The humble, and often overlooked, floor mat is actually a wonderful invention. It can save the carpeting in your vehicle and increase the resale value. In this article, we will review the different kinds of floor mats available and their importance in protecting your investment.

Different Types of Car Floor Mats

It may seem like there are very few options when it comes to floor mats. If you go into your local automotive parts store, you may see a rack of very similar, inexpensive-looking types of floor mats. But consider some of the following as you decide which floor mats are right for you and your vehicle.

Rubber or Carpet

Consider the choice of whether to buy floor mats that are covered in carpet or those without carpet. Floor mats with carpet tend to look classier and less industrial than those without carpet. If you have a truck and you will be sloshing around a lot of mud and dirt, it may not be best to choose carpet. Carpet is harder to clean, as it traps more dirt, dust, grime, and French fries than non-carpeted floor mats. If you choose carpeted floor mats, I suggest you get a can of carpet protector spray like Scotchgard™ Fabric and Upholstery Protector. This will prolong the life of the carpet and make it easier to clean when you spill liquids on it.

Rubber floor mats are much easier to clean, less expensive, and do well to protect your vehicle’s carpet from water, mud, and salt. However, floor mats without carpeting tend to look cheap and plain. Also, since this kind of floor mat tends to be less expensive, they can be less durable. They may not hold up as long or may not retain their proper shape.

Special Floor Mats

Sometimes floor mats are offered as an “extra” when purchasing your car. This is always a good time to haggle with the car dealer and make sure they throw in the floor mats at no extra charge. These floor mats can be nice; matching the exact color and pattern of your car’s interior carpet. You certainly do not have to purchase these floor mats from the dealer, but they are a nice “extra.”

There are also specialty floor mat companies that offer extra heavy duty, “laser-fitted,” floor mats designed especially for your vehicle. These can be great. They hold a large amount of mud and water. This is especially helpful when you have kids, or pets, or work on a construction site. The downside to these custom floor mats is the expense.  They can be extremely expensive. Some people have built gigantic, profitable companies that do little more than manufacture and sell aftermarket floor mats. I am not against these floor mats, but I have never been able to afford them myself.

Other Uses

In addition to protecting your floor carpet, floor mats can come in handy for other things as well. If you get stuck in the snow, you can put them under your tires to help you get some traction. Also, when working under the hood of your car, you can drape them over the fender to protect the fender from accidentally getting dented or scraped by tools.


Floor mats are simple, but I highly recommend them.  I prefer the cheap, non-carpeted type, but that is just my preference. It all depends on your taste and how much you want to spend.

Written by Gary Pradel