Back to the Mat
Consumer Reports puts floor mats to a real-world test
Granted, the parameters were pretty unscientific, as the magazine itself notes. Still, the premise — take their current fleet of 25 test cars and drive them, as equipped, under conditions that could lead to the type of unintended acceleration that allegedly caused the accidents — yielded some interesting results. For one thing, none of the factory-installed mats caused any problem thanks to a hook-and-eye system that secured the mats to the floor. The problem mats (which numbered three of the 25) were rubber, all-weather mats that did not have hooks and therefore could shift forward under pressure, eventually tangling with the accelerator. So the solution is simply to not buy aftermarket all-weather floor mats, right? Not necessarily. As the article notes, many (mostly luxury) dealers include all-weather floor mats as an add-on to the purchase; however, rather than popping them in the trunk, they place them over the standard mats — which leads to the same sort of sliding effect, since they’re not attached to the secured ones below.
So the real solution is simple: Check your driver’s-side mat. If it doesn’t have a system for securing itself to the floor, check to see if your car is equipped with the type of smart-pedal technology that renders the problem moot. If the answer to both is “nope,” you should consider ditching the mat altogether. Sure, it’s a long shot that it would cause a problem — but eliminating potential problems, no matter how unlikely, is what accident prevention is all about.
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.