The rocker panel adds both visual appeal and safety support to the vehicle. In the past, larger vehicles bend in the middle when a front end collision is encountered. But after the 1940s, the car engineers have put the rocker panels as an additional support to the structure of the vehicle, preventing it from crumpling in collisions. They are found between the wheel wells on both sides of the vehicle. And as they are not located under the carpet or leather lines in the interior but mostly in the external area, they have a shiny, polished look for added aesthetic value. But as time and use wear the part, the rocker panels need to be replaced sooner or later. Here's a simple guide for you to follow in removing the old ones and installing new ones. The whole process takes around 45 minutes.
If your car came with factory rocker panels, remove them and clean the area. Use the adhesive cleaner to clear out all the remaining adhesives from the old panels. Then use the rubbing alcohol to wipe the areas clear of any lingering dust. Unlike other cleaning agents, the alcohol dries up quickly without the need to wash it off, so it is ideal for this preparation process.
Lay the rocker panels on the sides of the vehicle and make sure they match the correct sides. Then carefully peel off the plastic backing and go one section at a time. Make sure the panels are perfectly aligned on the area before you stick them, because the adhesives are very powerful.
Once the whole rocker panel is in its place, use the rubber roller and press firmly. This is to attach it firmly and eliminate air pockets so as to prevent the rocker panel from falling off easily.
When installing the rocker panels, make sure you have your car cooled down and that you are in a cool, shady area. This is because the ideal temperature is 65 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit for best results with the adhesives.
Rocker panels add greatly to the overall look of the vehicle, especially with their high grade mirror polished attribute. Aside from this, they also feature some safety and protective enhancements. But with regular use, the rocker panels also get exposed to all sorts of environments as you go about your daily driving. As a result, they lose their appeal and get corroded after a time. When it is time to get new rocker panels for your car, you will have to consider a number of factors to help you decide what is best. Here is a simple guide to help you out:
Aluminum versus metal: this has always been a popular comparison issue when it comes to choosing which is stronger. QMI only offers stainless steel rocker panels, while with Willmore, you have the option to choose between stainless steel and aluminum. The difference in strength between the two materials is very little, but when it comes to stiffness that means that it does not flex, the aluminum wins the battle. This helps support the structure of your vehicle when a collision is underway.
Willmore is priced 75 USD to 210 USD, including discounts and promos. On the other hand, QMI sells for 144 USD up to 203 USD. Willmore offers a better value for your money than QMI when it comes to product cost.
Willmore rocker panels are covered with a one-year Willmore Manufacturing limited warranty. Equally, QMI's rocker panels come with a one-year QMI limited warranty.
Winner: Willmore and QMI
Installing Willmore rocker panels onto your ride is an easy task. This is because it already includes 3M adhesive backing for a more secure fit. In the same way, the QMI also already comes with a 3M manufacturer-approved double-sided tape for safe and easy installation. With both brands, drilling, cutting, and tools are absolutely unnecessary.
Winner: Willmore and QMI
Putting all the aspects together, the Willmore rocker panels seem to rock and roll slightly better than their QMI counterparts. But at the end of the day, you may have other factors you wish to consider. And that may yield a totally different verdict.
A fully functional rocker panel helps protect your auto's undercarriage from mud, rocks, and other kinds of road debris. With constant exposure to these damaging particles, the rocker panel may rust or corrode over time. In case you need to replace a damaged rocker panel or install a new one, here is a quick and easy five-step guide to help you go about the task. The whole DIY installation process should take less than an hour to finish.
Locking pliers or small clamps
Removing the fenders first should help make the installation job easier because this will give you more room to work. Once done, cut off the old rocker panel and make sure that a large amount of the part is grinded off. This should help you fit the new rocker panel more tightly if grinding the panel welds does not help in the removal of the damaged part.
You might also want to check the auto's underside for rust damage. Luckily, you may simply clean the rusting area using acetone and a rag. Make sure to clean the parts near the fender and the cab to prevent premature wear.
Once the area for installation is cleaned, put the new rocker panel in place. If the previous steps were done properly, the part should fit snugly in place. Once in place, secure the part with locking pliers or small clamps. Some rocker panel types come with an adhesive. These types are easier to install than other types because they would only need a roller to be firmly set in place.
The old spot welds from the previous rocker panel should help you guide in welding the new rocker panel in place. Simply use an MIG welder for this procedure.
With the use of a metal grinder, grind off any excess metal from the part's spot welding so the part will look good as new. Once done, the new part should be good to go.
Since a rocker panel is located at the side of the car and in between two wheel wells, it is highly exposed to dirt, mud, and other road debris. With constant exposure to these damaging elements, a wise driver must choose the right rocker panel type to prevent the part's premature wear and tear. Both the Willmore Manufacturing and Smittybilt brands claim to engineer the best rocker panels available in the market. If you don't exactly know what to look and what to avoid for, then here's a quick one-on-one battle between the two leading manufacturers of rocker panels today:
Although both brands come with an easy installation feature, Willmore Manufacturing ends up as the winner since they offer parts that require no drilling. Both brand types actually require only less than an hour to complete installation. But unlike most rocker panels offered by Smiittybilt, Willmore parts are more convenient and trouble-free to install because of an adhesive backing.
WINNER: Willmore Manufacturing
Both brands were subjected to corrosion tests, and it turned out that both stainless steel rocker panel types of Willmore Manufacturing and Smittybilt are quite resistant to rust and corrosion. Willmore's set of rocker panels offer a strong protection against rusting, chipping, and peeling while Smittybilt's hand-crafted steel tubing is precisely engineered for off-road performance. It's a win-win situation for both brands when it comes to strength and durability.
WINNER: Willmore Manufacturing and Smittybilt
For car owners seeking cheap yet fully functional rocker panels, the Willmore Manufacturing brand might be a good choice. The brand averages around 100 to 250 USD, which is less expensive compared to Smittybilt's 200 to 300 USD price average.
WINNER: Willmore Manufacturing
Both brands are excellent at their craft, but when push comes to shove and you need to choose just one of the two manufacturers, then Willmore Manufacturing is a better option. Despite its highly-durable quality, the brand is also more affordable compared to other brand names. In fact, most rocker panel parts from Willmore come with a trouble-free installation because of adhesive backing.