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Super glue can be your friend or your foe, depending on where and when you use it. Remember one thing, super glue is not flexible, and vinyl is. Using super glue in your vinyl repairs needs to be limited, very limited.
I've been running into some repairs lately that just don't make a lot of since to me. Super glue cracks when flexed, right, so why would you use it in a situation where it can be flexed. What I'm talking about are vehicles that have been previously done by someone else and have been traded back into the dealer and the repairs have gone bad. I see this a lot and it drives me crazy.Vinyl repairs on seats done with super glue! This is one place that super glue really doesn't have it's place. I know it works well, and looks good when done, but it does not last and it almost ruins the chance for another repair to be done again, correctly.
Here's a Chevy Truck that I did the other day that had been repaired in the seat belt pocket. This is a problem area in the Chevy seats. The vinyl splits easily in this area due to the seat belt rubbing on the vinyl constantly. This is a frequent fix for me, but not an area where I would use super glue. I've seen a few of these lately where someone has used super glue to repair the vinyl and all it has done has made a mess. It leaves the vinyl rock hard and splits out every time. My Tahoe was repaired about 4 years ago by myself using vinyl repair compound and is still holding, looks a little worn from use but still holding.
I know it's quick and easy to use super glue but come on, I thought we were in this business to help people out and make a living at it. Not pinch the vinyl together with a little glue and call it good...and charge for it. I'm here to say you won't be doing anybody a favor by using the quick fix. Yeah you my make a buck the first time but believe me they won't be back, unless it's to complain.
The easiest way to repair these is to pull the vinyl out with your fingers and hold the vinyl out while doing the repair. It may take a little quick maneuvering and some coordination, but by doing it this way, you will have a lasting repair and one that you can be proud of. It's really not that hard to do it this way, it gets a little hot sometimes, but very doable. Just pull the vinyl out, lay your vinyl repair compound on, heat and grain. Dye and repeat, building the area up until it's level and smooth. Putting the grain into the vinyl in this situation is where your coordination comes in, being able to hold the vinyl with one hand, heat and grain all at the same time with the other hand. It is difficult but I do it on a daily basis, so you just kinda have to get your own system down. But once you do you will find it takes no time to do a conventional vinyl repair and a repair that will last for years to come. In fact I think a vinyl repair holds up better then the vinyl itself.
Now of course this one had been done before with super glue so there was a rock hard area I had to work around. On this one my first layer of vinyl repair compound was applied with my finger and thick, then I worked it up and rounded it out to make it look natural. It took me a little longer to do but my goal was to give a little cushion to the super glue that lay underneath, hoping to give my customer a lasting repair. Unfortunately I couldn't really warranty such a repair, because of the rock hard chunk of super glue underneath, but I have confidence in my repairs and I think this one will last.
As you can see by the picture it is very much a doable vinyl repair with vinyl repair compound and the use of super glue isn't needed what so ever.
Now I know there are situations where super glue can be your friend when it comes to vinyl repairs. I use it in many other places rather then vinyl and leather seats.
Door panels are a perfect example of a vinyl repair being done with super glue. Now only on edges and where there isn't going to be any flex. Using it on an armrest probably wouldn't be advisable. But on the edge of the armrest, go for it,as long as there's not going to be a lot of flex. Doing a regular vinyl repair with heat on an edge is difficult on some vinyls and can create more of a problem so using super glue in these situations can save time and yield a better repair.
Knowing where and when to use super glue in vinyl repairs I think comes with experience, but hopefully I gave you a little enlightenment on your use of super glue on vinyl. Feel free to share your comments or questions on your vinyl repairs and the use of super glue to achieve a repair.