Katzkin Leather Seat Install
Leather Seats, Minus The Extra Fluff
In the days of old, leather-clad seats were the telltale sign that a vehicle was marketed as luxury. The suppler the seating was, the higher-end the vehicle was thought to be. Fast-forward a few decades and now leather is an available option on almost all trucks and SUVs, albeit near the upper echelon of trim levels. So what is a person to do if they want leather seats but are priced out of them due to all of the additional features added on the high-end trims? How about the person in the market for a used truck? Or even those that intend to keep their truck a few more years before upgrading but don't want to be left out of having a nice leather interior? Fortunately there's a company that has stepped up and answered that call, and it goes by the name Katzkin.
The company was founded in 1983 by the brother and sister pair of Mitch and Leslie Katz. They combined their last name with the fact that they were kin to each other in order to create the name that we know today. Sorry, no cats were ever skinned (that we know of). Today, Katzkin is the largest provider of aftermarket leather seat covers in the United States. Using the latest state-of-the-art CNC equipment, along with a staff of hundreds of highly skilled leather craftsmen, they can assemble a set of seat skins and have them shipped out to a qualified restyler for installation in less than 24 hours. Their catalog covers over 2,500 models, which includes nearly every pickup and SUV built in the last decade, and the typical two-row truck or SUV can have its interior trimmed by Katzkin for around $2,000, which is typically far less than it would have cost from the factory.
There are two ways to add a Katzkin leather interior to your current or future truck. First, the company has teamed up with many new truck and SUV dealers across the country to offer leather as a dealer-installed option for new or used vehicles. The second option is to contact a qualified local restyler. Sorry, the company doesn't offer its product as a do-it-yourself kit for quality control reasons.
We recently headed over to the Katzkin world headquarters in Southern California to watch as their expert installers transformed the tired interior of a two-generation-old Ford F-150 into something a bit more modern and stylish. The entire process took half a day and the end result had a far more custom look than anything offered by the factory, and at a price that's relatively palatable.
(before) The pickup that served as our test subject came from the factory in FX4 trim without the Luxury Package, which meant that cloth seats were standard. Overall, the cloth had held up well, but stepping into leather from the factory meant adding things like power adjustable pedals, 20-inch chrome wheels, and a premium sound system, none of which the owner wanted.
Installation begins, simply enough, with the removal of the seats. Four Torx-head bolts hold in each front seat, and six bolts secure the rear.
With the seats out of the truck and securely on the workbench, the first step is to remove any sensors and switches, then the seat base from the frame. This allows access to both cushions.
The factory cloth seat covers are attached to the foam and frame with various fasteners, which include hog rings, hook and loop tape, and plastic clips. Removing these delicately is crucial to ensuring an easy installation of the leather.
With the factory cloth removed, the leather is installed in exactly the reverse order. Katzkin uses the same fasteners as the factory seats in order to provide a nice tight fit and great look along with making the install easier on those performing it.
The leather being installed on these Ford F-150 seats featured red stitching and Katzkin's Barracuda perforated two-tone leather inserts. Customers can opt for a factory match, Katzkin design, or choose their own color and patterns for a personalized touch.
Katzkin leather comes with the same amount of foam backing as the factory cloth covers. If you want a bit more cushion or if your seat foam has broken down from years of abuse the restyler doing the installation can always increase the padding.
While the installation process doesn't appear difficult on the surface, it takes years of practice to be able to install leather in a way that Katzkin deems acceptable. If mistakes are made at any point the leather can become wrinkled, or worse, detach from the seat altogether.
Professional installers have many tricks at there disposal for ensuring a perfect fit every time. The use of a steam wand can help heat and loosen the leather, making it more pliable for getting around hard corners.
Another trick of the trade is using vacuum to shrink the headrest foam, making the leather a simple slip-on fit. Kits can also be ordered to accommodate headrests with rear seat monitors.
(after) Clean and classy are the best words to describe the new leather interior installed in this old pickup, which will help bring it into the current century and extend its useful life by many years while also increasing its value.
KatzkinMontebello, CA 90540