When I purchased Project WorkHorse, it was not equipped with many of the niceties that come with today’s high-end trucks. There was no 12-inch screen to control the radio, navigation, and temperature. In fact, it had the small 5-inch base radio, there was no fancy chrome trim, nor did it have a leather interior. I was fine with the lack of these items because I knew that an interior upgrade was in the truck’s future.
I recently upgraded the radio to an 8.4-inch screen with the help of infotainment and now it is time to take care of the bargain-basement cloth seats with the help of Katzkin Leather. The OE Diesel Grey seats are okay if you like cloth. They looked fine, but they were nothing that caused anyone to say, “Wow, cool interior.” Bland looks aside, my main concern was durability as this is a WorkHorse, and the light-colored seats would not stand a chance. By upgrading with Katzkin I was able to choose premium leather for their upholstery that will last exponentially longer. What’s more, I could choose how I want them to look.
It’s no secret that checking the box to get a factory-installed leather interior will set you back quite a bit more than a Katzkin upgrade. Let’s face it, you can’t simply check a box for leather anymore. That box has 12 other added-cost features that have to be ordered as well. Saving a little money upfront is never a bad thing. Thanks to Katzkin, you can easily upgrade your cloth seats to leather after you purchase the truck. Or, if you already have a truck with cloth seats, here’s your chance to upgrade at an affordable price.
A Better-Than-OE Interior Upgrade
I knew this interior upgrade with Katzkin would help the truck look great for many years because I installed their products in a previous truck I owned in 2009. Those seats are still in the truck and look great. How’s that for a testament to quality? Although I chose a simple design for my new seat skins, Katzkin offers more custom options than any other manufacturer with 3,000 interiors, available in 120 colors and materials. Yep, the choices are virtually limitless.
While I will say this reupholstering of your truck seats can be done at home—I did them in my driveway—it does rate high on my “how hard is it” meter. That is why Katzkin interiors are only installed through authorized installation centers. The nationwide network of over 2,500 installation centers has been carefully selected and is staffed with professionals who are trained by Katzkin. They have the tools, equipment, and know-how to perform a true factory-fit installation, ensuring proper seat handling, including all associated electronics.
Whether you have your local Ram, Chevy, or Ford dealer handle this interior upgrade or you contact Katzkin, when the installation is completed, it will transform the look and feel of your truck’s interior. While I only replaced the seat skins in Project WorkHorse, Katzkin does offer door panels and center console coverings as well. I am told that as a rule, if it has cloth on it, Katzkin can replace it!
What Makes Katzkin A Great Upgrade
Today, Katzkin is the largest provider of aftermarket leather seat covers in the United States and uses the latest state-of-the-art CNC equipment, along with a staff of hundreds of highly skilled leather craftsmen to create a set of seat skins and have them shipped out to a qualified installer in less than 24 hours. The Katzkin catalog covers more than 2,500 models, which includes nearly every pickup and SUV built in the last decade. In case you were wondering, the typical two-row-seating truck can have its interior trimmed by Katzkin for around $2,000. If you do your research, you’ll find this is typically far less than it would have cost from the factory.
Welcome To The Hot Seat — Or Cold One
Katzkin offers OE-quality seating temperature control systems that can be incorporated into your leather interior. Heat-only systems offer high- and low-level warmth, or state-of-the-art heating and cooling systems that provide three levels of heat and three levels of air-conditioned comfort. The Degreez heating and cooling can only be installed on a Katzkin perforated leather interior.
These aftermarket heated and ventilated seat kits are installed under the upholstery of your original seats, just as they would be from the factory. Katzkin will install new switches in the right location based on the vehicle that you have; typically installed in the lower seat trim paneling or the center console for a factory-fresh appearance.
Rest assured, these heating and cooling kits are durable and fully functioning. Water-resistant, they pose no issues with damp winter clothing or accidental beverage spills. Well hidden from visibility, they won’t detract from your vehicle’s factory upholstery.
When you are ready for an interior upgrade in your truck, there are two ways you can add Katzkin leather to your rig. First is through your local Ford, Chevy, or Ram dealer. Katzkin has teamed up with many new truck dealers across the country to offer leather seat skins as a dealer-installed option for new or used vehicles. The second option is to order through the Katzkin website. To do the second option, begin by entering the year, make, and model of your vehicle on the Choose Your Design starting page. From there, choose any design from the Design Selector page and complete the simple contact form. You will be contacted by a Katzkin interior specialist to go over pricing and design details, and to schedule your appointment if you choose to proceed.
Getting It Done
As I said, I did the installation myself, but Katzkin and I both recommend you have a shop handle the installation to ensure you get a top-notch interior. Since I did the installation myself, I can safely say that the job is best left to the professionals as I spent the better part of a full day to complete the two front seats, the folding jump seat between them, and the rear seat. The only reason I attempted it was I have previous experience with a shop helping me on my last truck.
Since I mentioned the rear seat, a few of you astute Ram owners might be questioning how a Big Horn managed to get a 60/40 rear seat with the armrest. From the factory, it didn’t. My Big Horn was shipped with the one-piece fold-up rear seat. There are times when this is sufficient, but most times, when I need to fold the seat up, I still need at least some available seat area.
