My experience with a leather treatment product - Nissan Murano Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-24-2012, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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My experience with a leather treatment product

OK. I'll test the waters to see if they're safe today. (If I listen carefully, I can still hear the "Jaws" theme in the background when I open this forum.)

I thought someone here might want to know about my experience using a leather treatment product on the seats of my MO. If you don't want to know or don't care or want to argue, then please close this window right now. I'm not addressing you. Thanks.

In the past decade, I've owned or leased three BMWs. That history led me to have some experience with the product sold at those dealerships for treating leather in BMW's vehicles. I'd always found the BWM product to be effective and to have few unpleasant characteristics (in fact, I think the smell is kinda nice). Of course, the leather used in BMWs is (generally) much less "painted" than the leather in "lesser" cars. That is, there is less of a sprayed-on coating that seals/colors the skins. Therefore, a treatment product (cleaner-conditioner made from oils and distillates) can actually penetrate the outer layer and get into the skin to keep it subtle. For those who know about leather, what I'm describing is that the BMW leather is more of the "semi-aniline" variety (i.e., less treated/painted/stamped).

Of course, my experiences with a couple of "lesser" cars since I owned the BMWs (i.e., a Toyota and a Nissan) have shown me just how different the leather can be/is among brands and models. For example, no matter what I put on the Toyota leather, it would not soak into the skin. The painted coating was just too thick. Of course, the seats looked and acted much like the vinyl trim in the car, albeit being stronger/less likely to tear (parts of the vinyl did tear after 4 years). They cracked, looked really shiny, and generally were not worth the money I spent on them. On the other hand, the leather in my Altima was actually willing to accept (absorb) most of the treatment, provided I left it on long enough. Hmmm, I thought, perhaps there is a point to using a leather treatment on Nissan's leather. Sure enough, using the BMW treatment regularly has kept the seats in our '08 Altima mostly subtle and matte looking and very clean.

Enter my '12 Murano and the main point of this post. I can report that I've used the BMW treatment on my MO every month (once a month seems about right) for the past 7 months. The result? Well, I've been very impressed because the leather in the MO not only is clearly of higher quality (i.e., less "painted" and thus softer and more leather-like than vinyl-like) even than the leather in our older Altima, it also appears to benefit as much from the treatment as any BMW I've used the product on. (The MO's leather looks very much like that in the Infiniti JX I test drove last weekend.)

My "news" is that I've proven to myself (remember...I don't care to prove anything to anyone here), that using this BMW treatment regularly is keeping my MO's leather seats looking pretty much like new for the past 7 months. That is, before I put the treatment on each month, the MO's leather will have gotten to look a bit shiny, a bit dry, and the inevitable creases gained from sitting on the seat look more obvious. In short, the driver's seat trim especially is naturally aging with use, but not in a good way. (Aside: I checked my MO's Owner's Manual and read the statement that the leather needs to be cared for regularly to retain its original appearance, but oddly the manual does not specify what that treatment is). I treat all the seats in the car at the same time, in the same way. I even make sure to treat the steering wheel and the shift knob. The surface of the center console's armrest is vinyl, not leather, so I don't put the BMW treatment on it. (I use Turtle Wax's ICE Premium Interior/Leather treatment instead and I find it works really well on all vinyl and plastic parts. I love that stuff, too.)

I apply the BMW treatment thoroughly and slowly (i.e, I put on a good amount of the product on and then let it sit overnight before lightly buffing it with a dry cloth to make sure I don't get any of it on my clothes. The whole process takes about 20 minutes. The next morning, the MO's leather looks and feels much more subtle, has regained its matte finish (i.e., is not shiny anymore), and the creases seem to disappear--almost (i.e., the leather seems to "bloom" with the treatment such that creases are "filled in" a bit). I actually like the smell that the treatment gives to the interior of the car. I've even had a few coworkers comment on it (e.g., "it really smells like leather in here") when they've gone for a ride with me. All in all, I think the cost, effort, and especially the outcome are all, I feel, great. I'm a perfectionist, so "great" really means something to me.

I think this is not a bad result of a relatively inexpensive (about $20) product. One bottle has lasted me for the 7 treatments I've given my MO's seats so far. I'll be buying some more this weekend when I visit my Nissan dealer (the BMW dealer is across the street). I will also mention that keeping my leased BMW's seats treated paid off at turn-in time. The guy doing the intake asked me if I'd used anything on the seats. I explained my regimen. He said that he wished all leasees would take such good care of their cars. Of course, he then tried to sell me the leased car because I'd "obviously cared about the car, so why not own it?" My point is, because I used the treatment, the seats looked almost new even after 38K miles.

I can offer some more details, so if anyone cares to hear them, let me know. I'll be glad to offer more of my obsessive-compulsiveness if you ask. For example, I've found that the much-touted "Lexol" brand treatment is rather worthless in that it does not produce same results (at least on my BMW, Toyota, or older Nissan; I haven't put it on the MO). It even smells bad to my nose. I've tried other types of products which I'm willing to describe too, but I'm done writing this posting for now.

