Sweat, stains, spills, and general funkiness...nobody wants that in their car! Thankfully the right car seat cover can protect your vehicle from all of that, and more.
While there's lots of options to choose from when looking for vehicle seat protection, you'll want to make sure you're getting a product that's right for you. We've created a buying guide for different types of car seat covers and included a checklist of things to look for before making your purchase.
The first thing you'll want to decide is whether you want custom seat covers, or universal fit.
Custom Car Seat Covers vs Universal Fit
Custom Seat Covers
Custom car seat covers are a semi-permanent way to protect vehicle seats from everyday wear and tear, and stains caused by coffee or other spills. Custom seat covers typically fit well and once they're on, they stay on, because they usually take a while to install, sometimes only after reviewing manuals or instructional videos.
Cost is another thing to consider - custom seat covers are usually more expensive than universal-fit covers. Outfitting your front or back row with custom seat covers can cost hundreds of dollars.
Custom seat covers are often made for every day use, and not to meet the specific needs of athletes.
Universal fit car seat covers come in all shapes and sizes, with an even wider variety of quality. Universal fit covers are typically easy to install and remove, and are transferrable to any of your vehicles.
Entry-level universal fit seat covers can start at a low price point - as low as $20 for one cover - but like most things in life, you get what you pay for.
Although there are lots of universal fit covers available, many are low quality. Some don't fit well, others don't look good, some aren't easy to clean, and most aren't functional for athletes.
Not sure what's right for you? Before you make a purchase, make sure you're checking off each of these boxes on this buying guide checklist.
Car Seat Cover Buying Checklist
The material used is incredibly important for any car seat cover. You'll want a product that is comfortable to the touch. Why buy something to protect your seat if you're not going to use it because it's uncomfortable to sit on?
Is the car seat cover breathable? Certain materials restrict air flow and don't allow your skin to breathe. The last thing you'll want, while sweating, is to stick to your seat cover and not allow your skin to breathe.
Does the seat cover provide coverage on most of your seat? Does it cover the headrest, or just drape over the back of the seat, exposing your headrest? Is it a glorified towel that just drapes over the entire seat, or does it have a tighter fit that allows for a sleeker look and feel? Does the cover have non-slip material and/or other ways to keep the seat in place while you're driving?
Remember, you get what you pay for. Plenty of low-end seat covers fall apart after using them for a short time. If it gets dirty, stained, or sweaty, can you clean it without destroying the material in the washing machine or by using other cleaners?
Let's face it - sweat stinks! You don't want your vehicle smelling like a locker room, and that's sure to happen if you sweat all over your new seat cover but can't clean it properly.
Make sure the product you purchase is easy to clean and fully washable so that you can get rid of any germs and bacteria before they seep into the seat itself.
What's the point of using a seat cover to protect against sweat and moisture if you're just going to sweat through the protective barrier? Don't let your hard-earned sweat seep into your car seat, because the moisture and salt content will break down the car seat material over time.
If a seat cover isn't easy to install, you're less likely to use it. If a seat cover isn't easy to remove, you're less likely to clean it properly. Make sure you're getting a product that is easy to install and remove so you'll use it often and care for it properly.
Does the look of the seat cover match your vehicle, and your lifestyle? Just because you liked playing with dolls as a kid doesn't mean that Barbie Doll themed seat cover is something you want to show off in your car.
The value of any product is determined by it's durability, cost, and how effectively it solves the problem at hand. Car seat covers can be stupid-cheap but just remember that you're aiming to protect one of your biggest investments - your vehicle - so skimping on car seat protection won't serve that purpose well.