Quick Tips in Buying Door Panels
A vehicle that's beautiful both inside and out-it's any automotive enthusiast's dream car. Even though there are many that would want to own such a car, a lot of people tend to focus only on one aspect when it comes to styling their cars-the exterior. Plenty of auto buffs tend to concentrate solely on the exterior since that's the part that other people can see. That's fine and all of course but the interior should get the some love too. Because after all, you're the one who spends a lot of time inside your car, right? You'd surely want something that looks good as well. One of the ways that you can stylize your interior is to get sleek door panels for your car.
Adding a Personal Touch
Even though the exterior features are the priority of a lot of car owners, door panels (automotive interiors in general) have received more attention during the recent years as the demand for more upscale styles grew. More and more people wanted to stylize, customize, and add a personal touch to their cars via door panels. This demand led to manufacturers offering more door panel variants. Today, you can find door panels that come in various colors and styles. They're also made of different materials such as plastic, wood, and metal.
What Door Panel Should You Get?
Well, only you can answer that question. Unless you merely want a replacement for your faded door panel, go for whatever tickles your fancy (as long as you can afford it, of course). Plastic door panels are the most common and the cheapest of the bunch. Wooden door panels are often used in luxury vehicles, so that may be what you're looking for if you really want to jazz up your interior. Sheet metal door panels are available as well if you prefer steel over other materials. Regardless of your choice, just make sure that the door panel you select would fit and is appropriate for that particular door (you wouldn't want to buy a door panel that's made for the passenger seat when it's the driver's side that you're looking to replace).
What we recommend though is to select from OEM door panels so that there won't be any issues with regard to installation. They'll surely prove to be worthwhile purchases as they're very durable as well.
Door Panel Buyer's Guide
- Door panels act as an interface separating your vehicle’s interior to the different components inside your vehicle door. It protects components such as wirings, door locks, and window mechanisms from being exposed.
- Typically, they can be made of different components such as molded plastic, fiberglass, and wood. Leather fabrics can also be used for intricate designs.
- A vehicle door panel replacement may cost you around $200 to $500. Make sure to consult your vehicle manual and your trusted mechanic before shopping for one.
- Your vehicle door panel can be damaged for a number of reasons including too much exposure to sunlight, water leaks and a lot more.
- Before cleaning your door panel, make sure to remove all materials stored inside the compartments. You may use a vacuum to remove dust and dirt.
The first thing anyone notices from outside the vehicle is its front fascia. However, if you are seated inside, it is all about the vehicle interior.
Most often, when we talk about enhancing the vehicle interior, the first few things that come to mind are car seats and carpets. But there is one important component of the interior that most people tend to miss. That is the vehicle door panel.
Apart from being part of the interior, there is more to door panels than just pure aesthetics.
What is a door panel and why is it important?
A door panel, sometimes called a door card, acts as an interface separating the interior of your vehicle to the different components hidden inside your vehicle door such as electrical wirings, window control mechanisms and door locks. Basically, it is the hard material that covers and protects your door’s mechanisms from being exposed.
Most door panels house the window switches. They may also contain armrests and open compartments for you to store the things you need. One interesting fact about door panels is that most of them are engineered to help reduce road noise, making your ride as comfortable as possible. Depending on your vehicle model, a door panel could be composed of several interior panels joined together or just one whole piece.
Although they are considered part of the door itself, door panels are expected to have a material theme that is similar to the rest of the vehicle’s interior. This will ensure that there is continuity in the look and feel of the inside of your vehicle.
What is a door panel made of?
Originally, door panels were made of cardboard. Its upholstered interior is typically made of vinyl, leather, cloth or carpet. These materials are also commonly used as upholstery for car seats. With the advent of technology and with fuel efficiency being one of the major benchmarks in choosing a vehicle, engineers are now more focused on incorporating lightweight materials such as door panels. Modern vehicle door panels are usually made with a combination of materials such as molded plastic, fiberglass, or wood.
Wooden panels are usually popular for luxury vehicles. Although the door panels are not entirely made of wood, wooden materials are incorporated into the design. Leather sheets and high-end fabrics may also be used to make intricate designs for door panels.
Finding the right fit for your vehicle
The size and shape of your door panel will greatly depend on your vehicle’s model. Door panels can be sold in sets of two or four. They may include passenger, driver, and rear door panels. Make sure to read your vehicle’s automotive manual before shopping for a replacement. Also, make sure that you enter the correct details of your vehicle in our search engine.