Peace.

2012 AWD LE Platinum, Pearl White

Factory: splash guards and floor/cargo mats
Dealer: Nissan tow hitch, wheel locks, hood protector

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Last edited by Wallybear; 08-24-2012 at 08:23 PM. Reason: Refined some details; added and cut and edited a bit.
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-24-2012, 04:20 PM
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Hi Wally! Exactly what is the treatment that you use? Is this exclusive to BMW, or is it available on-line? Up here in the NW where I live, the closest Beemer dealer is like over 100 miles away, and has a bit of arrogance. Would appreciate more info. Thanks!

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post #3 of 19 Old 08-24-2012, 05:26 PM
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Good question. I have used Lexol Leather Cleaner, Leather Treatment and Vinyl treatment for some time, but I agree that the smell is mainly attractive to those of the "horsey" set who have been around Lexol for years. My wife has a '94 BMW 325i and I wouldn't mind trying the stuff Wally describes on it.

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post #4 of 19 Old 08-24-2012, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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It's a Genuine BWM Leather Care Kit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orzel View Post
Hi Wally! Exactly what is the treatment that you use? Is this exclusive to BMW, or is it available on-line? Up here in the NW where I live, the closest Beemer dealer is like over 100 miles away, and has a bit of arrogance. Would appreciate more info. Thanks!
The product is easy to find. It's called the "Original Genuine BMW Leather Care Kit." It costs $18.95 over the counter at the BMW dealer near me. It's in a distinctive box that's silver and black. It has a bottle of the liquid, two sponges to apply it (I rinse one out carefully so I've never needed two during the lifespan of one bottle), and two paper "wiping" (drying) clothes to wipe up any "excess" (if you leave it on long enough, say overnight, all of it will be absorbed into the leather).

I just did a google search. It's available from amazon and ebay vendors and even some BMW dealers will allow ordering by mail (there aren't that many dealers, so they have to try to spread the wealth, so to speak).

Yeah, the Bimmer folks have some arrogance. But, as the folks at my local dealer know me, and hope I will be a customer again (they know I don't drive one of "theirs" anymore), they will gladly sell me anything. Money is money. A sale is a sale.

As I mentioned in the original post, I've tried other products (e.g., Lexol and Zymol and the Turtle Wax ICE brand of multipurpose stuff), but my "message" to everyone today was the nice results I've had using the BWM formulation. I've wanted to try Griots' product, but have never done so. I suppose I should. I've used some of their other stuff and it was good. The BMW liquid has petroleum distillates in it (and other oils), so it is flammable (so says the box), so I use some gloves when applying it so that my hands don't stink for a day or two (petroleum penetrates our skin, too).

BTW, I know there are folks here who will swear by other brands, and that's cool. No harm no foul. Any time a car care product is mentioned it's sort of like asking which Bourbon or Scotch a man likes best. I'm not trying to "sell" anyone on the BMW stuff; I really don't care if you like or prefer or sell or sleep with another bottle of hooch. That was not my point. I simply wanted to share my experiences about a particular product.

Thanks for your response. I hope this extra info is helpful.

Peace.

2012 AWD LE Platinum, Pearl White

Factory: splash guards and floor/cargo mats
Dealer: Nissan tow hitch, wheel locks, hood protector

WeatherTech FloorLiner front, rear, cargo

WeatherTech TechShade
VentureShield paint protection film
Cloud-Rider stainless steel grill inserts
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-24-2012, 07:00 PM
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Hey Wally! Excellent post I'll be glad to look into that for the leather. There is a BMW dealership right outside of Philly I can go to. I do my leather once a month as well (obsessive compulsive-neat freak). Like the detail in your post about what's formulated in the conditioner vs what's on the seat. Thanks for your research
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-24-2012, 09:43 PM
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I'm an Irish whiskey man myself. I think I'll order some and give it a try. Thanks!
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-25-2012, 07:36 AM
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Wally - what are your environmental factors? How long parking outside, are you in the sunbelt etc... I ask because I only condition my seats 2x a year, and they look brand new. I have 26k on my mo, but I park indoors 90% of the time. I think montly would be more than needed for conditioning ( not cleaning )

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post #8 of 19 Old 08-25-2012, 09:08 AM
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That Wally is quite the prolific writer! Like Matt, I only condition 2X per year and have new looking seats. Once per month seems a little OCD! Of course the folks selling the conditioner don't mind!

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post #9 of 19 Old 08-25-2012, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halwg View Post
That Wally is quite the prolific writer! Like Matt, I only condition 2X per year and have new looking seats. Once per month seems a little OCD! Of course the folks selling the conditioner don't mind!
The forum thread problems arise when there is a nitwit that replies to a forum post like this one .... the nitwit just doesn't realize when to keep his mouth shut / when not to post. Apparently the nitwit just likes to hear himself talk / see his forum post(s).

