How often do you think about your floor mats? Probably not all that often. Like all kinds of other things vehicle-related, though, floor mats have changed and evolved a great deal over the last decade or two.
Think about what the floor mat does, though. You get in and out of your vehicle many thousands of times in the course of your time of ownership, and that means tracking mud, grass, dead leaves, dirt, gravel and possibly snow and slush inside. If you've ever seen a vehicle that didn't have floor mats, chances are the carpeting was in pretty sorry shape — matted, dirty, run-down, ratty and just generally nasty with ground-in dirt that's never going to come out no matter how many times you vacuum or use carpet shampoo.
In the long run, this ends up being about more than just having worn carpeting and a gross interior. When it's time for trade-in or resale, things like upholstery, carpeting, headliner and even the condition of the brake pedal and gas pedal make a big impression on a buyer. Not only that, but once enough moisture from slush and snow seeps its way through the carpet, carpet pad and insulation, there's a good chance that the floor pans are going to start to rust. If a savvy buyer sees that worn and ground-in carpeting, he or she will likely to put two and two together and pass on your vehicle, or at least bargain downward on the price.
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Floor Mats vs Floor Liners
There are all sorts of options out there for floor mats, depending on what your budget is and what sort of protection you need, and all of them are a better deal than heading to the dealership to get a set of OEM floor mats for $200.
Floor liners are more like a system; they go all the way across the floorboard in front or back, including the driveline hump. Floor liners are usually rubberized and will have grippy teeth on the backing to securely anchor them in the carpeting, preventing them from scooting forward and bunching up under the accelerator or brake pedal. They're an excellent choice for people living in the Snow Belt or maybe commuters who find themselves eating on the run, out of necessity.
Your Floor Mat Options
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At the lower-price end of floor mats, you can just go with a simple set of rubber mats that will protect your carpeting and last a good long time under your feet and heels. It's a good idea to take measurements first, so you can be sure you get mats that won't bunch up or move around. From there, you can go with various tough fabric mats, sturdy rubberized floor mats or even faux-leather mats for a touch of elegance. Outdoor enthusiast? Got you covered. Sports fan, or Warner Brothers buff? Got that too.
And then there's WeatherTech floor liners and mats. "How much difference can there be between floor mats?" you ask. Well, WeatherTech mats use High Density Triple Extruded (HDTE) material for long wear and a nice feel — they're tough enough that they'll likely be the last floor mats you'll ever need to buy. These mats are engineered and laser-cut for a precise fit, but best of all, they use a series of channels and troughs that collect slush and water and muck and contain them. The moisture is then drained toward a reservoir and all you need to do is pull up the floor mat and dump the muck over the door sill — problem solved.
Don't just keep grinding dirt and leaves and water into your vehicle's carpeting. Invest in a set of floor mats; they'll make your ride a more pleasant place to be on a long haul and will help keep things protected.
Go on, tell us what state your vehicle's interior is in over in the comments.