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Cargo Liner Material | Is Vinyl Always Better Than Carpet?

Cargo liners made of carpeting offer different advantages from those made of vinyl. Here, we look at benefits of each material which you may not have considered.
Water Drops On Vinyl Liner

The cargo-carrying area of your car or truck deserves as much protection as the passenger floor area. To that end, there are a great number of cargo liners available for most vehicles, in your choice of material and color. They provide a number of advantages: they protect the factory material, provide an additional barrier when carrying items, and can coordinate with an existing set of floor mats.

Some may say that vinyl cargo liners are the best all-around choice for your car's trunk, or for the rear floor of your SUV. We agree that vinyl cargo liners do offer many advantages for those who carry materials which may create a mess. After all, vinyl liners are easy to clean with a hose, and they prevent any oily contaminants and spills from seeping through to vehicle floors beneath into spare tire wells - where surface rust can go unnoticed and get a foothold. Additionally, vinyl cargo liners won't develop odors or permanent crusty spots because a spill wasn't caught in time.

Yes, there are instances where vinyl cargo liners are a better choice than carpeted ones. That said, we would be remiss if we didn't revisit some of the advantages carpeted cargo liners have over vinyl ones. Simply put, there are users who will benefit more from carpeted cargo liners. In the scope of this article, we'll look at instances where carpeted ones simply add up to the best choice.

Cargo Liner In Use
Cargo Mat Retention Device

It's important to note that there are differences between "cargo liners" and "cargo mats". Regardless of what they're made of, a cargo liner provides complete floor coverage with a raised lip around some or all of its sides. Mats have little (if any) lips around the edges and may not cover 100% of the floor area. For more details, we recommend reading our related article What Are The Advantages In Using A Cargo Liner? In the interest of keeping things simple, we'll refer to both types of products here as "cargo liners".

Carpeted Cargo Liners Provide Better Cushioning

If you do not transport items that pose a threat to a carpeted cargo mat, you'll find many such mats which are more luxurious than the factory OEM carpeting. For example, the Lloyd Ultimat Custom Fit Cargo Mats and Luxe Custom Fit Cargo Mats offer soft, deep pile nylon yarn construction with rubber backing. The Luxe adds a thick layer of urethane padding underneath for cushioning.

One advantage is that breakable items you carry like antiques or glass are better protected. Shopping bags full of today's haul won't slide around on carpeting the way they would on vinyl, running the risk of spilling their contents.

Lloyd Luxe Carpeted Cargo Mat
The Lloyd Luxe carpeted Cargo Mat.
Padded Space
If you transport precious cargo more often than dirty materials, the padded protection of carpeted mats may be better for your needs.

Sound Insulation

Padded backings and looped fibers which make up carpeted mats are extremely effective when it comes to sound insulation, so high-frequency vibrations that travel up through the trunk floor will be blocked - and that sound we perceive as "road noise" will be reduced. So if your exhaust system tends to give you a headache on the highway, carpeted cargo liners will provide assistance in just the right places.

Vehicle Road Noise Scheme
Padded Surface
Padded backings and looped fibers that carpeted mats are made with absorb rear drivetrain and road noise.

Your vehicle came from the factory with sound-deadening material installed in various places to reduce undesirable noises which build up just from the act of driving the car. If you've modified or upgraded any vehicle drivetrain systems, you already know noise levels only increased afterward. Modifications or no modifications, every bit of sound insulation you can add to a vehicle increases the comfort and pleasure for drivers and passengers. When you consider that pure sound-deadening insulation material serves no secondary purpose for the weight it adds, you will realize that carpeted cargo liners also reduce noise levels, as well as adding doses of protection and attractiveness.

If you prefer carpeted cargo liners which are not as plush, check out the lighter-weight Lloyd nylon Velourtex Custom Fit Cargo Mats and polypropylene yarn Classic Loop Custom Fit Cargo Mats. Lund offers the Catch-All Cargo Liner which features a layer of thin, wear-resistant carpeting fitted over a molded vinyl tray that will completely block any spills from passing through.

Embroidered Lloyd Velourtex Custom Fit Cargo Mat
The Lloyd Velourtex Custom Fit Cargo Mats, as seen with optional embroidering.
Lloyd Berber 2 Custom Fit Cargo Mat
The Lloyd Berber 2 Custom Fit Cargo Mat features heavyweight, durable construction.

Should you prefer a carpeted liner that can stand up to heavy-duty use without becoming worn-looking, we've got the Lloyd Berber 2 Custom Fit Cargo Mat. Premium continuous filament nylon yarn will survive a pounding, and co-mixed yarn colors are purposely designed to hide dirt and stains.

Logos & Embroidering Are Available On Some Cargo Liners

Customization is an option just not available on the vast majority of vinyl cargo liners. If customized logos are something you'd enjoy having on a cargo liner, we've got a selection of carpeted ones that allow you to personalize yours.

Customized Logos / Embroidering Options

Lloyd offers this option on many of their carpeted cargo liners. A wide range of choices will be visible after the background carpeting color has been selected in the Product Options field.

On the top row of the selection box that appears, you'll see choices for popular automotive aftermarket equipment manufacturers as well as "Lifestyle" boxes that lead to other choices such as national flags, ocean front images, outdoor wildlife, American cultural logos, and cowboy theme images.

Automotive manufacturer logos are available for certain car brands only; note that Lloyd's ability to offer such logos is limited by licensing agreements.

Lloyd also makes it possible to create a personalized logo with up to ten characters on a first line and ten letters on a second one. As you type, an interactive display shows how the embroidered lettering would look on your liner once completed. Upper and lower case letters will be embroidered the same way they're entered here.

Carpeted Cargo Liners Are Correct Equipment For Classic Cars

Auto Custom Carpet Essex Fabric Trunk Mat
The Auto Custom Carpet Essex Fabric Trunk Mat.

If you're restoring a classic car, you'll find carpeted cargo mats may actually be the correct replacement item to keep things on point with originality. Because in many cases, that's just what was installed by the vehicle manufacturer on the assembly line. For the collector enthusiast, we've got the Auto Custom Carpets Standard Replacement Cargo Mat and Essex Replacement Cargo Mat that match the colors, carpeting type, thickness, and pattern print of original OEM ones.

Vinyl Cargo Liners

As mentioned earlier, vinyl cargo liners are completely impermeable to liquids and dirt. And cargo liners with channels or raised edges along the sides will do an extremely effective job of containing liquid spills while the vehicle is moving. They can be cleaned and de-greased without much effort, and they'll dry quickly without any possibility of mold or smell buildup. Modern advancements in materials ensure that vinyl cargo liners won't become hard and inflexible in low temperatures, nor develop surface stickiness in high temperatures.

Husky Liners WeatherBeater Cargo Liner
The Husky Liners WeatherBeater Cargo Liner.
Bestop Cargo Liner
The Bestop Cargo Liner.

In closing, we confidently respond to the question in the title of this article with an answer of "not always". Choosing between vinyl or carpet material for a cargo liner is a personal decision best made after deciding which set of benefits will give you the most long-lasting satisfaction and pride. Because even if no one else ever sees the inside of your trunk, you'll know it looks good - because the right cargo liner made it so easy to keep things that way!

MaxLiner MaxTray Cargo Liner
The MaxLiner MaxTray Cargo Liner.
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