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Tailored, fitted and off the shelf car mats.

"Does it really MATter?"

This must be one of the most popular interior modifications that is made to a car and certainly one of the easiest. Fitting is a very simple process and there is a wide selection of car mats to choose from.

Tailored mats are cut to shape from the factory and will fit the foot well precisely and if the car has pegs to secure the mat this will also be accounted for in the tailored mat design.

Not all cars have tailored mats available and older cars in particular will have to put up with off the shelf mats. The off the shelf mats are typically smaller and often have to be cut to fit the shape of the foot well. The cut to shape ones have rubberised edges with grooves to cut along which helps you to get a fairly professional finish.

The wrong choice of car mat can seriously damage your gearbox or even lead to an accident.

The material of construction is also important, wool blends are harder wearing but extremely hard to track down. Rubber mats fail to trap grip properly so the grit will work to the edges of the mat. Metal plates on car mats can cause scratching to shoes and this is very unpopular with the ladies! Pure metal car mats can be fitted and look really good as per the photograph below.

Colour wise you can get pretty much anything now but if you want a colour that does not show up the dirt select  a grey, or speckled finish. Black mats look great but they can be a nightmare to clean. Some companies even offer bespoke design and will produce a car mat to your specified colours and with your logo or design in the fabric and you get to choose the piping colour around the outside.

Don't forget the rear seat passengers, nothing looks worse than badly matching front and rear car mats so take care to buy a good quality set of 4 mats.

Things to watch out for. If the mat is too thick you may have trouble with the clutch pedal. On a number of previous cars a clutch fault was put down to incorrect adjustment due to the thickness of the mat restricting pedal travel. 

If you have a thick, luxury car mat, ensure it is removed if you have any work done which requires adjustment of the clutch.  In extreme cases as the clutch wears the mat restricts the pedal travel to such an extent that the clutch fails to engage properly causing damage to the gearbox.

If the mat is not fixed to the carpet it will slide around and can bunch up under the pedals or worse can actually wedge itself between the pedals making the car very dangerous to drive.

So if you fit a mat make sure it is correctly fitted, carpet tape or an anti rug slip material can secure the mat making it safe for your vehicle.

Cleaning the car is much easier when you have mats as they lift out taking most of the heavy soiling with them.

Run a vacuum cleaner over them and pop them back into the car.

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