More Than Just Leather
Katzkin’s premium leather is available in 60 colors, designed to match original factory interior colors perfectly, across all makes and models. If you choose a two-tone option, the colors will be placed on the front driver and passenger as well as the outer seats in the rear. Note that the middle rear seat will be a single-tone color as this is typical with factory designs.
The softest and most supple leather ever oﬀered for automotive use. Katzkin oﬀers this upgrade in most popular colors.
The XT leather is twice as durable, and is also thicker than the premium leather and vinyl, XT provides extreme durability for the most extreme conditions. Water-resistant, scuff-resistant, even kid resistant, it’s our toughest ever.
Barracuda Square Perforated Duo-Tone Seat Leather
With this selection, Katzkin perforates the seat leather with square holes to reveal a contrasting underside color for a look that’s uniquely attractive and comfortable. Barracuda style leather is available in nine diﬀerent view-through colors.
Outlaw Tooled Leather Interior
The Old West comes alive as this is inspired by old-world craftsmanship. The tooled leather is available as a subtle accent in any of Katzkin’s patterns.
autoEXOTICS Everglades Leather Interior
This unique collection of synthetic materials and embossed premium leather material takes you oﬀ the road most traveled.
SUEDEZKIN Suede Leather Interior
The perfect complement to your supple leather interior, Suedezkin adds a touch of texture and deﬁning contrast. This durable synthetic suede is available in 10 accent colors.
Older Meets New
I did some research to see what is needed to get the 60/40 rear seat and my first inquiry was at the local Ram dealer. That didn’t go as I had hoped. I asked about buying a complete seat and the guy at the parts counter just gave me a confused look and laughed. When I couldn’t find a 2019 Ram at a salvage yard with the seat I wanted, I did some investigating. Even though my fifth-gen 2019 Ram 2500 has the new-style front end, I learned that it still utilizes an old-style (fourth-gen) cab.
That means that any rear seat from a 2014 to 2019 Ram crew cab would work. This even includes 1500 trucks as long as they are the “old cab.” If you are wondering what constitutes an “old cab”, that would be a truck with five-lug wheels. If it has six-lug wheels, it is a new cab. Crew cab, Quad cab, and Mega cab trucks are not interchangeable—they are different.
The main reason I wanted this interior upgrade for my seats is durability. I have nine grandkids and a dog that climbs in and out of this truck at any given time. The cloth seats never had a chance. With the Katzkin-covered seats, I know the leather can withstand wear and tear, and when it comes to keeping it clean, simple spills can be easily wiped up. If cleaning is necessary, use clear, lukewarm water and dry with a clean towel, and then air dry. Do not dry wet areas with heat dryers, hair dryers, etc. as this will damage the material.
Care And Maintenance Of Your Interior Upgrade
The materials Katzkin utilize have received a protective treatment during the manufacturing process. This will protect the surface from the soiling and staining of everyday use throughout the life of your Katzkin interior. If necessary, they recommend the following procedures for cleaning:
For Spots And Spills: Blot any excess liquid immediately with a clean absorbent cloth or sponge. If necessary, use clear, lukewarm water and dry with a clean towel, and then air dry. Do not dry wet areas with heat guns, hair dryers, etc. as this will damage the material.
For Stubborn Spots And Stains: A mild solution of Ivory bar soap (not dishwashing liquid) and clear, lukewarm water should suffice. Apply the soap to a clean, wet sponge and blot the affected area. Do not apply force or pressure, as the heat and friction of rubbing will damage the surface over time. Rinse and allow to air dry naturally.
For Disinfecting: Use only botanical-based disinfectants on vehicle seating surfaces used in accordance with the directions on the product label. Alcohol or ammonium-based disinfectants could damage your interior when used consistently over time.
Do Not Use: Saddle soaps, oils, abrasives, cleaners containing detergent (such as dishwashing liquids), solvents (mineral spirits), any products containing alcohol (hand sanitizers), household disinfecting sprays or wipes, varnish, ammonia water or any products containing bleach, as these types of cleaners will cause damage to the protective top coat of the interior and use of listed products may void your warranty.
Note Regarding Blue Dye Transfer: Some clothing items (such as darker jeans) contain dyes that may transfer to lighter color upholstery surfaces, including lighter color automotive leathers. This dye transfer occurs naturally over time and does not reflect a defect in the finish of the leather. If you are concerned about the possibility of blue dye transfer, we recommend that you consider a darker color for your leather interior.
As I previously mentioned, this was not my first experience installing Katzkin leather. However, I want to stress once more that you will be glad you set an appointment with an authorized installer to complete the installation. Better to have quality results than get halfway done and realize you should have relied on a professional. Also, This install was done on a Ram 2500, but as I stated elsewhere, Katzkin has interior pieces for nearly any vehicle made within the last decade. Finally, if you would need a warranty, Katzkin guarantees and will warrant its interiors from defects in workmanship and material, when properly cared for under normal conditions, for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Although this interior upgrade is probably not one you will be tackling in your driveway, it is an upgrade that definitely warrants you checking out to make your Workhorse look great and deliver years of comfortable service that will last for many, many years.