After spending a small fortune on your sim racing set-up, the least you should know is how long the seat will last, right? They’re the most integral part and should be the comfiest, so it’s something very important to consider.
So, how long does a sim racing seat last? The lifespan of a sim racing seat is influenced by a lot of factors, such as how much you use it and what brand it is. The absolute minimum you should expect from a seat is 3 years of use before you need to replace it.
Seats designed for sim racing cockpits or otherwise aren’t cheap! From named brands like PlaySeat, you’ll be looking at $200 for their cheapest models. Because of that, you should definitely be aware of what will influence the lifespan of your seat, and a few other key things to consider.
What Will Influence The Lifespan Of A Sim Racing Seat?
In day-to-day life, we do a lot of mental gymnastics when we go to buy new appliances or clothes, oftentimes thinking about how long it’ll last. That’ll depend on a few factors, the biggest including how much you’ll use it, what the quality is, and which parts of that thing are prone to giving way first.
Probably the biggest factor above all others is how much you’ll be using your sim racing seat. That isn’t just frequency of use, but the time spent sim racing per session, too. Spending a whole day sat in the chair in varying positions will induce more wear than two-hour race sessions, as an example.
I’m not telling you to hold back on enjoying sim racing to its fullest by having small sessions! It’s just something to consider when calculating how long your seat will last, and a pretty essential thing to be aware of to boot.
With most warranties covering a product for 1 or 2 years, you really should expect the product to outlast that by a couple of years. Even looking at the minimum length of time, therefore, you should expect 3 years of use in your sim racing seat; regardless of whether you spend every day sim racing or only occasional weekends.
Alongside the usage wear and tear on a seat, you should also look at the brand and therefore quality of your seat. Companies who specialize in making sim racing seats will use high-grade materials and include a host of longevity features in their products when compared to budget brands, so you can expect a longer lifespan out of the former.
As an example, buying a seat imported from China may save you some cash in the short-term, but you’ll likely have to replace it much quicker than a named brand of seat. This is due to those sorts of products not having required levels of high-grade materials, leading to a cheaper overall purchase.
Imported sim racing seats aren’t necessarily a bad thing, however. They just aren’t built to last as long as other brands, so make sure to do your research beforehand if you want to balance a well-budgeted seat with good quality.
The last thing to look out for in a seat racing seat are the areas you’ll find wear happening first. A lot of general products have these points of high wear and degradation that are easy to overlook, so it’s important to keep it in mind so you can be easier on some of the component parts.
On sim racing seats, the places that are easier to accidentally break include the frame, rotating wheels (if you have a general gaming chair or other such model) and armrests. If you have a seat which has protruding parts compared to the rest of it, you can always expect these areas to be at risk of early breakages/damage.
Compared to the bulk of the seat itself, those areas will give way quicker and as such, you should keep an eye on them and try to take care with them when getting in and out of the seat.
The Minimal Lifespan Of A Sim Racing Seat
Truly, the minimum life of a sim racing seat should easily hit the 3-year mark. In spite of how many different influencing factors there are for the lifespan of a seat overall, this length of time is generous when you consider how long couches and armchairs will last. Or, closer to the nature of a sim racing seat, office chairs will at least last for 3 years.
What with sim racing seats being purpose-built for a lot of wear, tear and racing, you’d expect that 3 years would be worth the $500 or more that you can spend on them!
As with most furniture and appliances, sim racing seats come with a warranty that will protect you, the buyer, from early failures and signs of wear. The extent of this warranty will depend on the company you purchase the seat from, with some stretching as far as 2 years of coverage, and some not offering any at all.
A warranty is basically a company pledging their confidence in a product they’ve made. As such, it’s always heartening to see a long and inclusive warranty on anything; let alone a sim racing seat which can be such a big expense and a huge part of your rig.
Because I’ve recently bought myself a PlaySeat, I’ll use their warranty policy as an example. They provide a one-year guarantee that, within this length of time, they’ll repair or replace the product which has any defect or premature signs of wear. All you have to do is keep the receipt for the seat and hang onto the warranty card that comes in the product’s box.
Considering the price and quality of their products, it’s quite the hefty warranty if they agree to give you a whole new seat if you encounter any signs of premature wear.
As another rather amazing example, GT Omega offer up to 3 years of coverage with their warranty policy on all of their products. It isn’t as flexible as PlaySeat, and it will instead cover missing materials from the seat, defects in manufacturing or major defects in the seat’s functionality. It expressly doesn’t cover ‘general wear and tear’, even if it occurs prematurely.
How To Extend The Life Of A Sim Racing Seat
I’ve covered what things will affect a seat’s lifetime, and the minimum you can expect, plus warranties. It’s also pretty important, therefore, to know how exactly you can make the most of your sim racing seat by extending the time you can spend racing with it!
This all comes down to taking care of the seat.
Cleaning the upholstery with a leather or faux leather polish, or a special fabric cleaner will keep it both looking nice and also add to its lifespan by adding a protective layer to it. Another important factor is to consider greasing component parts to keep them healthy, such as the frame, to avoid an early onset of rust.
As somebody who owns a cat, I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your pets away from your sim racing seat! No matter whether it’s fabric or leather, claws and fur don’t mix well with most materials; especially not if your cat decides to make the seat its new scratching post…
How Long Do Cheap Sim Racing Seats Last?
I understand the allure of cheaper products, especially when you’re just getting started in sim racing. Spending in excess of $200 or $300 can seem pretty excessive, after all.
However, buying a budget seat will have a distinct effect on how long you’ll be able to use it. The quality of materials won’t be as high as premium, named brands, especially if imported from another country such as China. And another important factor is the short, limited warranties or lack of warranty altogether.
As such, budget seats won’t last anywhere near the 3-year minimum I’ve come to expect from solid racing seats. It would be worth doing some budgeting on price to see what would be more worth it; three different budget seats of $100 each over the span of 3 years, or a $300 seat that’ll last 3 years or longer.
Does A More Expensive Sim Racing Seat Last Longer?
Spending more money doesn’t always equal better quality; think of designer brands in everyday life. Sometimes, those brands just aren’t worth the extra cost when you can buy something that does the same job by comparison.
However, when it comes to products that will be in use or integral to a whole set-up, like in sim-racing, spending that little bit extra can guarantee a longer usage and more consistent usage time.
You would expect reputable brands to provide a higher build quality and nicer, more durable materials that are made to last, and that all-important warranty will likely be longer/ in place compared to budget seats. In the case of GT Omega, they expect their seats to be flawless for 3 years of usage, and that’s no mean feat! It meets the minimum lifespan that I’ve come to expect, and has the potential to be around for longer.
There aren’t a lot of cases where a sim racing seat doesn’t last at least 3 years, and if yours doesn’t or hasn’t, I’d recommend looking into brands like PlaySeat or GT Omega. For a larger purchase to begin with, you’ll be getting a far more comfortable, durable base for your sim racing rig that will reach the minimum seat lifespan…
Or your money back!
All joking aside, I hope that this insight into what to expect from a sim racing seat’s lifespan has helped you budget for a new one, or taught you how to take better care of your current one.