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    Alternative to New Car?

    Has anyone re-upholstered an old car to give a new car smell, look and feel inside?

    I am debating doing this to my wife's Matrix. It's 3.5 years old and only has 28,000 miles on it.

    But with the kids (2 boys) pounding it, the inside carpet is really beat, along with the seats having stains (basically ground-in dirt).

    What is the average cost? (I'm sure it's less than a new car, ha, ha). Has anyone done this before? I'd like to go a little more than those cheesey sheep skin covers.

    I have been disappointed in the whole service of steam cleaning. We did our house carpets and it looks clean for a day and basically the stains come right back. But maybe that would be another thought.

    I may "inherit" this car in 3-6 months when we prepare for the arrival of Baby Surprise as we will probably go for a minivan.

    When I get it, I'd like to buckle down and own it for a few years and be happy with it.

    #2
    I have stripped cars to the bare metal and rebuilt from scratch.


    I think redoing your upholstery is the best idea on an old car. There is a lot of mold and mildew stuck under the carpet, but for an 02-03 model, I'm not sure if it's worth it.

    If you still insist on it, redoing the carpet isn't bad. I imagine that a new factory carpet will fit best, but will cost you a lot of money. I don't know if you have side airbags in the seats. If you do, it's best that you let the dealer reupholster the seats.

    I DO NOT, repeat DO NOT recommend steam cleaning your car's carpet. There is a lot of electrical parts that you can easily damage. If you insist on doing it, at least remove the carpet from the car first.

    Can you take a couple of pictures?


    I would recommend calling a local upholstery shop and see what they charge. If you have side airbags, let the dealer remove the seats and reline it. While the seat is out, you can have an upholstery shop strip the car and redo the carpet.

    Most dealers usually outsource this type of work to an upholstery shop any way. Call your local Toyota dealer and find out.

    If you're mechanically competent, it's actually quite simple to remove the carpet. You just unbolt the seats and center console. I don't know about the Matrix, but if you don't have to remove the dash it's pretty easy.


    As an alternative, if you can sell it and buy a smaller car like one of those Civics I always talk about, you'll save a little bit of money.

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      #3
      Why is it not worth it? Do you suggest just buying a newer used car? Or same used car but in better condition? How do you value the worth?
      LivingAlmostLarge Blog

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by LivingAlmostLarge View Post
        Why is it not worth it? Do you suggest just buying a newer used car? Or same used car but in better condition? How do you value the worth?
        It's not worth replacing the interior because 3-4 years may not be enough time to accumulate to represent a health concern. The rest may just be cosmetic.

        It will cost a lot of labour if you paid someone to do it. If you're mechanically inclined you can do it yourself, but from his post it sounds like he'll struggle and most likely break something (no disrespect).

        I think the car still has some value left in it, provided his kids haven't completely wrecked the interior. It may be better to sell it now and get a cheaper car than to hang on to it for a few more years, then get another car after that.

        Comment


          #5
          Will a interior detail not be good enough? Is it just in bad shape?

          Why get a cheaper car?
          LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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            #6
            I'm mechanically disinclined.

            So what would you orrecommend?

            So shampooing is out.

            It does not have side airbags - it has a side impact bar.

            A Matrix is a small car so trading to a civic doesn't really makes sense. It's like trading a MacIntosh apple for a Red Delicious. Plus, at 28K miles and 3.5 years old, it's a virtual creampuff.

            The kids haven't completely wrecked it; there's just ground-in dirt and stuff. No rips.

            EDIT: Let me describe S. Jersey "car dirt" - it's a mixture of clay and sand and it's hard to get out that clay color that's in the black carpet.
            Last edited by Scanner; 11-01-2007, 02:02 PM. Reason: describing dirt

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Scanner View Post
              I'm mechanically disinclined.

              So what would you orrecommend?

              So shampooing is out.

              It does not have side airbags - it has a side impact bar.

              A Matrix is a small car so trading to a civic doesn't really makes sense. It's like trading a MacIntosh apple for a Red Delicious. Plus, at 28K miles and 3.5 years old, it's a virtual creampuff.

