The rule is simple. I call it 211. It’s not a perfect acronym, but it helps me remember.
- Best Case: Order a containment mat that is at least 2′ longer and 2′ wider than your car.
- Acceptable: Order a containment mat that is at least 2′ longer than your car and 1′ wider than your car.
- Minimum: Its going to be tighter. If you have snow on your roof or hood that slides off, I can guarantee you some is going to overshoot the mat. Order a containment mat that is 1′ longer and 1′ wider than your car.
So lets use an example. If you search the word dimensions and your vehicle name, for example Dimensions 2012 Honda Civic you will come up with a list of sites that may have that information. For this example I will use the Edmunds.com results because I know they give the information I want. They list this vehicle at 5’9″ wide and 14′ 7.5″ long. Note: Use exterior dimensions, not wheel base.
If I have the room, the best case scenario would be to use a mat at least 7’9″ wide and at least 16’7.5″ long. For example, either of the two stock AutoFloorGuard products would work great. I could also get by with the narrower products on the market that measure 7.5′ wide — technically I could go narrower but they are not readily available. Using the formula above, I would never go less than 15’7.5″ long or about 16′
To put this in perspective, you need to look at the size of a typical parking spot. According to the Code in various places, they range from 7.5′ for compact cars all the way to 10 feet wide. Most are about 18′ long, depending on the applicable code.
So for ease of parking, parking space sizes offer a good guideline. Of course your garage is a little different so you have some flexibility. But another consideration is the height of your vehicle and where the snow might go if it slides off. Your goal is to keep it on the mat. We find that 2′ in the length will do just that. The width is still important but not as much.
Not to state the obvious, but you need to consider your garage as well. I drive a Suburban. I have to park as close to the rear wall of my garage as possible just to get the door to shut. I have to sacrifice on the length of the mat, otherwise it won’t fit in my garage. A containment mat in my garage would be a maximum of 2″ longer than my car. It is far from ideal, but it is what it is.