custom seat covers are assembled, they are passed through a quality control inspection to guarantee against any defects. Unlike generic covers, custom made seat covers allow you to select the fabric and design that best suits your needs. This allows for a combination of both style and function, so that you can not only choose a cool fabric design, but the fabric that it is printed on as well. There are a wide range of fabrics to choose from ranging from the very durable and water proof (DuraTough/Cordura), to the soft and stylish (Velour). Each custom fit seat cover is also manufactured to comply with the factory installed safety options of your seats. Side impact airbags are provided with an easy means of deployment via a hidden velcro slit or a cut out on the side(s) of each seat so that you and your passengers remain safe.

Though the generic or universal style covers will be cheaper, their shortcomings include their fit, quality, craftsmanship, and most importantly, safety. On the other hand, custom made seat covers provide quite a few more options in terms of design and function, with a generally higher quality manufacturing process which takes into account the numerous details of your car seats. Custom covers are also much safer as they are manufactured to allow for the easy deployment of side impact airbags.