Introduction: (replacement) Carpet for Your Car or Truck

I have an 84 Toyota pickup. Over time, the place where my feet (as driver) got old and chewed up. I needed to replace that area with something.

I used the same technique that I used for my 59 VW bug when I was a teenager. Because I was completely rebuilding the bug, I was pretty fancy. This time, I just did a quick and dirty job. The pickup is used to haul things, not be a fancy car.


  • Jute-backed carpet - dumpster dive for large-enough scrap from office building construction
  • #10 or #12 sheet metal screws (phillips heads)
  • Pan-head washers (pictures at 11, I mean next step)
  • (plan on 10 for each carpet piece, plus a few extra)

Note you can get new carpet as a cheap roll-end at most carpet places. A good way to go if you care about color and pattern, like I did as a teen. If you are doing the entire car, get a carpet chunk the size of the car.


  • steel drill bit the right size (next step)
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • drill (variable speed the best_
  • phllips bit for the drill (optional)
  • utility knife with new blade
  • sharpie

Plan on an hour or more per piece, plus a couple of days for trim if you want fancy

Step 1: Prep the Area

I don't have "before" pictures for the truck.

However, the basics are:

  • cut out the damaged area
  • or, remove the old as best you can
  • Clean the areas of dirt and loose stuff
  • get the right carpet
  • cut the carpet to fit

You want a jute backed carpet. Pile is not important (mostly), but this is *not* the 70's - skip the shag

The office building I was in had new construction. I grabbed a 4x4 ft chunk of old carpet from the dumpster. The adhesive on the back was even and I didn't care.

I needed the carpet to be long enough to go up the firewall. I also needed it to come back far enough to the seat-mount bracket, and wide enough. Look at the pictures. I also cut the old part so there was about an inch or so overlap, so I would screw through the carpet and existing floor cover.

I also cut it to fit the wheel well - see the picture.

Draw your lines on the back of the carpet with the sharpie. Cut with the utility knife. The jute backing should be pretty square, so you can use the backing as a good grid to cut square corners.

This is where I was fancy for the Bug. I cut all of the pieces and wrote where they would be on the back of the carpet pieces. I took them down to a car interior shop and had them professionally trimmed with Naugahyde.

First talk to the shop. Find out if you need to trim the carpet a bit smaller to account for the edging (this might be 1/4-inch smaller).

I skipped the trim for the pickup.

Step 2: Attaching the Carpet

You need to goto the hardware store for washers and sheet metal screws.

I used flat-heads, but if you want to be fancy, you need countersunk pan-heads. These are like what I used as a teen.

You want the fancy washer like in the picture.

I used #8 screws, but I broke a lot of screw bits. Better are:

  • #10, use a 9/64" drill bit
  • #12, use a 5/32" drill bit


If you are new to this sort of thing - sheet metal screws - you need to first drill a pilot hole. I would suggest getting the #12 screws, and the 5/32 steel drill bit for the pilot hole

IMPORTANT: You want screws that are long enough but not too long. 1-inch worked well for me. You might want to get a few 1-1/4-inch just in case. You don't want a bunch of sharp screws poking a lng way out of the bottom of the car. (You can later cut the screws short once the car is on a lift or jacked up and blocked.)

If you are doing the entire car, get a box of screws and a box of the washers. Should be 100 per box. You get a good price break on quantity. Also a bitch to run out when you are 3 screws from finishing.


  • put a piece of painters tape down. This helps you to find the hole once drilled.
  • Drill through the tape. If you are careful, you can avoid getting the carpet caught up. You may need to use a pick, punch and enlarge the carpet hole, then mark where to drill on the sheet metal. Avoid drilling through welds - very hard to drill and screw in the screw
  • Continue drilling through the sheet metal
  • Put the screw and washer through the hole. You might need a screwdriver to help find the hole and get the screw started
    • sometimes helps to put the screw though the hole in the carpet, then line up the screw with the hole
    • practice helps perfect your technique
  • Once the screw is in the hole and a couple of solid turns, remove the tape
  • Screw the screw down solid. Use a screwdriver (best) or power drill + bit (can twist the screw too much and break)

Repeat for the edges and a couple in the middle. 6..8-in apart around the edges seemed "about right".

Make sure the carpet is straight when you put in the first two - they are critical for a neat job.

Step 3: Finish

I didn't care about the edges - they are fine. I did take up the door molding for cleaning, and it was easy to have the left edge of the carpet to hide the left edge of the carpet.