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2011 OB 2.5 Limited
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just noticed that the Warm Ivory dye on the driver's lower seat back of our 2011 OB Limited (2 years old this month, 21K miles) is wearing off, exposing the natural color beneath. Has anyone else experienced this problem?

I plan to make a warranty claim, just curious as to how wide-spread this problem is (if at all) and how any problems have been resolved.
 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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2,348 Posts
Do you have a picture?

There have been some people that have been very unhappy with the Ivory interior. Personally I think Subaru made a terrible choice making it an option as white never does well in cars.

So the leather is getting "worn through?" It sounds like a cleaning issue to me (cleaning leather is something I do for a living). For the record you should always wipe down you seats with a damp cloth frequently. I know nothing about you or your situation, but it's worth mentioning.
 

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2016 Tungsten Outback 3.6R w/Eyesight. My 6th Subaru.
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332 Posts
Dave,

If leather is properly dyed, doesn't the color go all the way through or is it just on the surface? Do some colors just work better than others?

The owner's manual says "bald patches can be treated with a commercial leather spray laquer."

~Harvey
 

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2011 OB 2.5 Limited
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Do you have a picture?

There have been some people that have been very unhappy with the Ivory interior. Personally I think Subaru made a terrible choice making it an option as white never does well in cars.

So the leather is getting "worn through?" It sounds like a cleaning issue to me (cleaning leather is something I do for a living). For the record you should always wipe down you seats with a damp cloth frequently. I know nothing about you or your situation, but it's worth mentioning.
Pictures probably wouldn't show anything at this point, because the dye is not completely worn off in that area and it's on the lower seat back (driver's). But's it's headed that way.

I recognize it as worn leather dye since a few months ago my wife got a bit over-enthusiastic in trying to remove some stain from the PASSENGER seat back, and took it down to it's natural state, gray. Don't use Magic Eraser on dyed leather, BTW.

I called my dealer and they hooked me up with the guy that does their interior work and he did a FANTASTIC job restoring that seat back panel. He sprayed the whole thing, perfect color match, only $50.

I'm expecting that I will be getting him to do the same thing with the driver's seat, but this time on SOA's $50.

The main reason I started this thread was to get opinions as to whether this would be a valid warranty claim.
 

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When my ivory seats get dirty or pick up dye from clothing it can give you that impression. A good cleaning with a decent leather cleaner seems to fix it. 37,000 miles on ours and we are not exactly kind to the seats. So far they have been fine
 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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Dave,

If leather is properly dyed, doesn't the color go all the way through or is it just on the surface? Do some colors just work better than others?

The owner's manual says "bald patches can be treated with a commercial leather spray laquer."

~Harvey
I wish I could give you a straight answer but the truth is that not all leather is made the same (the simple explanation). Infact depending on the tanning process all leather starts out white. I suspect in this case it has more to do with over cleaning or abrasion. It sounds like this might be a "painted leather" that is white on top and gray underneath. The OP also said "lower seat back" which should be vinyl and not leather, unless I understand incorrectly (I'm imagining the back of the seat, not the back rest or lumbar area). I can not tell how many times I've gone to a job were the client has insisted they have Leather and it was actually vinyl. "The dye wearing off" is an odd expression in this case. Usually when some one complains about that it is because the dye transferred to something else (like black leather dye leaching into a white shirt).

In general cleaning your seats with plain old water (damp cloth) is all you need to do. Anything more could damage it. Like Subie said sometimes it will look bad because it is dirty.

Whether or not the warranty will cover it will depend on if it is a "defect" and this sounds more like "general wear and tear." It's always worth pursuing if you can get it fixed for free in any event.
 

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2011 OB 2.5 Limited
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I wish I could give you a straight answer but the truth is that not all leather is made the same (the simple explanation). Infact depending on the tanning process all leather starts out white. I suspect in this case it has more to do with over cleaning or abrasion. It sounds like this might be a "painted leather" that is white on top and gray underneath. The OP also said "lower seat back" which should be vinyl and not leather, unless I understand incorrectly (I'm imagining the back of the seat, not the back rest or lumbar area). I can not tell how many times I've gone to a job were the client has insisted they have Leather and it was actually vinyl. "The dye wearing off" is an odd expression in this case. Usually when some one complains about that it is because the dye transferred to something else (like black leather dye leaching into a white shirt).

In general cleaning your seats with plain old water (damp cloth) is all you need to do. Anything more could damage it. Like Subie said sometimes it will look bad because it is dirty.

Whether or not the warranty will cover it will depend on if it is a "defect" and this sounds more like "general wear and tear." It's always worth pursuing if you can get it fixed for free in any event.
To clarify, the seat portion that is experiencing the problem is the lower lumbar area, a perforated seating surface, one of the few leather panels on these seats. Not the back of the seat, sorry for the confusion.

I just tried cleaning the area with Lexol PH cleaner and it made no difference. The area also feels different from the rest of the surface, coarser, not as smooth. It feels the same as the other seat's back felt after my wife's attempt to clean it with Magic Eraser rubbed off the dye (see my earlier response in this thread). This will definitely need to be restored, I just hope Subaru will pay for it, and that my restoration guy's dye hold up better than the OE (which I suspect it will).

Subaru replaces other "wear" items under warranty (wiper blades, brakes pads, clutch linings), so I'm hopeful.
 
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