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Model 3 seats wearing out early?

Have you experienced accelerated wear on your seats?


  • Total voters
    251

Jedi2155

Model 3 has Arrived.
Jul 6, 2018
1,685
1,441
Upland, CA
Anyone else experiencing this?

My Model 3 seats started to experience excessive wear because the belt buckle seems to get caught on the side bolsters regularly. This started to appear after about 8,000 miles, but now at 20,000 miles its super excessive.

I asked Tesla service twice to see what they're able to do about it both times responding saying its not covered. They quoted me $2100 to replace the seat, but recently they started to offer a leather only replacement for $500. There are no issues with the seats anywhere else in the car except at the location pictured.

@20,000 miles
20191016_134958.jpg


This was around 10,000 miles:
20190513_043210.jpg



This is whats kind of happening.
20191021_035452.jpg
 
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afadeev

Member
Feb 28, 2019
779
933
NYC
Anyone else experiencing this?

My Model 3 seats started to experience excessive wear because the belt buckle seems to get caught on the side bolsters regularly. This started to appear after about 8,000 miles, but now at 20,000 miles its super excessive.

I am only at 8K miles now, but my seats are black and don't show the wear as much as white ones would.
Generally, vinyl seats are not as durable as leather ones. That's why vinyl is always reserved for cheap-o cars, and entry-level trims of luxury vehicles.


Do you mind sharing your weight, as that has impact on seat wear?


I asked Tesla service twice to see what they're able to do about it both times responding saying its not covered. They quoted me $2100 to replace the seat, but recently they started to offer a leather only replacement for $500. There are no issues with the seats anywhere else in the car except at the location pictured.

Driver's seat usually gets most of the wear, especially the outboard bolsters.
If you can get Tesla to provide you with a proper leather seat - go for it, though do 3x check that that's what they are really offering to you (Tesla doesn't sell leather Model 3 seats).

If the replacement offered is another vinyl covering, then I would skip, and shop for seat covers instead.

Good luck
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,418
14,432
West Vancouver, British Columbia
I have white seats and 14K miles on my 3. I do not see any wear marks, anywhere. I recently did a 2,000 mile trip (SF to Vancouver, Canada) and on returning home thoroughly cleaned the car, including the seats which had a few small dark marks on them. The marks came right off with a bit of mild soap and water. Very happy with the seats, including how comfortable they are on a long trip.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,418
14,432
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Based on your photos, I don’t see how the seat belt could create that wear pattern. Note how your first photo shows abrasion down low on the inside edge of the side bolster. The seat belt does not contact that area.

It seems likely that something you wear regularly is physically abrading the seat material. The worn areas appear to be places your clothing would contact as you entered/exited the car. And it’s not your legs, it’s something on your torso.
Anyone else experiencing this?

My Model 3 seats started to experience excessive wear because the belt buckle seems to get caught on the side bolsters regularly. This started to appear after about 8,000 miles, but now at 20,000 miles its super excessive.

I asked Tesla service twice to see what they're able to do about it both times responding saying its not covered. They quoted me $2100 to replace the seat, but recently they started to offer a leather only replacement for $500. There are no issues with the seats anywhere else in the car except at the location pictured
 
Last edited:

Jedi2155

Model 3 has Arrived.
Jul 6, 2018
1,685
1,441
Upland, CA
I am only at 8K miles now, but my seats are black and don't show the wear as much as white ones would.
Generally, vinyl seats are not as durable as leather ones. That's why vinyl is always reserved for cheap-o cars, and entry-level trims of luxury vehicles.

Do you mind sharing your weight, as that has impact on seat wear?

Good luck

I'm 5'8" ~160 lbs for reference.

Based on the responses it is likely my own behavior, and I will suck it up for the repair and change some habits.
Thanks for the help everyone, to confirm the issue is between the seat and the steering wheel.

