Are the scratches and dents on your vehicle's doors becoming too many to ignore? Don't worry; replacing the entire door isn't your only option. Since the damage may be limited only to the door's surface, you could opt to replace just the door shell.The door shell is a sheet of metal that makes up part of your vehicle's exterior, and to which the interior door panel is attached. Since the door's shell forms a major part of your vehicle's exterior, it's only natural for the shell to accumulate signs of wear and tear.But there are steps you can take to make sure the shell looks and stays its best for a long time. You can apply wax and protectants on the shell's surface, to prevent mud and water from fading the finish too soon.If the damage is too severe to repair, though, you can trust Carparts. We have an extensive line of door shells custom-designed for your vehicle model.
• Indispensable part of your vehicle's doors
• Can be custom-painted to match your vehicle's paint job
• Built to provide sufficient support to the door panels
Door Shell Buyer's Guide
The door shell makes up the exterior part of the door and the door frame combined. It’s often confused with door skins but the difference is that skins are a layer of metal that’s welded or fastened to the door shell itself.
You have to consider a lot of factors before buying a replacement door shell. You have to assess the damage first and consider the availability of the part you need. Also, you need to make sure that the replacement shell has all the holes and moldings that correspond with your old one.
OE replacement door shells will save you a lot of time, money, and effort.
Here at CarParts.com, we have OE replacement door shells that are high-quality but won’t break your bank. Get yours now for anywhere between $94- $1,026. Just use our vehicle selector tool to type in the correct year, make, and model of your vehicle.
A vehicle’s doors make up most of its exterior. They’re access points that let you exit and enter your vehicle. They also contain important components like locks and window components. They’re also susceptible to damage—via corrosion or collisions.
When your door suffers collision or corrosion damage, you’ll need to replace some major parts of it. How will you know which part of your door needs replacing? Do you need to replace just the skin or the entire shell? How do you shop for a good replacement shell or skin? This guide will answer your questions and more, so read on.
What is a door shell?
The door shell makes up the exterior part of the door and the door frame combined. This is where the interior door panel is attached. The door panel covers up the interior parts of the door on the passenger cabin side of it. This means that the shell holds up most of the components of your car door. These components include the window mechanism, locks, latches, hinges, etc.
They’re made from steel which makes them really sturdy and durable. When you buy a replacement door shell, they usually come with a layer of primer so you can paint it to match your entire vehicle. These shells are usually shipped with the door skin already welded in place. People still get these two parts confused but as you’ll see below, they’re quite different.
Door shells need to be replaced when the door itself has been considerably damaged. Typically, doors suffer from scratches and other light damage like dents and paint chipping. These problems can be addressed with a new paint job or a new car door skin. However, sometimes the damage can go deeper and that’s when you need to replace your door shell.
Before you consider replacing your entire door, it’s advised to disassemble it first so you can see the extent of the damage. Replacement shells are made to match the stock ones, so you won’t have much of a problem when it comes to fit. On the other hand, if you wish to just make some aesthetic changes, replacing door shells or skins will really make your car look new.
Door skins vs door shells
There’s a lot of confusion between door skins and door shells. How exactly do they differ? What should you opt for if your car door gets damaged? As mentioned above, shells are made up of the exterior and the frame of the door itself. The shell is made by robots and welded with high precision. Once out of the box, they require minimal corrective work and less labor.
On the other hand, the skin is the metal outer layer that’s fixed to the outside of the frame and protects the exterior of the door. Shells usually come with the skin fastened already via adhesives, brazing, or welding. Skins used to be attached exclusively via welding but high-grade adhesives have been developed to make them easier to install. Door skins are also less expensive to install.
When the door skin is damaged, it’ll need to be replaced. Corrosion is the door skin’s greatest enemy. Sometimes, the seal that fastens the skin to the frame might come loose and allow moisture, water, and other debris to penetrate inside the door. Rust damage is sometimes limited to the skin, however, other kinds of damage can extend into the shell. When it does, it might be time fordoor shell repair or replacement.
How to buy a door shell for your vehicle
A car door shell should be able to withstand constant use. It should also be strong enough to protect the people and/or cargo inside the passenger cabin from low-impact collisions. Aside from these, there are also other important factors you need to consider before buying a replacement shell.
