Cargo liners are an automobile accessory most often used in the bed of pickups and in vehicles with interior cargo areas, such as SUVs, station wagons, hatchbacks and crossovers. Cargo liners for pickup truck beds are usually made of heavy-duty all-weather materials such as plastic or rubber. Spray-on bed liners are also growing in popularity for pickup truck owners. Liners for vehicles with interior cargo areas are generally made of carpet, plastic, or rubber.
Most car owners install cargo liners to protect their vehicle. Items carried in the bed area of a pickup truck can cause damage to the paint and finish as they shift during transit. When the paint and finish is removed, the metal of the vehicle is exposed to the elements, which can cause expensive rust and corrosion damage.
A drop-in cargo liner is designed to fit on top of the cargo bed and acts as a barrier between the bed of the pickup and the items being carried. If any damage occurs it will be on the cargo liner itself and not on the vehicle. Drop-in cargo liners have the advantage of not being permanently installed, so an owner can choose to remove it at any time. Some disadvantages of a drop-in liner are the risk that the liner itself can damage the vehicle underneath and the liner can increase wind resistance and wind noise, and even fly off if not installed properly.
Spray-on bed liners are sprayed onto the surface of the bed itself and bond directly with the vehicle's surface, almost like paint, to provide the protection. Because it becomes a part of the surface, the spray-on liner does not have the risk of increased wind resistance, wind noise and of flying off. Some disadvantages are that it does become a permanent part of the vehicle's surface and once applied, cannot be removed. In addition, the quality of the protection afforded by the liner is dependent on the quality of the personnel performing the work. The truck owner considering the spray-on cargo liner should do extensive research to find a reputable and quality contractor.
In vehicles with interior cargo areas, a cargo liner is much like a large mat that sits on top of the existing floor of the cargo area. Cargo liners can enhance the aesthetics of the cargo area and protect the vehicle interior from damage due to items stored in the cargo area. Cargo liners are also used to prevent the likelihood of items skidding or moving during transit. For this purpose, they are often made of rubber or similar non-skid materials.
Exterior and interior drop-in cargo liners can be found at most large automotive parts stores and specialty retailers on the internet. They are designed to fit in the specific bed or cargo area of a vehicle, so buyers should take the time to make sure that the liner they are purchasing is the right one for their car or truck. Automotive dealerships also sell cargo liners and interior carpet mats especially designed for the cars they sell. The added benefit for some vehicle owners is that many of these items will have the logo and/or name of the specific vehicle it is made for.