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Protecting Your Challenger’s Floor: Mats & Carpeting

By:  Connor MC  / Sep 13 2019
Protecting Your Challenger’s Floor: Mats & Carpeting

Often times the focus of a muscle car is its outward appearance or what it is packing under the hood. A clean and well kept interior is not represented on the horsepower scale but is surely appreciated each and every time you or another passenger enters your Challenger. When it comes to protecting your Challenger’s floors –and resale value – from everyday spills and various weather elements you’d think given the two possible options of carpeted mats or liners the decision would be simple. This is not always the case: while both will do a solid job of protecting the factory carpeting, they also have their own unique set of pros and cons. So which should you choose?

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No matter how careful you are (or how careful you insist your passengers conduct themselves) your interior is going to suffer. The most common area for dirt and trash to accumulate is the floor. Investing in a set of floor mats or laser scanned liners are a great way to stave off unnecessary wear.

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Floor Liners: the Thorough Solution

In terms of complete coverage and hassle-free maintenance, floor liners can’t be beat. Ranging from basic rubber floor mats to laser measured liners from the likes of WeatherTech and Husky Liners, there are a lot of different options currently available.

Conventional rubber floor liners are inexpensive and fairly effective at trapping dirt, debris and low volumes of liquid. They typically feature specific raised channels in order to trap debris and keep it from spreading around the interior. However, their highly pliable form makes them a chore to remove and empty without spilling any of the contents back onto the factory floor carpet.  

Laser measured and contoured floor liners are the latest technology in terms of carpet protection and provide the absolute best coverage, bar none. They are measured to the specific contour of each foot well and feature raised edges that come up the door sill and center console, respectively. The result is a tray like liner that captures all dirt, debris, and liquids and also prevents scuffing the door sill and center console when entering and exiting your Challenger.

Emptying these 3D floor liners is easy and mess free. Made from a special blend of plastic and rubber, the liners retain their form (even when using one hand) and can easily be removed and dumped outside without worry of any debris or liquid spilling over the sides and back into the interior.

The one minor hitch with floor liners is their general lack of color options. Most floor liners will come in the very basic and non-exciting options of black, grey and beige/tan. Not necessarily ideal for an exact match or for spicing up the Challenger’s color scheme, but most liners will nonetheless complement the factory interior.

Custom Work with Carpeted Mats

When compared to the Challengers stock mats, aftermarket carpeted mats are generally thicker and will provide more coverage and protection – though not as much protection as liners. For those living in sunnier climates or who are a bit more circumspect in their driving habits (i.e. no snacks allowed) and who they allow in their Challenger, carpet mats may well be the better option. 

The real unique feature of aftermarket carpet mats is the degree of customization they offer, making them ideal for show cars. Carpet mats come in various different colors of the rainbow and not just the bog standard black, grey and tan and can be carefully chosen to perfect match a more unique interior color scheme. 

Carpet mats can be further personalized with monogramed initials, names, and even logos, so if you’re looking to channel your inner Batman or showcase your pro sports team allegiances, you’re in luck. 

Just like the stock carpet mats, aftermarket mats are easily cleaned of any accumulated dirt and grime with a vacuum cleaner. Either a portable or auto vacuum should do the trick but for tougher stains, a spot-cleaner and sponge or rag may be necessary.

When Mats and Liners are Not an Option: Re-Carpeting Your Challenger

Back in the day, re-carpeting your Challenger was a fairly routine item as part of any restoration, as the factory carpet was quite thin and difficult to keep. Thankfully, we have access to better tech, and automotive carpet – regardless of make or model – is normally pretty resilient. 

That being said, if your Challenger is already done up on the outside and you need a truly matching custom upholstered interior to match, redoing the entire floor carpeting could absolutely be an option for you.

Unfortunately, laying fresh carpet in your Challenger is not as simple as re-carpeting a bedroom. It doesn’t go wall-to-wall on a flat surface; Challenger carpets are size specific and will have to circumnavigate seats, center consoles, footwells and any and all other irregularities that are part of the factory floor plan. Thus, in this case, it would be best to seek the services of a professional automotive upholsterer.

So What’s The Verdict?

A clean and well kept interior is not only paramount to general appearance but resale value as well. Floor liners, particularly the three-dimensional contoured versions, are the best in terms of floor protection. However, their plastic construction and tray design make them bulkier in appearance. Carpeted floor mats, on the other hand, offer a luxurious and streamlined aesthetic yet will more clearly show dirt and other debris and will take more time to effectively clean. How you protect your Challenger’s carpets (or don’t) is entirely up to you: what some might see as pros, other Challenger owners may see as cons.

Fitment includes: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, SRT-8, RT, SE, SXT, RallyeRedline, ScatPack, Hellcat, GT, TA, Demon