There are many steps to the finished product of any leather product, including those used in cars. Corrected grain leather is considered to be at the lowest end of finished leathers. It has been “corrected” through artificially, creating uniformed texture by impressing a desired texture along with aniline dyes, colour pigments, and then finished with a clear top-coat.
While the material at the heart of this “natural” product does indeed come from nature, the end result has very little left as truly natural. The colour, texture, and feel have all been altered to create a rather durable and uniformed looking material, which has now been transformed into the leather seat your butt sits against.
Full Aniline Leather gets its name from aniline dyes used to soak leather hides that permeate the leather and give it colour. These translucent dyes do not mask or completely cover the natural markings, blemishes, scars, or other inconsistencies of the leather hide. With that said, only approximately 3% of all hides are finished in this manner as only the finest, blemish free part of any hide will be finished in this manner.
Semi-Aniline Leather is still being used in some higher end cars. This leather is initially dyed using aniline dyes, but has also been coloured with opaque pigments to create uniformity of color, but has not been corrected for grain texture. Small imperfections and blemishes can still be evident if close examination is done to these types of finished leathers. Semi-aniline leathers will only be found in the highest-end of cars. These leathers have still been finished with a clear protective resin coating and therefore remain very resistant to natural wear and tear of daily use. Very few cars, even at the high-end of cars use semi-aniline leather seating material.
Car Leather Care Basics
- Mostly all of the leather used within cars is either semi-aniline or corrected grain leather
- This means that the outdated, misinformed opinions regarding car leather care that society still clings to, must be replaced with correct information
- This also specifically means that virtually every leather found within the car is going to be dyed first with aniline dyes, coated with color pigments to create a completely uniform colour and coated with a clear protective coating. Hence, cleaning and conditioning is not of the natural leather, but natural leather that has been enhanced, re-coloured, reconfigured and coated.
When it comes to car leather upholstery; whether this be the leather or the vinyl, here are some facts:
- As a rule that applies to your car’s leather upholstery: the more you pay, the more you get.
- This means that purchasing what many might consider an entry level car, means limited use of actual leather will be in place. This means the car will get more “real” leather, and less of the “fake” leather. You will also get superior leather versus inferior leather
- It is important to read not only the fine print if it ever exists, but analyze what is being said on the label or brochures.
- “Leather apportioned seating”, or “leather seating surfaces” will always mean that the actual leather areas will also include synthetic leather look-like materials. So a seat itself will be assembled using leather on the back and butt areas only, or often, with every other area of the seat being made with the synthetic look-alike stuff.
- Reduced down to its most basic understanding, because car leather has been coated with this clear protective resin coating, the reality is that you are cleaning and conditioning a form of plastic; plastic that is both flexible and clear.
- You could also make the same comparison to clear coats on your car. While the clear coat certainly consists of a different formulation than the clear coat on your car leather, it is still a form of polymer resins… most generally known as plastic in its most basic description.
- Because clear coats on car paint and clear coat on car leather is a form of “plastic” (a combination of different polymers, resins, polyesters) care for these coatings has changed the nature of the beast forever. It is just that most people remain in their ignorance.
Source: Best Auto Detailing Tips