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Leather seat cracking on 2014 RX 350

 
Old 08-07-16, 12:41 PM
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Default Leather seat cracking on 2014 RX 350

My 2014 RX 350 has several cracks on the passenger side seat cushion. This is my 3rd Lexus I have owned and never had this issue. I just turned over 14,000 miles. It is garaged most of the time, no dogs allowed, and my husband is the only one that will sit in the passenger seat. I treat the leather with conditioner sold at my Lexus dealer every other month since I live in the Denver area. When I do park it, I put a towel down on whichever side the sun might be coming through the window. I use a sunshade on the dash and keep the sunroof closed unless it is nighttime. I have read other forums regarding the same issue on other model Lexus. I need some direction as to getting this recognized by Lexus as a warranty issue. I am prepared to leave Lexus after almost 20 years.

Any input is welcome.
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Old 08-07-16, 06:29 PM
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Do you have any pictures?
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Old 08-08-16, 06:08 AM
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Look in the detailing forum on CL for more information on this common problem. Most of the time if you clean the seats that will remove the dirt in the cracks making them less visible. All of these seats are polyurethane coated leather and the polyurethane coating is what has cracked. Then dirt gets in and makes them more visible.
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Old 08-08-16, 08:58 AM
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Default attached pictures of cracking

Attached Thumbnails Leather seat cracking on 2014 RX 350-img_2163.jpg   Leather seat cracking on 2014 RX 350-img_2162.jpg  
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Old 08-08-16, 10:29 AM
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wow...after you took so much care, it still cracked in less than 3 years. Imagine how it will be in few more years. My 18 yr old lexus es300 (In TX) has cracks now and that is with no maintenance.
Clearly Lexus is cutting costs on their leather. Take it to the dealer and talk to them and also contact Lexus corporate.
Is this the regular leather on Premium package or upgraded semi-aniline that comes with Luxury package?
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Old 08-08-16, 01:19 PM
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This is the upgraded Luxury Package. I have an appointment with the Service Manager here at Kuni Lexus next Monday. In speaking with him on the phone I mentioned that I feel strongly that this needs to recognized as a Warranty issue. I am searching for the name and contact email at Corporate.
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Old 08-08-16, 03:54 PM
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I have a 2013 RX with the heated/ventilated perforated seats. I have noticed that my seats look exactly the same as yours. I thought it was normal so I've never brought it to the attention of my dealership. I will next time though! This happened within the 1st year of owning the car.
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Old 08-09-16, 06:18 AM
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This does not appear to be cracking, just creases in the leather. This is normal wear on leather.

You should not be concerned unless you start to see visible cracks in which the material is actually breaking apart, not just showing wear lines like yours are.

Be sure to keep the seats clean, and you should not have to deal with actual cracking.

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Old 08-09-16, 09:09 AM
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Default Leather cracking vs creasing

The leather is cleaned and conditioned every other month with Lexol. I have creasing on other seats, this however is clearly cracking. It is very noticeable when it is time to condition it. It started to degrade around 7000 miles. Since owning 3 Lexus cars in 12 years, this should not be occurring in a car of this category. With no children or dogs ever in this car, this should not be degrading. I have opened a case with corporate Lexus as well as securing an appointment with the Service Manager at my dealership.
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Old 08-09-16, 09:39 AM
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Default 2014 RX leather cracking too

Leather seat cracking on 2014 RX 350-img_2162.jpgLeather seat cracking on 2014 RX 350-img_2163.jpg