              The kids haven't completely wrecked it; there's just ground-in dirt and stuff. No rips.

              EDIT: Let me describe S. Jersey "car dirt" - it's a mixture of clay and sand and it's hard to get out that clay color that's in the black carpet.
              The Matrix is classified as a compact while a pre-01 Civic is considered to be a subcompact. Book value for the Matrix is significant higher as well because Toyota products hold their value really well.

              I was just making a suggestion. You don't have to sell it if you don't want to. In the end you can save probably up to $6-8k if you bought a 96-00 Civic CX/DX/LX/VP, but you don't have to if you don't want to.

              If you're still set on keeping it, why don't you take it to a good upholstery place and see what they can do?


              If you're local I'd show you how. It's fairly easy if you take your time.

              Comment


                #8
                I would do the upholstery route. since it is only 3.5 years old has a lot of more years ahead of it.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'd say go with seat covers. Please please please don't think I'm suggesting your kids are like dogs, but on "Pet Edge" (PetEdge.com Wholesale prices on exclusive dog grooming and pet supplies) you can find several designs and styles of washable seat covers at really reasonable prices. They have a camoflauge design that I'm thinking little boys might think is cool. You might have to cut some holes for the seat belts. You could probably also make your own seat cover out of just about anything, such as a blanket. You'd just have to sew on some elastic loops and cut some holes for the seat belts.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I would rent a rug doctor or use a home stema machine to get the stains out of the searts and do the best you can with the carpets. Then I'd park it in the sun with the windows down for a couple days so it could really get dried out.

                    THEN I would get neoprene seat covers and some new cheapy floor mats from wal-mart- get several sets. The when the kids get the floor mats filthy, toss em in the trash and put new ones down.

                    Seriously, unless the kids are NEVER going to be in the car ever again, you are fighting a losing battle. Clean up the best you can and then cover it up so they can't make the filth any worse.

                    just another thought is to try going to one of those car wash places( the fancy ones) that do different levels of detailing, and talk with them about getting out the stains. It cost a couple hundred bucks, but those places really can do wonders. Then, again, put neoprene seat covers on, and floor mats after th extreme detailing.

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                      #11
                      I've got another idea...
                      Check a wrecking yard for a price on seats out of a wreck. You may be pleasantly suprised.. You may get leather seats (if the higher models had them) and seats are very easy to change. 4 bolts usually for each front seat. The rear seat lower cushion usually snaps in and the rear seat back usually has two bolts which are hidden when the bottom cushion is in. Probably only slightly more complicated if the car is a hatchback for the rear seat.

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                        #12
                        BTW
                        In my car..... no snacks for kids.
                        In mommy's car......it's a free for all. But it's got leather seats

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                          #13
                          Great ideas on the seats, people!

                          As for the carpet - IIRC you said the carpet is black (boy, you don't know how lucky you are) and it's red clay that's ground in there. Assuming that you've already taken a stiff brush to the carpet to loosen any more clay/dirt and have vacuumed out as much as you possibly could, I would then - don't laugh - take black liquid shoe polish and go over any areas that need a dye job. Use the stiff brush to help work the color down into the fibers by rubbing it around.

                          If your wife dyes her own hair get her to help you since the process of systematically covering hair with color would be similar to doing a good job on the carpeting.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            IMO, if you will have kids in the car and not clients, than don't pay to redo it, they will just redo their dirt...and no amount of outlawed eating will help, kids shoes get muddy!

                            A detailing might actually reduce the damage significantly, I can't say never tried. But new oh phooey, what do you call those things for the feet...floor mats! will cover up the dirt, and let any new dirt be on a removable surface .

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Most cars today allow for the seats to come out fairly easy and the seat cushions probably unzip. You should be able to reomve the seats and the carpet fairly quickly. Steam clean them like crazy, they should come pretty clean with a good steam cleaner. If your floors are the main concern, get some floor mats, they are CHEAP in comparison to replacing the carpet. Just my two cents.

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