Five Things to Consider When Choosing a Rocker Panel Guard for Your Vehicle
Rocker panel guards offer both form and function in any truck or SUV: aside from providing a decorative accent to the sides of the vehicle, the guard can also help protect against scratches caused by scraping against tree trunks, rocks, and other solid objects. These accessories are quite popular with the off-road community, and are readily available in most auto parts retailers and sellers online. In this guide, we will share with you some tips you can use when buying rocker panel guards for your vehicle.
One of the first things that you need to determine before buying a rocker panel guard is how big of a guard you want to have. Rocker panel guards come in a wide range of sizes, ranging from a thin strip of material that's one or two inches wide to panels that cover the corners of the side of the vehicle. Rocker panel guards custom-made for a specific vehicle make and model will also have a specific size to accommodate that vehicle's exact dimensions. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the rocker panel guard, the more protection it can provide but at the cost of having a higher price tag and longer installation time. Make sure to find a right balance when choosing the guards for your ride.
Pre-cut or universal
Another factor to consider when buying a rocker panel guard is whether to choose between pre-cut panel and a universal one. Universal panels can be mounted on most vehicles and can be trimmed down to size. Pre-cut rocker panel guards, on the other hand, are designed around one vehicle model in mind and offer a more comprehensive protection as well as a sleeker fit on the side of the vehicle.
The rocker panel guard is usually made of a single piece of polyurethane or PVC plastic, although more sophisticated models are made up of several layers of plastic for added strength and flexibility. There are also stainless steel or chrome panel guards that you can buy in stores, which are more durable and have a shinier compared to their plastic counterparts.
Rocker panel guards are usually mounted onto the side through two ways: with industrial-grade adhesive tape or bolts or rivets. Of the three, adhesive tape is the easiest to install as you'll simply lay the tape and the panel onto the side. However, the tape will peel off over time, which can worsened by exposure to dirt and moisture. Bolt-on rocker panel guards provide a more secure and stable mounting, but they require drilling onto the side panels.
Rocker panel guards also come in a variety of finishes and colors, although the most prevalent ones are black matte and a polished chrome coating. While a chrome finish is more eye-catching and aids in making the sides of your vehicle easier to see at night, they also tend to become dirtier faster compared to matte and darker-colored finishes. You should also take into consideration the appearance of the other accessories lining your vehicle. A chrome rocker panel guard, for example, will not blend well with black fender flares and wheels.