The seasonal car mats in your automobile are for more than decoration. The right floor mats not only look good, but also work to protect your vehicle from moisture, road salt, dirt and grime. This doesn’t just preserve the life of your automobile’s carpet, but a good floor mat can even fight off corrosion over the lifetime of your vehicle. Choosing the best seasonal car mats means recognizing the weather you will deal with as summer fades into winter and making sure that the mats installed in your vehicle are capable of dealing with whatever nature might throw your way.
In the summer, a seasonal car mat is going to look a lot different than it will during the colder months. For starters summer weather is typically a lot dryer, there’s less precipitation to deal with, and roads usually stay cleaner as a result. This allows you to get away with a thinner mat that my be covered with stylish fabric that matches the rest of your car’s interior carpet. Summer floor mats aren’t just easy on the eyes, however, the hooks in the fabric will hold on to dirt and keep it from spreading through your vehicle, and the underside will be made of plastic or rubber to form a strong, durable base.
Once harsher weather rolls around, you’ll need to install a car mat that works a little harder to keep your floors clean. Winter mats are made of thicker material, but more importantly they often eschew a fabric-heavy design for a rubber or plastic lip around the edge of the mat. This traps melting snow, rain, salt and dirt, preventing it from spilling over onto your floor. This is important because keeping salt and moisture from getting trapped under your mats or simply sitting on the floor itself will have a dramatic impact on how well your vehicle resists rust and corrosion over time.
Cut to Fit
Another important car mat consideration is how well they fit your vehicle. Make sure to purchase a mat that is specifically designed for your car’s floor plan, otherwise you could end up with insufficient coverage or a bulky mat that could get in the way of your feet when trying to hit the gas or the brake. A well-made mat will also feature small holes or mounting tabs that allow them to mesh perfectly with the hooks on your vehicle’s floor, holding them in place and preventing them from sliding around while driving.
Don’t let the winter malaise influence how you treat your car. With just a bit of effort and the know how provided here, you’ll be able to take care of your car’s interior just as well as you protect its exterior.
Check out all the interior products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on floor mats, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.