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post #10 of 19 Old 08-25-2012, 12:17 PM
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Well, I actually agree that once a month is a little much - but it's Wally's car and his time, and I'll bet those seats are in primo condition.

There are times when I have trouble washing the car once a month, much less conditioning the leather seats in my wife's BMW. Once a year is about as often as I get around to it. But if Wally has a superior product, once a year will hopefully do more good than if it were once a year with a lesser product.

Thanks for the product info! Our BMW dealer is about 15 miles away on an Interstate, so I'll probably mail order (not worth a 40-minute round trip to buy $20 worth of goo.) But it's well worth a try.

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post #11 of 19 Old 08-27-2012, 04:23 PM
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Thanks Wally! I've ordered some through Amazon and will try it on the Mo, as well as on our Lexus. I'm not particularly worried about the petrol distillates, as my gun cleaning gear provides me with an unending supply! And I'll take scotch please, a nice 18 yr Balvenie Port Wood Finnished would be excellent.

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post #12 of 19 Old 08-27-2012, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Answers to your questions....

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Originally Posted by mattski View Post
Wally - what are your environmental factors? How long parking outside, are you in the sunbelt etc... I ask because I only condition my seats 2x a year, and they look brand new. I have 26k on my mo, but I park indoors 90% of the time. I think montly would be more than needed for conditioning ( not cleaning )

Hey, thanks to everyone who's made helpful/on-topic posts here.

In answer to the questions posed by "mattski," I can offer these details:

1- I live in a very dry, sunny climate at a high altitude (4500ft) in a city with lots of smog located at about 48 degrees latitude. I have a second vacation home about 350 miles to the south where the temps are higher, the air even drier, and the altitude is 2000ft. I've had the MO there twice in the months I've had it, so being there has not been much of a factor.

2- The car is garaged at night, but is out in the sun during the day in my company's parking lot. I do use a TechShade (which I love) to shield the front seat. That helps a lot to shield the interior, but there are still times when the seats get "full sun" during the day. I do note that the rear tinting on the MO does help greatly with shielding the rear seats.

3- I have been using my "apply once-a-month" rule for the past 7 months for a couple of reasons. First, putting it on that often on a brand new car was a test to see if the leather actually will absorb the oil treatment when it's put on that often (it does). When I had my BMWs, I found the seats in those cars didn't seem to seem to benefit from getting rubbed down with conditioner (they "liked" a cleaner used regularly) more than 4 times a year; but the quality of that leather is clearly superior (in the sense that it is less "painted" than the MO's). Second, based on past experiences with our '08 Altima, I have found that in my climate/latitude, the Nissan leather seems to dry out faster/absorb less and so seems to benefit from more frequent applications. But, as the MO is clearly nicer leather than the Altima, perhaps using it so often isn't really necessary. I have lived in much more humid (non-desert) locations during my life for years at a time, so I know that humidity is pretty much a bigger determiner than temperature of an area's overall affect on things.

By the way, my post was not intended to imply that anyone should put the BMW treatment on their seats more/less often than desired or which looks beneficial. I think the general recommendations for the use of any leather conditioner is every 3-6 months, but as that's a general rule it doesn't account for all climates. Your remark that your twice-a-year conditioning regimen is working for you in your climate is interesting. I'd love to know more general details about where you live to compare it to mine.

I will also add that the BWM stuff is both a "cleaner" and a "conditioner." I've used some simple leather cleaning products on my cars (the MO included) between conditionings and I can say that those products are fine at removing some light discolorings and dirt as they are mostly a mild detergent in water. Just like any other "fabric," leather benefits from having surface dust, dirt, lint, and dyes (which rubs off clothes) removed. However, to be a conditioner, the product has to have some oil in it.

I hope this info is helpful.

Peace.

2012 AWD LE Platinum, Pearl White

Factory: splash guards and floor/cargo mats
Dealer: Nissan tow hitch, wheel locks, hood protector

WeatherTech FloorLiner front, rear, cargo

WeatherTech TechShade
VentureShield paint protection film
Cloud-Rider stainless steel grill inserts
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post #13 of 19 Old 09-03-2012, 01:01 AM
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I'll second the endorsement for Lexol. Used it for many years, and the horsey set has sworn by it forever. Way before all the fancy newfnagled competition was invented.
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post #14 of 19 Old 02-15-2013, 04:38 PM
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Thanks Wally. I will buy and use this product on my MO's leather.
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post #15 of 19 Old 02-17-2013, 04:27 PM
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Can you use this product on the "non-leather" surfaces of a car? I have a 2009 Murano (purchased used) with tons of leather all over the place and not sure what I should use on places like the dash etc., I've been told to stay away from some of the stuff you can buy at places like Canadian Tire/WalMart etc., like the TurtleWax, ArmorAll and tons of other stuff on the shelf. Suggestions, recommendations?

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