Nothing is more miserable or disgusting in a car than dirty and smelly auto carpet. Have you ever spilled soda, milk, motor oil or even bleach on your vehicle's carpet and thought to yourself that it would be nice to just replace the whole thing instead of trying to clean it? Well, it's actually possible to do just that, and the job isn't as difficult as you would think. Many people find it more cost efficient to replace their car, truck, van or SUV's carpet, instead of trying to clean the dirt or smell from a soiled auto carpet.
What should I buy?
Auto carpet can be purchased custom molded to fit the form of your vehicle's floor pan. So, there is no need to buy flat automotive carpet and try to fit it to the bumps and ridges of your vehicle's floor, but rather you can simply pull out the old auto carpet and drop in the new, pre-formed auto carpet. Buying this form of automotive carpet will make the job much easier and will eliminate most of the work. Sometimes, if you have a newer model of vehicle, you can still buy carpet from the manufacturer, but in most cases the original OEM auto carpet will be 4 or 5 times more expensive than aftermarket auto carpet, and the quality of the carpet fibers can be inferior to the aftermarket auto carpet.
It is important to note that there are 2 types of automobile carpet backing. Most new cars, trucks, vans and SUVs, from the 90s and newer, have a type of backing or padding called Massback. It is a heavy foamlike rubber that is usually black. This type if backing is added to improve heat and sound insulation as well as some padding under the auto carpet. Most aftermarket auto carpet is made with a thin, plastic backing that doesn't add much in the way of padding or heat/sound insulation so most aftermarket auto carpet manufacturers will add a 1/2 inch thick jute padding to this type of carpet backing to add some padding. Some aftermarket carpet retail stores will sell you the same carpet with either type of backing.
The first thing you will need to do when replacing your auto carpet, is to purchase a automotive carpet kit for your particular vehicle. It is important to point out that now would also be a good time to also buy a matching set of floor mats from the same retail store where you buy your auto carpet. Most manufacturers cut your molded carpet and floor mats from the same roll of carpet to ensure that you get the same exact die lot; you should order both at the same time.
Where Should I Start?
Be sure to pull the new auto carpet out of the box as soon as it arrives, since it will be rolled up and crammed into the box. The auto carpet will need about 24-48 hours to "relax" and regain it's shape. Sometimes, letting it sit in a warm room, or direct sunlight will help speed up this process.
Once the auto carpet has relaxed, you can begin the job of installing the new carpet. The first step will be to remove the existing carpet from the vehicle. You may need to remove the sill plates by the doors, the seats and seat tracks if they are holding down the auto carpet and the center console. Basically, anything that is holding down the auto carpet will need to be removed in order to get the carpet out. Be careful not to destroy the existing carpet, and certainly do not throw the carpet away or discard it, as you will need to use it in a few minutes. Just set the carpet aside for the time being.
Now you should do a little prep work on the floor of your vehicle to get ready to install the new auto carpet. At this time you can remove the old carpet padding, if any was left behind, but be sure not to remove any body insulation from the floor. You can install heat or sound insulation such as Dynamat at this time and patch or repair any holes in the floor of the vehicle. And it should go without saying, but sweep and clean up and dirt or loose matter from the floor of the vehicle.
How Do I Install the Auto Carpet
Most aftermarket auto carpet kits will come slightly oversized and without the pre-cut holes. So, there will be a little work to get the new auto carpet into the vehicle. There are 2 methods of cutting and trimming your auto carpet to get it into the vehicle; you can choose which will work best for you. Your first option is to place the new auto carpet over your old carpet, trim the edges and cut the holes. If you chose this option, you will need to be very careful not to over cut the holes or cut too much from the edges, since you are using the old auto carpet instead of the vehicle itself. The 2nd option is to work the new auto carpet into the contours of the vehicle floor and trim the carpet as you go. This method will give you more accurate results, but may be a little more difficult. Either way, it is important not to cut and trim too much with any one cut. It is best to work slowly, making small cuts and double check that the auto carpet has not shifted after each cut.
A little secret for making the small holes for things such as the seat bolts is to make a small "X" cut with a knife blade where the hole was in the original auto carpet. You can then simply push the bolt through the carpet. There is usually no need to try to cut a complete hole in your new auto carpet.
Occasionally you will find that a small section of the auto carpet wants to lift up off the floor, or tries to create a small wrinkle. This can easily be fixed with a small shot of spray adhesive. It is not recommended to spray the entire floor of the car, tryck, van or SUV, since the molded carpet should be held in place with the seats and trim pieces that were holding the original carpet in place.
Once the auto carpet is in place, and trimmed to fit, now you can begin to replace the pieces that were holding the original carpet in place. If you removed the seats, sill plates and trim pieces, then all of these pieces will need to go back into the vehicle.
Once all of pieces are back in place, your job is complete. You will be amazed at how much difference a little work can make to the appearance of your vehicle, not to mention removing that horrible smell that some things like milk can leave behind!
You can find a large selection of Aftermarket Auto Carpet here at Stock Interiors. You can shop with confidence, because we are "The Auto Carpet Experts!"