We spend a lot of time sitting in our 4WD's. Whether you are bouncing along a corrugated track in the middle of the desert, or just heading down to the local beach, wear and tear from the daily use is a natural part of owning a 4WD. One of the most overlooked part of wear and tear on your 4WD is the interior, and specifically, the seats!
You get in and out of them several times a day, and if you are like me, you aren't always clean when you get back in! Sand, mud, dust, grime and even water are a common part of any 4WD'ers life, and despite doing what you can to clean yourself off, sometimes its just not possible, or practical.
So, what if you didn't have to worry so much about it? If you've got a quality set of seat covers, you protect your seats from the abuse they so often receive.
When Allied Seating Group approached me and offered to send two samples across for testing, I grabbed the opportunity with high expectations. Our 80 series has never had seat covers, and the seats are looking pretty shabby.
What's the point of seat covers?
- Elimination of wear and tear to your 4WD's seats
- Improved comfort via additional support
- Elimination of seat fade from the sun
- Waterproofing your seats reducing the chances of staining
- Cleaner looking vehicle interior
Ultimately you end up with a more comfortable seat that is protected from the constant battering it gets inside a 4WD.
About Allied Seating Group
Allied Seating opened its doors in 1998 as Ruffnuts seat covers, manufacturing high quality seat covers in Australia for virtually anything that moves. They've achieved the Australian Quality control standard of ISO 9001, and are 100% Australian made.
Allied Seating are located in Dubbo NSW, and ship their products world wide, to the mining, transport, agricultural and recreational sectors. Just a few of Allied Seating's happy customers include Chrysler, Mercedes, John Deere, CJD and Volvo, along with several government departments.
Ruffnuts vs Tuffnuts seat covers
Don't laugh. Funny names, but fantastic products. Allied Seating sell two ranges of seat covers; the Ruffnuts and Tuffnuts.
Ruffnuts seat covers
Traditionally, heavy duty seat covers have all been made from Canvas. The quality of canvas varies greatly depending on where you get it from, but there's a few short falls of it in general, which was where the Ruffnuts range came in, utilising a special product known as Folmatex.
If you've ever sat in a seat with a canvas seat cover, you'd have noticed a few things. Whilst it is seriously tough, its also noisy (scratchy noise as you move) and not as comfortable. They tend to be hotter and as they are completely waterproof and as a result they don't breathe well, which means you sweat more too.
The Ruffnuts range was designed to make a product that was just as durable, but more comfortable and that breathed properly. It's really quite hard to describe the feel of the material; its soft and breathable, but at the same time tough and comfortable.
You can get the Ruffnuts range in Black or Red, with more colours hopefully coming out in the future. They also have the option of a durapatch, which is a small section of the seat cover that is double layer (top layer is canvas). This is on the corner of the seat, where you slide over every time you get in and out of the 4WD. This is the most worn part of your seat, and its there to provide a product that lasts for a long time.
These seat covers be removed and machine washed, making it even easier to keep your vehicle clean and tidy.
Tuffnuts seat covers
The Tuffnuts seat covers are made from heavy duty 12 oz canvas. These were designed to be comfortable to sit in, and to last for years. They are foam backed, which gives you more support and stops the canvas damaging your seats (that's how tough it is!). They are fully waterproof, tear resistant and come in black or grey.
Allied Seating created the Tuffnuts range to meet the requirements of seriously tough environments. Customers were complaining that the foreign imports being sold on the market by other companies were simply not up to the job. Along came the Australian made canvas, which is seriously tough!
This was released after the Ruffnuts range, which just proves for the really harsh environments, some customers prefer the canvas!
Which one is better?
In my mind, the Ruffnuts range is miles ahead. The seat cover is significantly more comfortable, quieter and softer. They seem to mould better to the seat, and according to the Australian standard rub tests they are just as durable as the canvas.
I mentioned that we got one of each seat cover for our 80 Series, and my wife agree's that the canvas ones are just not as nice to sit in.
What can they make seat covers for?
Allied Seating Group will make seat covers for anything that has wheels. Whether you want them for your 4WD, haul truck, quad bike, tractor or truck, Allied Seating will either have the pattern or find it for you. If you've upgraded your seats to aftermarket ones, like Recaro, they will still be able to sort you out.
Installing the seat covers
The first seat cover took me about 10 minutes to install, and the second one only about 3. Once you understand how they go on, it really is very simply.
One of the most important factors when it comes to seat covers is how they fit, and hug the seat. If they are loose, they will be uncomfortable to sit on, cause greater damage to your seat and look average. Allied Seating have come up with a design that pulls tight on all corners, allowing for a snug fit that is comfortable to sit in and looks like it your car's interior just rolled off the factory floor.
Lead times and pricing
Every order is individually made, and will take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. They cost around the $400 per row, but it varies considerably based on the materials used, extras and seat requirements.
Are they worth it?
I've had plenty of cheap seat covers in the past, and after using the Ruffnuts and Tuffnuts seat covers from Allied Seating I'll never go back. These are more comfortable, and seriously well built.
All seat covers come with a 2 year warranty, and you can extend it to 5 years for a price. Allied Seating back their seat covers 100%, and its not hard to see why.
Don't just take my word for it - look up Ruffnuts and Tuffnuts seat cover reviews and check out the independent reviews. You'll find plenty of happy customers. Yep, they aren't cheap, but what quality product is?
Where can I get them from?
If you are keen to get yourself a set of seat covers, you can do it online, or give them a call on 1800 455 433.