With the latest responses (on FB as well) it sounds this is what is likely happening:
  • My normal seating position is upright and fairly close to the front steering wheel.
  • This leaves a relatively small gap for me enter the seat
  • This results in my butt literally scraping the bolster (I never really paid attention until literally last night). Literally BUTT WEAR lol...
  • I believe it is likely my rear pockets being abrasive against the bolster since I usually wear cargo type pants + shorts the flaps covering the rear pockets act as a source of abrasion.
Solution is simple from Tesla (a SW fix) and Customer Education Fix.
  • Easy Entry
  • Sit directly onto the bolster, and not slide into it from the side.
Contributing factors are:
  • Polyurethane is not as strong as leather for abrasion (this makes me concerned about the Vegan Steering Wheels). I'd much rather prefer a leather option. 3rd Party is always an option.
  • Larger bolsters (I like them so I don't suggest changing this)
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,299
7,598
Canyon Lake,CA
Tesla, like many others, has succumed to the pressure of the vegan community to delete the traditionally prestigeous leather interiors on higher quality vehicles. Now even the steering wheel has changed from premium leather to common plastic.

Hard to blame them. Activists were relentless, at shareholder meetings, shaming Elon into eliminating any natural products. Even down to the glue used to hold the seats together.

Hope everybody enjoys their plastic seats...
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,924
13,719
San Diego
I believe it is likely my rear pockets being abrasive against the bolster since I usually wear cargo type pants + shorts the flaps covering the rear pockets act as a source of abrasion.

While clearly the results of the poll indicate it is mostly likely to be something you're doing, unless your rear pants pockets are super abrasive or have metal on them, I still find it pretty difficult to understand how so much wear happened so fast.

I have no issues at all with my seats, but I kind of wonder if there is something about a cleaning product that was used at some point, or whether there was an underlying issue of some sort, which weakened the surface of your seat.

See that post around here with the bubbled headrest (I can't find it right now but it looked really bad). Clearly sometimes "something" can lead to bad things happening to the surface.

On recommendation of various people here, after using a very gentle interior cleaner a couple times, I've gone to just straight baby wipes for cleaning off any transfer issues (which seems to work).
 
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Jedi2155

Model 3 has Arrived.
Jul 6, 2018
1,685
1,441
Upland, CA
While clearly the results of the poll indicate it is mostly likely to be something you're doing, unless your rear pants pockets are super abrasive or have metal on them, I still find it pretty difficult to understand how so much wear happened so fast.

I have no issues at all with my seats, but I kind of wonder if there is something about a cleaning product that was used at some point, or whether there was an underlying issue of some sort, which weakened the surface of your seat.

See that post around here with the bubbled headrest (I can't find it right now but it looked really bad). Clearly sometimes "something" can lead to bad things happening to the surface.

On recommendation of various people here, after using a very gentle interior cleaner a couple times, I've gone to just straight baby wipes for cleaning off any transfer issues (which seems to work).

I've only cleaned the surface of my seats 3-4 times in my 20k+ miles and mostly with just water + cloth and these wipes (rarely 1-2 times). I've looked into chemical aspects and I believe I've mostly avoided the chemicals known to damage polyurethane.

The back pocket of some of my pants are velcro lace so its the likely cause still now that I think of it. Its clearly it.

The first abrasions didn't appear until about 9-11k miles though (~7 months).
 
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tvad

Member
Jun 30, 2019
979
1,053
California
Well, obviously you need some vegan leather treatment followed by ceramic coating. Then, put on some vegan sheep skin covers.

Seriously though...that wear at 10,000 miles is disgraceful.
 
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TMThree

Active Member
Mar 28, 2019
1,118
1,776
USA
Generally, vinyl seats are not as durable as leather ones. That's why vinyl is always reserved for cheap-o cars, and entry-level trims of luxury vehicles.

Wrong.

The Tesla seat material comes from ultrafabricsinc.com. It's polyurethane, not vinyl.

They have much higher wear resistance than leather.

Performance Abrasion: ASTM D4157 / 400,000 Double Rubs (Wyzenbeek)*

BS 2543 / 180,000 Rubs (Martindale)*

*meets or exceeds


They are also not cheap. It isn't a cost savings measure for Tesla.

For reference, a Martindale score of 40,000 is a good benchmark for public transit upholstery, and a score of 200,000-500,000 is specified for police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, etc (severe use in very abrasive environments).
 
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Atari2600

Active Member
Oct 4, 2017
1,055
966
Cincinnati
Here is my seat after 21,626 miles. I have some dirt on it but it has held up well.

FYI, I configured easy entry before I drove the car for the first time. I have easy entry configured to move the seat all the way back - to hell with the people who sit behind me and take their time getting out of my car!

When I had my last car I used to carry a multitool on my belt and that did scrape up the seat some. Stopped wearing that after I picked up the Tesla.

IMG_4509.JPG
 

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