Buy a new carpet and remove the old one
You got a great deal on a “preowned” vehicle,
but the carpeting in the car is simply a disaster.
It's too far gone for stain removers—new
carpeting is the best solution. You can buy
preformed carpet specifically for your car's make, model
and color and install it yourself. In most cases, it'll only cost
about $200 and take an afternoon to install.
Shop for carpet at an auto parts store or an auto carpet
Web site. But make sure the carpet you buy is custom molded
to fit your car's floor pan and hump. Better carpets
include original factory features like a heel pad under the
accelerator and brake pedal. Most manufacturers offer a
“mass backing” that duplicates the padding and rigidity of
the factory carpet, and an economy
“poly” backing. Choose
mass backing if you plan to keep
the car, poly if you're going to
sell it in the near future.
When the carpet arrives,
unroll it and let it sit on a flat
surface for at least two hours to
lose its curl. While the carpet is
“uncurling,” start removing the
trim and seats to expose the old carpet for removal.
Buy a shop manual that includes trim removal instructions and
diagrams. Detach the door sill covers and remove
the kick panels from the bottom of the front pillars.
Unscrew/unsnap any trim pieces from the seat tracks so you
can get to the four nuts that secure the seat to the floor pan
studs. You may also have to remove the seat belt anchor bolts
(you may need Torx bits for these bolts). Disconnect any electrical
connectors under each seat and lift the seats up and out (call
in a helper for this part). Then remove the rear seat cushion. If
you have a console, remove the shifter knob and all the fasteners.
Lift the console out of the vehicle and pull out the old carpet and
pad. But don't throw out the old carpet just yet; you'll need it.
Remove the Seats
Remove the four seat
retaining nuts from the
floor pan studs and disconnect
the electrical connectors.
Remove the seat
and the console.
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Install the new carpet
Vacuum the floor pan and check for rust. Treat rusted areas
with a rust converter (such as Loctite Extend or naval jelly) and
paint them with a rust-inhibiting paint.
Using the old carpet as a template, trace the cutouts onto the
new carpet with chalk. Next, move the carpet into the vehicle
and double-check your cutout marks with the actual stud and
anchor points on the floor pan. When you're confident the
marks are in the right places, cut X-shaped openings at each
chalk mark. Fit the openings over the studs and feed the electrical
cables through. Enlarge the openings to achieve a good fit.
Cut off excess carpet at the door sills and apply a light coating
of spray adhesive such as 3M Spray 77 to the back of the carpet
where it rides up onto the firewall. Then reinstall the seats and
trim and reconnect the electrical connectors. Enjoy the look and
feel of new carpet and buy a set of no-spill coffee mugs.