I started noticing this around 7500 miles. I have 14,000 now. No Children or dogs are ever in this car. My husband occasionally rides in this. Because I live in Denver (dry climate) I clean and condition the seats every other month with Lexol which my Lexus dealer promotes. When I drive and park I have a towel to put on which ever seat is in the sun. I don't drive with the sun roof open and is always parked with a sunshade. This is my 3rd Lexus I have owned and never had this problem with the leather seats. From what I have uncovered in lengthy searching, this is a growing issue with Lexus. It took a long time for them to rectify the cracking dash issue. It may be the same thing with their inferior leather. Its too bad considering the caliber and reputation that Lexus "had". Yesterday I opened a case with Lexus Corporate, and have an appointment with the Service Manager of my Lexus dealer on Monday. More people need to start being vocal on this with Lexus. I want them to recognize this is a warranty issue and replace the effected seats. I am also bothered that when I go to trade in this RX I will lose trade in dollars due to this cracking.
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Old 08-10-16, 08:11 AM
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The seats pictured do not appear to be cracking. I see creases, not cracks. You can sometimes reduce the creasing by rehydrating the leather. This can be accomplished by daily wipe-downs with a wrung out towel for a week or two and also by tossing a wrung-out (damp) towel under the seat for a few hours every couple days. This rehydration will plump up the leather fibers and should improve the appearance. Creasing is normal for most leather. Keep in mind that real leather comes from different parts of the animal and some pieces are more prone to creasing than others. This is the nature of real leather. Creasing is normal.

Also keep in mind that conditioners applied to the surface of coated leather will not penetrate the urethane coating. To rehydrate the leather fibers requires raising the humidity levels around the leather. Leather more readily absorbs this through the back (uncoated) side of the leather which is why the damp towel under the seat approach works so well.

Creases more readily form when leather goes through cycles of drying and rehydrating. Leather fibers shrink and harden when they dry and swell when they rehydrate. Do what you can to minimize these cycles and it will reduce the propensity of leather to crease. If leather is left to dry out and harden, those creases will likely turn into cracks over time.

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Old 08-10-16, 08:20 AM
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Great information and response... was hoping you would chime in as the resident Lexus Leather expert here on the forum
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Old 08-10-16, 08:40 AM
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Thanks Jim, that is indeed good information. So how long to I keep a damp towel under the seat? And how often? It seems like a lot to do when I have never had to do this with my 2 other Lexus's.
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Old 08-10-16, 10:59 AM
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I'd suggest starting by wetting a couple cotton hand towels, wringing out as much water as you can, and wiping down the leather. When finished, put a piece of plastic wrap or a larger baggie under the seats and place the towels on the plastic under both front seats. Close up the car and leave the towels there for 2-3 hours. I'd wipe down the leather with these dampened towels every day for a week and place the towels under the seats a couple times during the week.

I like to use a chamois as an example of how leather acts. If you've ever used a chamois you know that they dry out and harden and after rehydrating them they get soft and pliable. While you don't want to saturate the leather in your car, I believe you can see how proper hydration will plump up the leather fibers and soften them. Leather is a very fibrous material and absorbs moisture easily, until it is painted with a urethane coating. The leather in your car absorbs moisture through a process similar to transpiration. You need to raise the humidity in the vicinity of the leather for it to take up moisture.

Try these suggestions and post back your results.

One factor making leather more difficult these days is the thinness of the newer leather. I've found newer vehicles have much thinner leather than those of the past. My 04 RX leather feels 2-3 times thicker than my 2014 RX. IMO, this has created a less durable and desirable product. The auto industry is cutting costs everywhere they can, not only by making the leather thinner but also by using engineered (faux) leather in much, and in some vehicles all, of a vehicle. This faux leather should technically not show as much in the way of wrinkles as it does not gain or shed moisture and unlike leather is more uniform, piece to piece, but it feels even thinner than the leather. How these products like Nuluxe, MBTex, etc. will wear and hold up over time is yet to be determined.
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Old 08-10-16, 04:22 PM
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That is great information. I agree with you in that the thinness of the leather is what we are dealing with. My 07 RX was much thicker. I have to say that my disappointment in Lexus is still festering that they went that route to "cheap out" the leather on a $50K SUV. This can only drive away their loyal customers. Thanks for your input.
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