You have made the decision to replace your car's carpet, but now you must decide where to get your carpet. There are basically 2 options available, OEM Carpet (from the dealership), or Aftermarket. In most cases you can find aftermarket carpet that is made to fit your specific vehicle, so which should you buy? There are pros and cons to each, so let's talk about them before you make your decision.
OEM Carpet – Pros?
The biggest advantage to buying OEM replacement carpet, is that it will be the easiest install. If you buy the original factory carpet from your dealer, it should have all the holes pre-cut and should fit into your car without any trimming. In other words, it should be an exact match to what you are replacing in your car. Also, this carpet can be ordered at your dealership and picked up when it arrives .. of course, this is a minor issue since it can still take weeks for it to arrive.
OEM Carpet – Cons?
On the down side, you should check the price before you decide to buy carpet from your dealer. In most cases the original factory carpet can be 3 to 4 times more expensive than aftermarket carpet .. it is not unheard of to pay $ 500 for a new carpet kit from the dealership, and that does not include the labor to install it. Of course, it would only be possible to buy automatic carpet from the dealership, if they still make the carpet. For most vehicles older than 10 years, the carpet will no longer be available, so buying OEM carpet is not even an option!
Aftermarket Carpet – Pros?
Obviously, the largest advantage to buying aftermarket automotive carpet is going to be the price. In most cases, the price will be 1/3 to 1/4 of what you would pay to the dealership for OEM carpet. In some cases, there will be a wider selection of colors available too, incase you want to modify your vehicle with non-stock color options. In some cases, depending on the make / model of your vehicle, aftermarket carpet will be a higher quality carpet then the original.
Aftermarket Carpet – Cons?
The only downside to buying aftermarket carpet will be that it will require a little more work to install the carpet. Most aftermarket carpet is pre-molded to fit your vehicle's floor pan, but there will not be holes cut for the shifter and seat bolts, and it will require a little trimming around the edges. With a little time and patience, you can cut these holes and install the carpet just like the OEM carpet.
So, what do I buy?
Having established all of the pros and cons for each option, you will need to select the carpet that is right for you and your application. For most people who want to save money, or who wants to customize their car will decide to buy aftermarket carpet instead of going back to the dealership. If you are the kind of person who wants to minimize your work and money is no object, then give your dealership a call, and hope they still make carpet for your vehicle!