What's the most cost-effective way to change the cloth seats in my car?

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Car Clinic Leather seats

Q. I’d like to change the cloth seats in my 2003 VW Golf for leather, but the cheapest ones I can find cost £1,000 for a set. Any money-saving ideas?
MB, Emsworth, Hampshire

A. You’d pay about £2,000 to have leather seats in a new VW, so £1,000 for a full set does not sound a bad price. The problem is that on a car of that age it could easily be half the value of the vehicle.

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There are cheaper options. First, try a vehicle dismantler for used seats. You may still have to pay £400-£500, but that’s a big saving on what you’ve been quoted. The next option would be to search websites such as eBay, or place a “wanted” ad on a forum. There are also specialist VW magazines that carry ads for parts and accessories. You might be able to sell your cloth seats online or in a magazine, but their value is not likely to be high, even if they’re in good condition.

If swapping seats still proves too expensive, consider synthetic leather seat covers from a specialist such as autoleathers.co.uk, which charges about £180 plus £7.50 postage, depending on specification.
Sunday Times Driving Car Clinic: Dave Pollard, car accessory advice

Dave Pollard has written several Haynes manuals and has tested just about every car-related accessory – read more from Dave here.

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