In recent years, better quality leather is being used in manufactured cars, which maintains its condition longer than in the past. Part of the reason for its longevity is that manufacturers now add a protective coating on the leather, which keeps it looking and feeling newer, longer, without as much need for heavy cleaning maintenance by the owner. Before you start cleaning your leather, it is important to find out whether your leather is dyed or painted, as they require different cleaning techniques.
To determine what type of leather you have, a good test is to drip some water onto the leather in an inconspicuous area. If it is absorbed quickly, the leather has NOT been protected at the factory. If it rolls off, it most likely has had a protective coating applied. Another test is to apply a small amount of leather cleaner to a white towel and rub on a hidden part of the leather, if the color rubs off, your leather is not coated with a protectant and is probably dyed. If your leather is protected you will not be able to rub off any color onto the towel. With protected leather, the natural oils from a reconditioning product will not absorb into the leather and would cause the natural leather protectant from the factory to become slick and very sticky after prolonged use. It is important not to use pure silicone protectants on coated leather as the petroleum distillates will break down and harm the protective coating, which will eventually cause your leather to crack and dry prematurely.
Once cleaned, maintaining the leather is very simple. Use leather cleaner to remove surface dirt and wipe clean with a mild leather conditioner or with a damp cloth for protected leather.