Introduction: Car Interior + Sugru = Awesome?

Picture of Car Interior + Sugru = Awesome?

One minor issues with the interior of my 2001 Chrysler van is a crack in the leather (vinyl?) armrest on the front passenger seat.  It is irritating, and it keeps getting bigger every time I look at it.  My brother has offered several times to get out the duct tape and "git-'er-done", but I am it he mood for something a little less "klassy".

This is my first venture with Sugru, so this may go well or not, but with a spirit of adventure and a camera in hand, I cautiously venture forth.

Step 1: Vinyl Armrest Repair

Picture of Vinyl Armrest Repair

To start with, as the crack is expanding up the armrest, the vinyl seems to be spreading out a little bit and not laying as flat as I would like, it looks like there is pressure from the foam underneath holding it apart.  I took a needle and thread and made a few small stitches to hold things together a little better.

The interior of my van is gray, so I grabbed one packet of black and one of white.  I started with the small lump of the white, thinking it would be easier to add bits of black until it was dark enough, rather than the other way around.

Step 2:

Picture of

After I got a color I was happy with, I just formed it around the crack and pressed the Sugru in place.  I was a little unhappy with the texture, so I smoothed it out a little with my fingers.

Lastly, I used a small pair of pliers to put a small detail line in the Sugru to match the existing form.  There is texture on the arm that was not confident I could reproduce, so I stuck with just smoothing it out.  I'm not perfectly happy with the color or texture, but certainly this repair is an overall improvement.


_Amelia_ (author)2013-12-10

Do you think that this would also work on a steering wheel? My husband has over-gripped and twisted apart the steering wheel in his truck and I'd like to try this, too.

Sergeant Sarcasm (author)2013-06-04

Chrysler/Mercedes (i identify this model made Mercedes) used vinyl coated foam. The seats were also cheap vinyl that you may find in a 1986 dodge Ram commercial model. I think you should get rid of this van and buy one made by Chrysler (1983-1997) or Fiat (2010-)

bobzjr (author)2013-04-12

Thanks for posting this instructable. I have the same issue in our 03 Town and Country. I may try this one myself. It looks like your color is same as ours. I'm thinking adding something (another sugru color) to the Sugru mix to warm the color a bit. Shooting for a "warm" gray. Also I'm thinking of using a an orange peel to replicate the texture. Amazingly, I have not yet tried Sugru - so I'm unfamiliar with the cured result. Does it feel akwardly harder at the repair part vs the regular padded arm area? It looks like the sugru maintains a good hold - I would have worried that it would break off quickly.

timm.tanner (author)bobzjr2013-04-14

I'm surprised how well it's held up. I have had a few small pieces that have come up or been picked off, but only around the edges where it was spread really thin to make a smooth transition.

The orange peel sounds like a perfect idea for the texture. After the fact, I thought of using one of the headrests to make the texture - even though it would actually be a reverse of the existing texture.

Good luck, let me know how it turns out!

Magee324 (author)2012-10-11

That's pretty cool 1+

wilgubeast (author)2011-12-07

Nice work. Please drop a note in the intro in like six months telling us how it held up. I, for one, would be interested to see Sugru's in-car longevity. Are you someplace warm? Cold?

I ask because I am considering Sugru for a plastic dash fix. It's in a spot that gets less use than an armrest, so I imagine that your Chrysler will make an excellent guinea pig. :-D

timm.tanner (author)wilgubeast2012-08-03

6 months or so in and the repair is holding up well. No cracks or splits, and it isn't peeling away. I'm very happy with it.

projectsugru (author)2011-11-21

fantastic, love this repair and a great first hack :)

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