Once you open a car door, a few things could happen. One, you might step into driving nirvana: a mint, obsessive sanctuary that continuously smells like New Car Smell; or two, you could be stepping into a purgatory of Sour Patch Kids, dog hair, and In N Out wrappers. Floor mats can be pigeonholed into the group of one of the first things you see when stepping inside a vehicle, and the most abused part of the interior, period.
If they’re dirty, you’ll see it right away. If they’re clean, you’ll never even know they’re there. They can lower resale value, soak up nasty dirt and smells, or they can make carpets stay factory fresh; repelling everything you, and your offspring, can throw at them, and actually up resale value. Though not the sexiest topic, floor mats provide protection with you barely even knowing they’re there. Here are three choices you can make when it comes to picking a mat for your car.
Most car companies offer custom mats directly from their parts catalog. Granted, they might be a bit more expensive than going elsewhere—from dealer markups usually—but you’re also getting mats (that should be) tailor-made to your car. Usually, most mats from the manufacturers start at around at least $100, and depending on the brand of car, can go up substantially higher. The choices are pretty wide: beefier carpets, custom logos, rubber and carpeted mix, and all rubber all-season examples. If you like having everything laid out for you and OEM quality, getting them from the dealer is a good bet.
Probably the easiest route to go since you could waltz in to any auto parts store and pick out a mat that fits your lifestyle in seconds. Everything from Betty Boop to hotrod flames to college basketball teams are made and sold to fit almost any vehicles. They’re cheap and affordable—usually starting at $25—but at a cost to fit, finish, and possibly safety. Since they’re universal, they’re cheaply made most of the time and not specific to any make or model vehicle, making them susceptible to unplanned moving around or shifting since they usually won’t have the specific attachment points for the floor. And if they shift or move during braking or other maneuvers, it could literally get in the way of performing evasive actions. This is an instance where spending more can mean a lot more in the quality and safety department.
Since they’re specifically in the business of making car mats (and some other rubber products as well), WeatherTech has become a name brand when it comes to high-quality mats. You’ve probably seen their advertisements either on TV or in magazines. While all of their mats are custom made specifically to most all vehicles, their DigitalFit Floorliners are guaranteed to keep whatever’s underneath as new as the day you bought the car with high sidewalls and snug fit. They are the Ferrari of floor mats, which means they’re not cheap, priced at around $179 on average. However, if you care about the life expectancy of the interior carpet, keeping smells and stains out, and the resale value, the cost of these mats goes a long way.
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