Spending its entire life in Florida has been good and bad for our 36-year-old Chrysler 300. A lack of snow and salty roads has preserved our car's sheetmetal better than most cars its age. There are downfalls, however, to owning a car that has spent all its life in the sunshine state. The ultraviolet rays and extreme heat of the sun can ruin a car's paint, and cause the vinyl, leather, and carpet of the interior to become extremely deteriorated. A propensity for sudden afternoon thunderstorms often catches drivers who have left there windows down to keep their car cool off guard, flooding the interior with rain and soaking the carpet and underlying insulation. This combination of circumstances is exactly what had left the carpet in our Chrysler tattered, torn, and looking terrible. Most of the carpet was nonexistent as the previous owner had ripped it out to save the floors after the car had sat in a hurricane with the windows cracked. this saved the floorboards from major rust, but the aesthetics of the interior really suffered. Needless to say, new carpet was in order for our old Chrysler.

Installing new carpet in your car is probably the single best improvement you can make to the interior for the cost. New carpet not only makes the interior look better, but cuts down on road noise and keeps the interior insulated from the hot exhaust running underneath. Before you start a project like this, however, you must determine what caused your carpet to be ruined. If normal wear and tear is the culprit, the carpet can be replaced and should stay looking good for a long time with proper care. However, if leaky door or window seals are allowing water to damage the carpet, you should be prepared to correct these problems before putting new carpet in your car. Leaks that cause standing water in the floorboards will certainly ruin your new carpet and must be repaired. Also, be prepared to fix what you find underneath your carpet. We were lucky and just had some minor surface rust and a couple of pin holes in the floor that were easily repaired with rust inhibitor and body filler. If your car is from the northern states and has rust damage, or if your carpet has been soaked and has stayed wet for any length of time, it may need sheetmetal repairs before the new carpet is installed. Placing your car on a lift or crawling under it in the driveway before removing your old carpet will allow you to see if metal repairs are necessary before removing your original carpet.

One of the nice things about this job is that it can be done in less than a day and only requires the use of basic hand tools. You'll need a Phillips screwdriver for the kick panels and sill plates, a 1/2-inch deep well socket to remove the front seats, a 13/16-inch socket to remove the front seatbelts, and a carpet knife or razor blade to trim the carpet to fit. we've found the best way to cut holes for the seats and seatbelts is by actually melting the carpet with a soldering iron. This will burn through the carpet, backing, and insulation forming a nice round hole and cauterizing the edges, which will prevent the carpet from fraying. The upper rear seat, door panels, and rear seatbelts can be left in place. It's easiest to do this job with both doors fully open. Rather than shuffling cars around to fit the big Chrysler in the garage, we performed the work in the driveway and had the new carpet installed in about four hours.

Carpet can be obtained from any number of sources, but for our project we chose Year One. The carpet from Year One is correctly molded in two pieces to fit the contour of our specific car's floorboards, and is the same type and quality used by the factory when the car was built. Insulation pads are molded to the bottom of the carpet to provide a barrier from heat and road noise. Unlike factory carpet, however, we've found the Year One replacement is far more tolerant of ultraviolet rays and is less susceptible to fading. Year One is also a great source if you're unsure of the original color of your car's carpet. Carpeting came not only in many colors, but many shades, and Year One will send you samples that can be matched to the original carpet before you order, ensuring the proper color for your car. We suggest matching the sample to original carpet from an area that didn't fade, like under the front seats or beneath the sill plates. Since our big 300 Hurst edition came with only one color choice, our selection was easy.

After installing our carpet we noticed a huge decrease in road noise as well as significantly less heat transferring from the exhaust, through the floors, and into our passenger compartment. All of this combined to make our car much more comfortable to drive. Aesthetically, the carpet also made a huge difference, finishing out the interior and making it look much better even with the remaining imperfections. We plan to restore the rest of the interior at a later date, but for now, the carpet makes our car much more pleasant to look at as well as to drive. Not bad for just over 100 bucks and a half a day's work.

SOURCE
Year One
PO Box 129
Tucker
GA  30085
800-932-7663
770-496-1949
www.nextgenparts.com/mustang
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