Truck bed mats look so simple that they appear to be worth little. After all, we’re just talking about a thick rubber piece or at most a carpet liner with a rubber backing. What would you need that for and especially if you already have an expensive spray on liner in place. Well, maybe there’s more here than meets the eye.
- Smash Protection
Mats of rubber cannot be beat for protection from impact damage. That means slamming stuff into the pickup bed, accidentally or on purpose, will nearly never cause any damage at all under the mats. That’s because this thick, tough rubber not only absorbs the energy of impact, it spreads it to a wider area making damage even less likely. Think what that can do not only for a truck bed itself but also for an expensive liner under that lowly mat!
Another option for protecting from dents is one of those plastic drop in bed liners. Much more expensive than mats, plastic liners give up several advantages as well. For spray on bedliner, plastic liners aren’t the easy-in and easy-out protection that you get with mats.
- Slip Sliding Away?
Load shifting makes for plenty of trouble. There’s the potential for harm to the load itself for one. Then don’t ever forget about how slipped loads can ruin the bed sides, front and tailgate as well. To say nothing of the danger to driver and passenger. No, sliding, slipping cargo does no good.
Rubber in mats keeps everything situated better. That’s because it’s made to be non-skid. Most of this material includes cords in strands to produce a tougher mat but it also increases friction between load and mat.
Again, plastic liners though offering great dent protection do nothing to stop sliding and may make it worse.
- Then There Are Nasty Liquids
Few solvents or chemicals harm these “rubber” materials that make up mats. Maybe that would never be a factor for the way you use a truck. But folks that handle old car engines or many kinds of equipment know about messy loads and those accidental messes. Even just being able to drag out a nasty mat and clean it in a proper place is worth something.
- Liners Protecting Liners
You can sacrifice a cheap mat and protect a permanent liner and keep it cleaner if nothing else. As for dents, spray on liners offer up to about a quarter inch of padding thickness. Even that may not stop some dents that could be inflicted upon your pickup bed. An extra layer of protection slipped in when you anticipate it may be needed, may be the elimination of expensive problems.
- Just In Time
Installing bed mats means roll it out and uninstalling one means roll it back up. Store it in the bed or out. It just makes a big, heavy roll, that’s all. Heavy weight, the mats like mine in a full size pickup weigh in at about 60 to 70 pounds.
One way to use one is to leave it out except when you know you will need it and then slip it in as protection for the bed or liner.