Although do-it-yourself custom door panels are becoming a thing, OE and OEM replacements are still the perfect hassle-free option. It will also ensure that your door panel fits perfectly in your car door. Having a loosely fitted door panel may pose danger to you and your passengers. It may also damage the inside of your car door. Although there are a lot of videos available on customizing and installing your door panel, make sure to consult your trusted mechanic before doing so.
What are the factors that can damage your door panel?
You might think that your door panel is durable enough to withstand anything. Besides, you and your passengers do not do anything out of the ordinary to damage them. Even if that is the case, there are still unavoidable factors that could cause your door panels to get worn out over time. Here are some of them:
One of the main culprits of any faded interior material is the Ultraviolet rays from sunlight exposure. Too much sun exposure can dry up materials such as vinyl and plastic. This will cause your vehicle’s interior door panel to fade and eventually split apart.
Frequently detaching your door panels for repair
There are a number of reasons why you will need to detach your door panel at one point. Repairing a worn-out window regulator, for example, would require the mechanic to detach your door panel. If you often do this, nylon clips along your perimeter may break off. Although this may not always be the case, it is important to check the condition of your door panel after attaching it again.
Water leaks from clogged drain holes can cause the panel to rot or bend. Make sure to minimize exposure to water especially in extreme weather conditions. This may also happen if your vehicle was submerged in water due to flooding.
This factor is common for trucks. The armrest attached in the door panel of a truck may be used to support people’s weight when climbing in and out of the vehicle. This may have a long-term effect on the integrity of the door panel itself.
It is easy to cover carpets with fittings or conceal shredded seats using seat covers but worn outdoor panels are not that easy to hide. Usually, a worn-out door panel will need replacement especially if there are major cracks or dents in it.
How can I properly maintain my door panel?
Just like any other interior component, the best way to maintain your door panels is through proper cleaning. In many vehicles, door panels are made using a combination of different materials. Keep in mind that the chemicals that you plan to use for cleaning your door panels should not harm those materials. Check the product label before applying it to your door panel.
You also have to keep in mind that most door panels have open compartments. Make sure to empty them before applying any chemicals or cleaners. You may also use a vacuum to remove unwanted dirt or dust.
How much does a door panel replacement cost?
The cost of a door panel replacement or door panel repair varies depending on the brand you choose and the number of doors that need repair or replacement. Typically, a set of two can cost you around $200 to $500.
How to remove and install a door panel
There are plenty of reasons why you may have to remove and install a door panel. The door handle may not be functioning properly. Your windows won't roll up or down. You may want to tint your window or replace altogether. Or you may simply want a more stylish door panel. Whatever the case may be, we'll guide you on how to remove your door panel and how to reinstall it (or how to install a new one).
- L Pick (for those who have windows that are manually operated by a crank)
Step 1: Park your vehicle on a level surface. Open the door you wish to work on afterwards.
Step 2: Inspect how your door panel is attached to the door. Some door panels can be easily removed because they are merely snapped-in while there are others that are kept in place via screws or bolts. Door panels are usually screwed or bolted along the bottom, around the arm rest, or near the door lights. Prepare the necessary tools depending on the type of door panel you have.
Step 3: Roll your windows down (if that's not the problem that you're looking to address). Start unbolting or unscrewing the door panel. If your door panel is merely snapped in, you can use a flathead screwdriver to pry it off from the door.
Step 4: If your vehicle's windows are manually operated, use an L pick to remove the clip that holds the crank.
If your car has power windows, remove its control panel. It should come off easily. After that, locate the wiring. Detach it from the back and place the wires to the side.
Step 5: Unscrew the door lever then pull the cover off. Unscrew the locks on the upper rear corner as well. If the lever and the lock are connected, you can remove them both by unclipping the rod from the lock.
Step 6: After you've unscrewed, unbolted, and disconnected everything, you can now detach the door panel. Gently pry it off so that you won't damage anything.
Step 7: Now that the door panel has been removed, fix whatever needs to be fixed.
Step 8: Once you're finished, you either re-install your old door panel or you put in a new one. Remember to reconnect all the wires that you removed earlier (if there were any) before installing the door panel. Some of the devices found on your door panel won't function if they aren't properly connected. Test the connection before securing the door panel in its place.
Step 9: Position the door panel back in place. Pand press it against the door. then re-sScrew and or re-bbolt back everything that you took out earlier.
Step 10: Again, test all the functions found in the door panel. If something doesn't work, check that particular area and fix it. You may have to take the doora panel off again in some cases.