The extent of damage to your old door
First, you have to make sure that the damage to your existing door warrants a door shell replacement. By disassembling the door, you can assess the amount of damage on your door. For light scratches and dents, you might want to opt for a simple paint job. For deeper scratches and corrosion, you might need to replace the door skin. Anything beyond that and you should replace the shell itself.
Door shells made from high-grade galvanized steel are more durable and more resilient to corrosion. This kind of steel lasts longer and can withstand most weather conditions. Make sure you get a door shell that’s made to be compatible with the rest of your vehicle and strong enough to last you quite a while.
As mentioned above, shells are usually sold with the door skin already attached. However, you might want to double-check the availability of the door shell you need. That’s because some vehicles can only be serviced with a complete shell—that is, the door shell and the skin. On the other hand, there are vehicles that only have replacement skins available.
You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the features and details of your old car door before looking around for shell replacements. The moldings, holes, and other hardware (mirrors, door handles) from your old door should be compatible with those of your new shell. This can save you a lot in corrective work.
Get a replacement shell that’s already coated with primer. This should make it easier for you to match the color of the replacement shell with the rest of your vehicle. Also, it will save you some money for paint jobs.
OE replacement door shells vs OEM parts
OEM parts are really expensive because they’re made by authorized manufacturers and distributors. If you’re planning to replace your door shell, it’s going to cost you quite a lot. Also, you’ll have to drive to the nearest authorized merchant just to get a new door shell.
However, if you opt for an OE replacement, you can get the part that you need for so much less. In addition, OE replacement parts match or even exceed the quality of OEM parts. You also get more variety if you choose to go with OE replacement parts.
How much is an OE replacement door shell?
An OE replacement part can cost you anywhere from $94- $1,026. You can get door shells already with a coat of primer. You can also get replacement shells that match the hardware and features of your old car door.
Here on CarParts.com, we make sure that we have a wide selection of replacement parts that can help you cut back on your car door shell replacement cost. If you have your vehicle’s year, make, and model, you can easily search our website now for a great deal on OE replacement door shells.
Sport a New Door Shell in Six Easy Steps
Maintain that stylish-looking ride with a replacement door shell that is a perfect match to your original compartment. Dents, scratches, or bends-whatever imperfection that may have scarred your door can be easily treated with a good-fitting door shell. Find that tool now and install it in six easy steps.
Required skill level: Intermediate
- Trim panel removal tool or screwdriver
- Small piece of wood
- Safety gear
Gearing up for the installation
Always observe safety precautions while working on your automobile. Wearing safety glasses, latex gloves, closed-toe shoes, and other personal protective equipment is highly advised.
Keeping the salvageable lot
After properly prepping up for the task, identify the damaged door. Use the jack to support the door throughout the adjustment. The small piece of wood can be used to help prop it open in the absence of an assistant. Start off the installation by detaching the parts and the interior panel. For a quick and easy job, use a trim panel removal tool or a pocket screwdriver and start with the door handle and door levers first. Work on the armrest and window next. Unfasten other reusable hardware too, as a new door shell doesn't usually come with door parts like the lock mechanism, speakers, side mirror, and regulator.
Securing the wirings
Be sure to disconnect the electronic harnesses and other wirings that still connect the old door shell to the door and door panel. Remove the rubber grommets also, as these can be used in the new door shell as well.
Removing the damaged door
Detach the affected door by opening it wide and unfastening completely the bolts for the two hinges. We recommend that you leave the hinges attached to the door's frame, but loosen them a bit. This will ease the realignment of the new door shell later.
Installing the new door shell
Check if you have the right replacement for your old door shell. Take note of the size and alignment of the new one by mounting it on the still attached hinges. Loosen or tighten the bolts, according to the alignment of the new shell. Make sure the bolts are not over-adjusted, so the door can still open and shut completely without scratching further your car's body. Having equal gaps around it is also suggested.
Mounting the interior panel
Once the new door shell has already been aligned and installed, proceed with reassembling the interior components you removed earlier. Check each part (i.e., lock, speakers, etc.) first before mounting them back to the panel.
Choosing the Right Door Shell for Your Ride
You've banged up your door pretty hard and you've been planning to replace it. But instead of replacing your entire door, why not just shop for a new door shell? A door shell is the exterior part of your door and replacing it can give your car an instant makeover. But choosing the right shell isn't just about picking one out and getting it over with. There are a few things you have to remember when buying new door shells, such as its fit, quality, and durability.
