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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have noticed a lot of threads coming up on people worried about leather wear and tear as the e46 chassis ages, and as I know a decent amount about it I thought I would consolidate my findings into one thread. If your leather is looking old, cracked, or needing replacement, do not worry. It can be made to be newer than a 2011 model car. And it isn't that big of a deal. I would like to provide my story on how I replaced mine.

First of all. there are a few ways to go about it.
You can:

1 - Leatherique/soften the leather - cheapest and pretty self explanatory- not going to go into it much as it is a pretty basic concept - $

2 - Have a shop custom reupholster - medium expensive, but results may also be medium - $$

3 - Replace the leather cover with OE bmw parts from the factory, pre sewn and pre cut ready to put on. - $$$ but by far the best obviously

So, since 1 and 2 are fairly obvious I am mainly recapping my experience here with 3.

Mine weren't bad, but i got a really bad scratch on my passenger seat from this girl on the way back from the horse show from those stupid jeans, and i had extra money and was bored so i just did it. Then after replacing the passenger I did the driver's side because I got such great results.


To start , find your oem Leather part number from realoem.com using the last 7 digits of your vin to get the accurate part. double check color.
It will be similar to this drawing and will be part number 3 or 4 here


Then go to tischer to get a real price using your part number from realoem . getbmwparts.com . this will give you a ballpark lowest price possible.

My bottom leathers were $450 each from tischer. it was a bit pricey, but the primary reason is that with the natural brown, the leather was only available with the heating grid.. for the standard colors i believe you can get the non heated for about $250. i am wired for heated seats though with OEM connectors etc so it was a plus. now, basically, anywhere you see a seam on the seat, there is a wire in the foam, and also a wire on the leather which you will reuse from your current leather (see pic) so what you are doing is taking hog rings (kind of like thick staples), and clamping the two parallel wires together by smashing the hog ring closed. (see pic) this is how the seat is pulled inward at all seams. then the outer perimeter is stretched with a sort of weather stripping built onto it. really fun job it takes about 2 hours. i really just figured it was going to be one of the first things to go in the car so i did it as preventative and mostly just out of curiousity. i am confident to say it is better than factory now because i really put some time into making it nice.

<<< not a bmw pic but similar example




Finished product:










the final comment i do have is, that if your seat is sagging and the foam is smashed down, just replace the foam as well or add extra yourself if you are feeling crafty. the foam is $96 or so if i recall correctly.
 

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Nice thread, but I think the majority of people who have leather/interior woes and are looking for solutions are those who don't want to spend $300-400.

However, I think in the future at say maybe 250K+ or so, this DIY will come into play for alot of people
 

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Thanks for this. However, I'm not seeing any leather on tischer under $450 (and that's just for the bottom part of the seat). If I'm reading this right, it's going to cost around $1000 per seat. Am I missing something?
 

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I need to replace the lower on my driver seat badly. Mine has the tan interior and the leatherette not real leather.
 

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Nice post, will definitely need to refer to this post in the future!
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thanks for this. However, I'm not seeing any leather on tischer under $450 (and that's just for the bottom part of the seat). If I'm reading this right, it's going to cost around $1000 per seat. Am I missing something?
if you were doing the entire seat yes. I guess for the black, gray, and tan interiors it probably isnt as viable but i just wanted to throw it out there for people in case anybody wanted to give it a try. in case somebody thought all hope was lost or the like. if it is just the bottom leather for 250-450 depending on vehicle trim leather/leatherette, it might appeal to somebody. i am personally too OCD to buy a used seat unless it was somehow perfect.
 

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You can actually have the seats re-upholstered for about $1500 for the 2 fronts and the rear....And it looks factory. I work at dealership and we do it to trade ins we end up keeping all the time. Doing mine this Friday!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
You can actually have the seats re-upholstered for about $1500 for the 2 fronts and the rear....And it looks factory. I work at dealership and we do it to trade ins we end up keeping all the time. Doing mine this Friday!
nice, u/l pics
 

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I'm about to do this.

I actually found someone on craigslist selling 2x 4dr seats for $300.

I'm about to skin them and use them on my 2dr.

Looks like I'll only need to make a couple of cuts to work in the lever to flip the seat forward.

The 4dr driver's seat I may just use as-is, because I hate people trying to get in behind me, anyway.
 

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I'd like new leather seats and cushions in a few years. My concern is that they may not still be available.

How long do you think BMW will be making/selling new seat covers and cushions.

Anyone have an idea?
 

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option 5- get a pair of racing seats for the front! A great write up BTW, appeciate your work. It's been a dilemma for me, bought my car in March and my seats are torn from wear and tear+ sun has made the leather all nasty and hard (that's what she said..).

Cheers,
 
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