Leather Care

An overwhelming majority of Land Rover vehicles currently on the road in the U.S. are equipped with leather seating surfaces. The high-quality leather used in your Land Rover is very resilient to wear and will last the lifetime of the vehicle if a minimum of maintenance is applied. We are certainly not professional detailers, but we do have an entire closet filled with car care products and love to test new waxes, cleaners, soaps, and conditioners. As such, we decided to put four readily available and inexpensive leather care products to the test on the black leather interior of our 2006 LR3.

Regardless of what leather care product you decided to use, always test it first in an inconspicuous location. Even highly-regarded car care products can produce unexpected results.

Fiebing’s Saddle Soap

Remember when you were a kid and somebody would say, “Don’t touch that, it’s hot!” What’s the very first thing you would do? Touch it, of course. Our experiment with saddle soap reminded us of that scenario. Despite the fact that some people swear by saddle soap, we’ve heard time and again that it should not be used on the type of leather found in modern car interiors. Ever ones to throw caution and good advice to the wind, we figured we would give it a shot and test the soap for ourselves. You can probably guess the results.

Fiebing’s most basic saddle soap product is a yellow paste that comes in a round tin. It has a mild petroleum scent and is very inexpensive, costing only about $4.00 for a 12 ounce container. However, during our test we experienced immediate and severe color lifting and some mild streaking. It also left the leather feeling tacky to the touch. After our brief experiment, we are now decidedly in the “no saddle soap” camp.

Conclusion: Severe color lifting.
Verdict: Not Recommended.

Meguiar’s Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner/Conditioner

We have had pretty good results with Meguiar’s products in the past, but not so much this time. This particular product comes out of the bottle as a thick pink paste with a soapy car wash smell. The product did not want to work into the leather easily. During application we noted some black coloring coming up on the towel as we worked the paste into seating surfaces subject to higher amounts of wear. Surfaces not subject to daily wear did not display any color issues, but we discontinued use just to be on the safe side.

Additionally, the product is not well-suited for perforated leather due to the consistency of the cream/paste. We would also not recommend a thicker paste such as this around stitching and seams. It’s too easy to get it into the perforations and seams and too difficult to get it back out. Meguiar’s Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner/Conditioner costs about $10.00 for a 14-ounce bottle.

Conclusion: Potential color issues on some surfaces (always test first). Thick consistency makes it difficult to use on perforated leather or around stitching.
Verdict: Use With Caution.

Turtle Wax ICE Total Interior Care

Turtle Wax ICE is an all-in-one product designed to be usable on plastic, vinyl, and leather surfaces. It costs about $10.00 for an 11 ounce bottle, making it the most expensive product in our test ounce-for-ounce. The product is a milky white gel with a rather strong soapy scent. The first thing you’ll notice about using the Turtle Wax ICE is that it shoots out of the bottle at a nearly uncontrollable rate, resulting in a giant glob of the stuff landing approximately where you had the bottle pointed. It takes a quantity of gel to cover an appreciable area, so a single bottle does not seem to last as long as comparable products.

The shine is very short-lived and buffs out a matte finish, but you can use Turtle Wax ICE on just about every opaque surface inside the vehicle if you don’t want to stock multiple car care products. The Turtle Wax ICE showed no color lifting, left no residue, was non-greasy, didn’t gunk up the perforations when used lightly, and as mentioned leaves a non-shiny finish. Considering that the product is designed as an all-in-one, it did a fine job on the leather and also works very much the same on vinyl surfaces.

Conclusion: Good all-round performance.
Verdict: Recommended.

Blue Magic Leather Care Gel

Out of the four products we tested, the Blue Magic Leather Care Gel provided the best mix of cost and performance when compared to the others. At $8.00 for a 23 ounce bottle, it was the least expensive out of the four. The product is a milky white liquid-gel with a pleasing soapy leather scent. It was the most “leather-like” smelling product out of the four that we tested. Importantly, it works well with perforated leather and rubs into the leather easily. After drying, the product leaves a natural satin finish and is non-greasy.

If you prefer the “wet look” or if you don’t like the smell, you probably will not like the Blue Magic Leather Care Gel. But, if you like an easy-to-use leather care product that performs well and leaves a leathery scent along with a satin finish, this gel will do the trick. The bottom photo shows the seats after the Blue Magic Leather Care Gel has been applied. Although we regularly experiment with various cleaners and conditioners, the Blue Magic gel is one we’ve gone back to repeatedly over the past couple of years.

Conclusion: A good mix of performance and price.
Verdict: Recommended.

Leather Care Products

Leather Seats After Conditioning



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September 11, 2011

RoverGuide

Articles, Buying & Ownership, Comparisons, Land Rover Models, LR3 (Discovery 3)

Aftermarket, Car Care, Leather, LR3 (Discovery 3)

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