Floor mats are pretty darn low on the list of things we worry about in our vehicles. We put in rubber ones in the winter, and fabric ones in the summer, and beyond that, they are just there to protect our carpet from dirt and grime. Over the last few years, through, there were millions of recalls of vehicles to correct “a possible incursion of an incorrect or out-of-place front driver’s side floor mat into the foot pedal well, which can cause pedal entrapment”. That is really just a fancy way of saying that the pedal was getting stuck under the corner of the mat. Toyota went on to perform a second recall for mechanically sticky accelerator pedals, but that is something you surely read about in the news at the time.
Floor Mat Safety
Due to the extensive recall from Toyota, as well as the increased media scrutiny, Transportation Canada issued a public warning and best practice guide for floor mats in all vehicles. During their investigation of unintended acceleration they frequently found that the problem relates to some interference between the vehicle floor mats and the pedals.
“Typically, the interference occurs when non-original equipment floor mats are used without properly being retained to the vehicle floor. The floor mat can then move under the driver’s feet and become lodged either between the pedals, on top of the pedals or under the pedals. Another common problem occurs when consumers install multiple floor mats on top of each other, reducing the clearance between the vehicle floor and the pedals.” Transportation Canada
What to watch for
If you have installed your own third-party floor mats, make sure they cannot move while in use. Women in high heels and men in heeled work boots are likely causes of moving floor mats. Also, if you tend to install rubber mats in the winter, be sure to first remove the original fabric mats so that you leave enough clearance for your pedals to fully depress without contact. Lastly, just like the photo above, be sure to lock your mats in place using the floor mat locks that came with your vehicle. When you purchase any new mats in the future, make sure they have matching holes for your exact vehicle make and model.
It is always better safe than sorry. If you need new floor mats but are having trouble sourcing ones for your manufacturer, please let us know. We can contact your dealer and get you exactly what you need.