Floor mats are undoubtedly one of the hardest-working items in your car. They get stepped on, absorb dirt and any liquids you might have spilled accidentally, and get exposed to the harshest elements like snow, slush, sand, etc.
Knowing how to take care of these floor mats makes sure you get more out of them and save you a lot of money.
The average driver knows how to put their floor mats to optimum use, but the fact remains that floor mats take a beating from us every day! While keeping your car clean, the floor mat usually winds up being the dirtiest.
You may vacuum and evacuate dust and grime, but they look worn out after some time. Even after regular maintenance, you need to change them after a certain period.
The question now arises how much can they take before you need a replacement. This depends entirely on the type of floor mats and the material they are made up of.
How Long Do Car Floor Mats Last?
Let us understand the various factors that affect the lifespan of car floor mats.
1. Type of Material
Fabric floor mats are the cheapest and the most readily available car floor mats. However, they have a short shelf life compared to other materials and need replacement sooner. They start sagging after some time and look shabby.
Rubber mats are easily the most durable and long-lasting mats you can use in your car. They retain moisture and whatever is thrown at them and can be used for a long time. The lifespan is considerably increased if you go for high-quality ones.
All-weather vinyl mats are made of the thick vinyl material that is more durable than regular rubber and is more long-lasting.
2. Popular Brands
Mats are available in different price ranges and quality. The most trustworthy and reliable brands take pains to maintain the quality of their products and are a popular choice of many. They may be a little pricy but are well worth the money spent.
Good quality mats from popular brands have a longer lifespan and remain in good condition. Buying cheaper mats from less popular brands may save money but will need a replacement sooner.
3. Type of Usage
If the mats witness high foot traffic, they will wear out sooner than others. The durability of the floor mats depends on how you use your vehicle- whether you transport heavy material in your car or are frequently used.
The mats will wear off sooner in such cases. Alternatively, if the vehicle is not used very often, the mats will remain in good condition for longer.
4. Geographical Location
The place where you stay and drive your vehicle directly impacts the lifespan of your floor mats. Living in a frigid climatic region will expose the floor mats to snow, slush, and dirt and affect their shelf life.
Similarly, people staying in desert regions bring in sand and grit with their feet, reducing the floor mat life as they are the most affected.
The size of the mat also affects its lifespan. If the mat covers the whole flooring of the car, dust is not allowed to reach the floor; otherwise, the mat keeps slipping and wears off sooner.
How Do You Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Car Mats?
Whether we talk about floor mats at home or those in our car, the floor mats have a specific shelf life after which they need to be replaced.
However good these mats may be, they will eventually reach the end of their wear and tear capacity. Knowing when to replace them is as important as buying them for the first time.
There is no hard and fast rule on when you should replace your car floor mats. It depends on many factors and the foot traffic that the floor mat bears during its lifetime.
Let us look at some tell-tales that it’s high time you replaced your floor mats. Watch out for these signs to keep your car looking pristine.
1. Noticeable Fading
If you notice fading of color or print, it is a sure-shot sign that you need to replace your mats in the near future.
A faded spot or two can be ignored sometimes, but if it has completely faded, it gives a very shabby look and spoils the whole interior.
Although the mat will still serve its purpose, it indicates wear and tear.
2. Curling Edges
Most floor mats start curling at the edges with time.
If you find that your car floor mats are curling at the edges, it is obviously a sign of overuse.
Moreover, these curling edges can be hazardous as they increase the chances of tripping, and someone may get hurt.
3. Starts Slipping
The anti-skid mats and regular mats have particular traction that makes them stay in place.
Even fabric mats usually have a rubber backing that keeps them in place. This backing starts chipping off with use and may become more hazardous than helpful.
When you notice the mat slipping, start looking for a new set. A minor chip should serve as a warning signal for you to replace your mats.
4. Difficulty in Cleaning
Most floor mats must be cleaned at least once weekly. Vacuuming or washing removes all the dust and grime and increases their life.
Although it is elementary to maintain new mats, removing the dirt and stains becomes more tedious as time passes.
When you notice that cleaning your floor mats takes more time than usual and the stains are difficult to remove, you should understand that it is time to replace them with new ones.
5. Usage Time
You should regularly check your floor mats for signs of wear and tear.
Usually, most foam and rubber mats remain good for about a year or more, depending on the quality.
This is especially true for those mats that are extensively used because of high foot traffic.
Molded vinyl and urethane mats are more durable and should remain good for around four to five years, but it is still advisable to keep a lookout for signs of wear and tear.
6. Accumulation of Dirt below the mat
Mats are supposed to trap dirt on their surface to protect the floor underneath.
If you notice more and more dirt underneath the carpet, it is a clear sign that your floor mats are no longer doing what they are supposed to do-trap dirt.
It would be best if you replaced these mats as soon as possible to protect the flooring.
7. No Longer Comfortable
Floor mats are also used to comfort your feet while driving or sitting in the back seat.
This is especially true for the anti-fatigue mats that provide comfort for people who work for long hours.
When this level of comfort is no longer visible, you need to look for a new set of floor mats.
8. Large Holes
A hole in the floor mat is not only an aesthetic problem; it can also create havoc with your flooring.
The dirt, grime, and liquids that can seep through the hole prove very hazardous in the long run.
In such cases, you need to immediately take action and change the floor mats to prevent further damage.
9. Presence of Mold
Mold is a potential health hazard for you and others who sit inside your car.
It can release spores in the air and may cause allergies or trigger asthmatic reactions in sensitive people.
So, replace the mats immediately if you notice mold growth or other pathogens.
10. Planning to Sell
If you plan to put your car on the market, you should make it as presentable as possible to get a good deal.
Car accessories are the best way to create a good impression in the first instance and make it more appealing for the buyer.
Replacing your old floor mats with a brand-new set will enhance your car’s interiors and increase its resale value.
11. Heel Pad Problem
If the stitching around the mat heel pad has come away, it is best to replace the mat as your foot might get entangled in it while stepping on the brake or the accelerator.
You might also lose control of the vehicle, leading to a mishap.
12. Latest Trend and Style
If you are one of those people who like to remain updated about the latest trends and styles, be it your looks or your car, you might want to replace your mats with the latest ones.
Your car floor mats improve your driving comfort, enhance the interiors of your car and keep it clean and hygienic for a long. But they bear the brunt of the process and must be replaced after a specific time.
Watch out for the above signs that clearly indicate that you should go for a shopping spree soon. Replacing your floor mats when required will keep your car looking as good as new and make the drive enjoyable for you.