When I scored my new Family Truckster four years ago, I knew the types of abuse I’d be asking it to put up with. I routinely tote screaming, active kids and their friends to practices, games, and events. I’ve led many a family road trip across the mighty United States Interstate system. I’ve hauled the foulest-smelling goalie gear known to youth hockey. I’ve loaded the Truckster to the brim to support my mother-in-law’s craft show hobby. And I’ve used it to retrieve mulch, haul pavers, and transport bikes and dogs. So I knew I’d need to protect the cargo area, but didn’t want to shell out the $100-$150 for an OEM part. Thus a cheap alternative: rubber floor mats.
I’ve always tried to protect my cargo areas. I had a bed liner in my F-150 from the day I bought it back in 1999. I asked my father to rhino-line the bed of his Kawasaki ATV Mule he uses at the lake home, and I broke down and purchase the cargo tray for the well that the minivan’s third seat folds into. My dad always said if he had his way, the floors of his vehicles would be made of concrete so he could just hose it out when he was done. But I knew there had to be a cheaper way to protect the cargo area — so the first stop after I picked up the 2007 Honda Odyssey was the big box to score some cheap rubber mats.
The mats were less than $15 each and two of them did the trick. They’ve managed to keep the carpeted mini-van cargo area clean from some of the worse loads I’ve thrown into it. They fold up easy, lay flat in the third seat well storage area when not in use, and are easy to clean. So for less than $30 I’ve attained peace of mind for four years and saved at least $70.
Do I miss my big 4X4 truck? Who wouldn’t? Especially after checking out Sean and Chuck’s recently-acquired twin 2008 Ford Rangers. But for people-hauling and a lot better gas mileage, I can’t complain about my past four years driving the Odyssey. Its versatility has been fantastic.
What tricks do you use to protect your vehicle trunks and cargo areas? What’s worked and what’s failed for you? Let us know in comments.