How to use upholstery hog rings to install car seat covers

So, you bought new leather seat covers to reupholster your truck but don't know how to install them? Here is how to do it like a pro with hog rings and hog ring pliers

When you want to install new car seat covers, you should fast find out how the old ones attach to the cushions. That way, you will know the type of seat cover to buy for your car. Some of the most common attachment mechanisms are velcro and hog rings. In this article, I will show you how to install seat covers that use hog rings.

Hog rings are quite common in car upholstery. Car manufacturers use them to attach seat covers to foam cushions because they are strong and arguably more durable than velcro upholstery. If you have anything that uses velcro straps, you probably know what I mean. These things come loose easily over time and can be difficult to repair albeit easy to use.

Hog rings come in different sizes but the most common ones for car upholstery are 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch. My favorite upholstery hog rings pack is the 3/4″ Plant My Tank pack. I have put the link to it on Amazon below. The pack contains 100 pieces of 14 gauge stainless steel hog clips. They have pointed ends for easy penetration to upholstery fabric or leather and above all, they are made in the USA.

How do you attach hog rings to upholstery seat covers?

When you are upholstering your car seats, the first thing you should do is to find out if you need hog ring upholstery or otherwise. Once you have established that the seat covers of your vehicle are attached to the foam cushion by means of hog ring staples, you will need the following tools to carry on with your hog rings upholstery project.

Tools needed


Step 1: Uninstall the entire seat from the car and put it on a workbench. Use a wrench and the correct socket size to uninstall the bolts that attach the seat onto the car.

Step 2: Separate the seat back from the bottom using a wrench. Disconnect air hoses from the power lumber and all other accessories. Be sure to make note of the location of each accessory for easy reinstallation.

Step 3: Remove the old seat covers. Use the side cutter pliers to cut the old hog rings that hold the fabric onto the foam cushion. Use regular pliers to pull the ring fasteners out and be gentle so that you don’t damage the metal bars embedded into the cushion.

remove the old seat cover

Step 4: Put the new seat back and bottom upholstery. You will notice that they have strips sewn on the seam line. So, make sure the strips align with the metal bars embedded into the cushion.

Step 5: Open the hog ring pliers, place a hog ring fastener between the jaws and begin to clamp the new seat cover strips onto the foam cushion. 3/4 inch hog rings are the best for auto upholstery but you can use whatever size the car seat manufacturer recommends.

When installing the hog ring fastener, start by poking through the fabric of the seat cover strip. The strip is on the inside along the seams. Some seat covers have dedicated attachment loops. Whichever it is, place the ring fastener around it and pull the assembly over to the metal bar embedded in the cushion. Now you should have the seat cover strip and the metal bar inside the open fastener.

Lastly, squeeze the hog ring until the ends overlap. That way, you will be sure that the cover is held strongly onto the seat. The closed hog ring should form a circle or triangle and should hold the seat cover strongly onto the seat frame.

Repeat the process for all the attachment points.

Precaution: Don’t install the hog ring on the cushion alone as it will come off and damage the cushion. Instead, loop around the embedded rails. Also, do not use regular pliers to clamp the upholstery rings as the fasteners will snap out and fly onto your face.

Step 6: Reinstall the seat accessories and assemble the seat back and bottom before reinstalling them back on the car.

If you get stuck at any of the steps, don’t hesitate to get help from a professional upholsterer. But at least you have learned something new.

Well, that’s basically all you need to reupholster car seat covers in your vehicle. Note, however, that car seats vary across vehicle models. and as such, you may need additional tools and knowledge to remove the old seat covers and accessories.

Hog Ring Upholstery Video

Upholstering a car seat with hog rings

Frequently Asked Questions About Upholstery Hog Rings

Can you reuse upholstery hog rings?

Yes. If they are not rusty you can remove them carefully and reuse them. But since hog rings are cheap, it is best to install new ones.

How do you make spring-loaded hog ring pliers out of regular hog pliers?

Don’t worry if your hog ring pliers ins not spring-loaded. You can transform it with a rubber band. Just wrap a wide rubber band twice on the handles next to the pivot. This will make your regular hog ring pliers spring-loaded so that it doesn’t drop hog rings when you are not squeezing the handles.

What is the right size of upholstery hog rings?

1/2 inch or 3/4 inch are the most common sizes of hog rings for upholstering. However, the car seat manufacturer may recommend a different size.

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Julio a.k.a Pliersman is the owner and creator of the Pliersman Website. A blog that informs and educates you about different types of pliers and their uses. Julio is a handy person and has used a variety of pliers including general-purpose and specialty pliers to accomplish tasks. He holds an electrical engineering degree and has previously worked as an O&M manager for minigrids where his love story with pliers and other tools began.