- Do get a door shell that comes with all the right moldings and holes. This will ensure that all your existing hardware, such as mirrors and door handles, will fit easily and perfectly with your replacement door shell. The make and model of your car will determine what kind of shell it needs. So be sure to let your parts supplier or dealer know beforehand.
- Make sure that your door shell is made of high-grade galvanized steel to give you a more durable door. This kind of material is more resilient to corrosion, making it last longer and able to withstand all kinds of weather conditions. Since the shell acts as a part of your car's exterior protection, you should be able to get one that will not rust or deteriorate easily.
- Get a new door shell that is already coated with a layer of primer paint. You wouldn't want to get a door shell that stands out and screams
I'm a replacement because of its different color. Getting a new shell that is already primered lessens the time it takes to paint over it and to make it match with the door panels and the rest of your car.
- Don't shop blindly. This basically means that you should know all the details before shopping for a door shell. Although knowing the location of the banged up door shell is already a given, it is still important to get the specifics of your old door shell before shopping. This will save you a great deal of time and money when you already know what the part looks like. Observe your old door shell well. Know which moldings it has and where they are located. As a guide, take note of which side you're installing the new door shell and compare it with the orientation of the replacement part.
- Don't purchase aftermarket products. Just like with any other part, buying an OE replacement door shell is the best way to go. You are guaranteed that your replacement part is of high quality and is the perfect fit. This will also save you time in installing the new shell to your door panel since you don't have to go through minor adjustments just to make everything fit.
- Don't settle for a door shell without a guarantee. The standard for this kind of auto part is for a period of one year with unlimited mileage. By purchasing a door shell that is backed by an adequate warranty clause, you get more value out of your money. So if ever the door shell does not fit or does not perform as expected, you don't have to spend more money that you already have.
Installing a New Door Shell
Has your car door seen better days? Are you tired of the annoying scratches and bumps found on its surface? Do you miss seeing its former dent-free glory? Then don't let your fear of DIYing your door shell stop you from having a sleeker ride. Installing a new shell isn't as hard as it looks. With a few tools and this step-by-step guide, you can transform the surface of your car door and make it look new again.
Difficulty level: Easy to moderate
Tools you'll need:
- Safety glasses
- Closed-toe shoes
- Screwdriver or trim panel removal tool
- New door shell
Step 1: Before you start removing your dented door shell, be sure that you are wearing proper safety gear. Always wear your safety glasses and/or closed-toe shoes to keep you protected while working on your vehicle.
Step 2: Now that you've geared up for this installation job, locate your damaged door.
Step 3: Remove the door's interior panel by starting with the armrest and the window. Simply pry them off to release them from the frame. Using an interior trim tool or screwdriver, you then unfasten and pull out the lock switches and door handles.
Step 4: Since new door shells don't usually come with hardware, put aside all salvageable parts from the door, including the side mirror, window glass and its entire system, door lock mechanism, and speakers. This will be reinstalled together with your new door shell.
Step 5: Disconnect the electronic wiring harness from the door. Be sure that you also pull out other harnesses that may connect your old door shell to the door and door panel.
Step 6: Remove the rubber grommets and put them aside. Completely pull out the door panel from the old door shell.
Step 7: It's now time to remove the door shell from the rest of your vehicle. With the help of an assistant, open the door and hold it in position. Remove it from the frame mounted hinges with the use of a wrench. Remember to leave the hinges attached to your car's frame. This will help you with realigning the new door shell later on.
Step 8: Install the new door shell by mounting it to the attached hinges. Be sure to check that the new door shell is of the same size to the old one and is properly aligned with the rest of your car's frame.
Step 9: Adjust the hinge bolts accordingly. Be careful not to over-loosen the bolts. It should be loose enough to get the door to open and close without the corners rubbing on the frame. This will help you estimate the alignment of the new door shell without damaging the rest of your car. Once you get the right adjustment and the door shell is properly aligned, tighten the bolts.
Step 10: Reassemble all interior components that were taken out during steps 3 and 4.
Step 11: Reinstall the interior door panel and all hardware components to the new door shell.
Step 12: Check all door accessories to ensure that everything is working properly.