How to Buy OEM Interior Fabric

by Laure Justice

While it may be possible to get a close match on car upholstery fabric, an exact match requires original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, fabric. OEM assures the buyer the fabric was made by the original manufacturer and will be the same as the fabric installed in the car on the assembly line. You cannot buy OEM fabric at a standard fabric store. It can only be ordered through upholstery suppliers. On rare occasions, it may be found online, through auction sites or overstock sales.

Refer to the Detroit Book. According to Detroit Body Products, the annual Detroit Book has swatches of all OEM textiles used each model year. An inexpensive way to locate one of these books is to contact an upholsterer; the books are sold to them by fabric wholesalers. The books can also be ordered through the Detroit Body Products website.

Provide the vehicle information. The year the vehicle was manufactured will be needed first, so the correct Detroit Book can be selected.

Provide specifications such as the original color, body style, and any special feature packages that are original to the vehicle. If the original interior is available, a visual comparison will confirm whether the OEM fabric matches.

The Detroit number will be listed with each fabric swatch. The fabric can then be ordered through the upholstery shop that provided the book, or an Internet search can be conducted using the number code to find the fabric.

Tip

  • check If you are only replacing a section of fabric in an interior, remember that the original fabric may be faded or stained, making it look different than the newly purchased OEM fabric.

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About the Author

Laure Justice is a professional copywriter, since 2008. Justice has a broad-based business education, holding an AA in business administration and a Bachelor of Arts in management, plus certifications in accounting and international trade. She has written for GMC, Bounty Paper Towels, Purina's Petcentric, Colgate, Type F, Kudzu, eHow and many others.