One of the more neglected car topics is how to pick the best floor mats for your car?
I mean who cares, right? Just put any kind so it protects the carpet and call it a day.
But as this article will show you, there are a couple of things you should think about when buying floor mats.
At the end of this article, you have a video on this topic that you can also watch on our YouTube channel.
WHY ARE FLOOR MATS SO IMPORTANT?
Floormats protect the interior mainly the carpets in the footwells from damage, moisture, and filth.
Without them, the carpets beneath your feet would be completely ruined and look shabby in a matter of months if not weeks.
Even worse would be on the driver’s side where the pedals are constantly used. This also goes for where there’s more snow and rain throughout the year.
But more importantly, without floormats, moisture and water can easily get into the carpets (especially during the rain and snow season). If not dried, this can over time cause rust on the floor panels.
If you’ve had rust problems like these, you’ll know how serious and costly they can be.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that floor mats will protect the floor panel from heel marks on the driver’s side.
MOST COMMON TYPES OF FLOOR MATS
When choosing, it’s good to know what kind of floormats there are.
The three basic types you’ll probably encounter when buying are:
Fabric type floormats
Floor mats of this type are made out of a fabric similar to or the same as carpet and lots of cars come with these from the factory.
Fabric floor mats are popular because they look good. Most of them are tailored to a perfect fit to the footwells and can have various insignia making them even more attractive.
The downside is that they’re not very resilient to water and are pretty hard to maintain.
Plastic floor mats
It’s really not accurate to call them plastic but they’re not rubber either.
This type is made out of a kind of soft plastic that resembles rubber but in fact isn’t or only has a small portion of it.
You’ll best recognize these as being more firm when touching them and bending a bit harder than the rubber ones.
The best side of these plastic floor mats is the price. In most cases, they are dirt cheap while giving a decent level of protection.
On the other hand, they have a short life span and don’t last long until holes appear. Another major flaw is that they get very stiff in cold weather which makes them slip in the footwell or even tear.
Rubber floor mats
These are made out of thick, quality rubber.
They are very elastic and in most cases, the overall quality is very good. On most of them, there is a ridge around the floor mats that keeps the water from spilling on the carpets. A huge advantage for the snow season.
Also, most of these have a thicker strengthened part for the heel which additionally protects the carpet and floor panel.
The only downside is that most of them need to be cut to a fit , especially on the driver’s side. This makes them a bit clunky.
When talking about how to choose the best floor mats for your car, I should mention that these are also the most expensive to buy, at least in my country.
HOW TO PICK THE BEST FLOOR MATS FOR YOUR CAR?
Choosing the right floor mats for your car should be based on a couple of things.
Mainly on the climate you live in, aesthetics, and how much money you’re willing to spend.
Regarding the climate:
If you live in a dryer climate the fabric-type floor mats will do the job just fine. All you’ll need is to dust or vacuum them from time to time. If some rain gets on them, most are impregnated on one side and a small amount of water won’t go through the carpets.
However, if you live where there’s more rain or snow, plastic or rubber ones are a must-have to prevent water from getting into the carpets and floor panels.
Then you have the aesthetic part:
Fabric floor mats are generally considered better on this part. As mentioned, they come in all sorts of color combinations and can even be bought with various insignia on them.
Very pleasant for the overall look.
As opposed to this, plastic or rubber ones usually come in one color, mostly black making them a bit dull and sort of ruining the interior look.
Regarding the money aspect:
Good quality fabric and rubber floormats cost the most while the plastic ones are usually very cheap.
If you’re buying on a budget or want to sell the car in the near future, cheaper plastic or fabric floormats will do the job just fine.
But if you want good long-lasting protection, buy quality fabric or even better rubber floormats with the ridge.
Yes, they do cost a hefty sum, but in this case, it’s more or less a one-time investment that will last for years.
One more important thing:
Whatever type you choose, try to find ones that can be attached to the floor carpet so they don’t slip. This goes double for the driver’s side so they don’t accidentally go under the pedals and jam them.
These floor mats will either have plastic round clips, velcro tapes on the bottom, or some other kind of convenient patent for attaching them to the floor carpets.
To conclude on how to pick the best floor mats for your car:
Put protection above money and aesthetics. The point is to protect the carpets but more importantly, the floor panels. The constant presence of moisture and water will lead to rust. This will eventually lead to having to change the floor panel which is a major and expensive repair.
A bit more money spent in this case will go a long way, trust me.
So, having all this in mind, the winner here would be the rubber floor mats. They provide the best protection during the whole year and if you don’t mind the aesthetic part, are the best solution.
Even If you prefer aesthetics, try a combination. Try using the fabric ones when it’s dry and the rubber ones only when it’s rainy or snowing. You can even put the rubber ones above the fabric floor mats if there’s enough room and it doesn’t jam the pedals.
On the other hand, if you want short-term protection, use plastic ones. They’re cheap and will do the job to some extent.
In the end, the worst you can do is not have any floormats at all. So, if you don’t have any, buy them as soon as possible or your car interior will be ruined in no time.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com
BEST FLOOR MATS FOR YOUR CAR-YOUTUBE VIDEO