Rocker Panel Trim Buyer’s Guide
- You can equip your ride with car accessories like rocker panel trims to help improve its exterior appearance.
- A rocker panel trim is the trim piece that usually extends along the bottom side of the vehicle and sometimes covers the rocker panel.
- Rocker panel trims can be categorized based on their location. Some can be found attached on the rocker panels themselves while some are installed on the bottom edge of the vehicle’s doors.
- If you want to purchase the right aftermarket rocker panel trims, be sure to consider the material, color or finish, and warranty of the product.
- You can typically buy a pair of aftermarket rocker panel trims from around $10 to $280, depending on the style you want.
If you own a relatively old car, it would be wise to allot a budget for its maintenance so you can avoid major car problems and ensure that it can still perform well despite its age. But aside from its performance, your aging vehicle may also need some looking after in terms of appearance. Custom upgrades that will make your ride an instant head-turner are not usually cheap. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do minor modifications to your car to help make it stand out. All you need is the right car accessory like the rocker panel trim.
What is a rocker panel trim?
A rocker panel trim usually refers to the trim piece that extends along the bottom side of the vehicle between the front and rear wheel well openings. It is a car accessory that is used for sprucing up the exterior look of the vehicle.
Rocker panel trim locations
Rocker panel trims can also be categorized by their location. Although they are usually found on the same area—which is the bottom sides of the vehicle—there are subtle differences for each type of rocker panel trim.
“On-rocker” rocker panel trims
The most basic type of rocker panel trims are those that can be found on the rocker panels. These trims cover the rocker panels just below the doors between the front and rear wheel well openings. They do not cover the doors.
Lower door rocker panel trims
These rocker panel trims are installed at the bottom of the vehicle’s doors but do not cover the rocker panels themselves. They are also usually attached to the gaps between the doors and front and rear wheel well openings. Lower door rocker panel trims are often thinner than upper door rocker panel trims.
Upper door rocker panel trims
The upper door rocker panel trims are designed to cover most of the bottom half of the door area, making them larger than lower door rocker panel trims. If the vehicle has thin molding inserts on the middle part of the doors, these rocker panel trims typically start from there and extend all the way to the bottom edge of the doors. Just like the lower door rocker panel trims, they cover the gaps between doors and front and rear wheel well openings and do not cover the rocker panels.
Full rocker panel trims
Full rocker panel trims are actually a combination of “on-rocker” rocker panel trims and upper door rocker panel trims. They are designed to cover both the rocker panels themselves and the majority of the bottom half of the door area. Full rocker panel trims can also extend upwards to cover the gaps between the vehicle doors and the front and rear wheel well openings.
Things to consider when looking for aftermarket rocker panel trims
Purchasing the wrong aftermarket car accessories can happen sometimes. Fortunately, there are things that you can do in order to avoid this. If you want to get the perfect rocker panel trims for your ride, here are some things that you need to consider:
Rocker panel trims are exterior components. They are always exposed to harsh elements like rain, snow, and even the sun’s UV rays. Aside from that, since they are located at the bottom sides of the vehicle, road debris, mud, dirt, and water can get to them. All of these can speed up their deterioration. That’s the reason why you need rocker panel trims that are made from durable raw materials whether they are plastic rocker panel trims or stainless steel rocker panel trims. This will allow them to withstand the wear and tear that comes with the job.
Color or Finish
Aftermarket rocker panel trims are available in various colors or finishes. You can opt for chrome rocker panel trims or rocker panel trims with a textured or primed finish. You can even choose unpainted ones, which gives you the option to paint them yourself. Regardless of your choice, make sure to pick the color or finish that best complements your vehicle’s exterior appearance.
If you want to further protect yourself, be sure to purchase aftermarket rocker panel trims that come with warranty. You never know what can happen down the road. Your rocker panel trims may suddenly fail for no reason. A product warranty would come in handy in such situations. Besides, a warranty can also increase your confidence in the product, so it’s a good idea to always look for car parts or accessories that have one.
Can you install the rocker panel trims on your own?
You don’t have to go to your trusted mechanic to install your rocker panel trims. It is a task that can be done by practically anyone. All you need is a couple of basic tools to remove your old rocker panel trims (if there are any) and automotive adhesive or tape to attach the new ones to your vehicle.
How much does aftermarket rocker panel trims cost?
Although it may still vary depending on several factors including the brand and material of the product, the price range of a pair of aftermarket rocker panel trims falls anywhere between $10 and $280.
To save yourself from any problems that can arise from a defective product, make sure that you purchase your rocker panel trims from a reputable aftermarket brand. You can check for reviews and ratings online to learn more about the products you’re considering.
Finding the right fit
Experience hassle-free shopping at CarParts.com with the help of our vehicle selector. By entering your vehicle’s year, make, and model, you are guaranteed to browse only the parts and accessories that are compatible with your ride. You can also filter the search results by price range, brand, material, quantity sold, and more. If you are looking for a universal chrome rocker panel trim for example, you can limit the search results to products that are within your budget. This helps speed up your hunt for the right aftermarket car part or accessory.
Handling your Car's Rocker Panel Trims
If you're tired of how your car looks and you don't have the money to do a complete style overhaul, why not replace your rocker panel trims instead? This long strip at the side of your car allows you to easily pimp up your ride without having to go to an auto detailing shop. All you need is a good automotive adhesive or tape and your ride is ready for show.
Replacing a rocker panel trim
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools you'll need:
- Torx head screwdriver
- Double-sided adhesive
- New rocker panel trim
Step 1: Since the rocker panel trims act as an accessory to the rocker panels, you must first know where these panels are located. Rocker panels are attached to the lower portion of your car's doors and fenders.
Step 2: Once you've located your rocker panel, lay beside the door or fender where you want your trims replaced.
Step 3: Using a Torx head screwdriver, remove the screws found on the front, base, and rear of the rocker panel to loosen its hold on your car's frames.
Step 4: Pull the clips found along the bottom of the rocker panel trim and pry it off the car's door. If the trim was held on by adhesive, you can also scrape off the trim using a pocket knife.
Step 5: Using double-sided adhesive strips, install your new rocker panel trim to the door. Let it dry for a couple of minutes. Secure its hold on the door by fastening the clips.
Step 6: When the adhesive is dry, tighten the screws that hold the trim in place.
Step 7: Check the front and rear part of your rocker panel to make sure that all the screws are put back in place.
Painting over a rocker panel trim
If you want to save on a few bucks on customizing your rocker panels, you can also choose to paint over them. Although it requires more work than an installation job, painting them gives you just the right amount of flexibility when it comes to the looks of your trims.
Difficulty level: Easy to moderate
Tools you'll need:
- Masking tape
- Wax and grease remover
*This guide assumes that the installed rocker panel trims are primered.
Step 1: Place masking tape around the edges of your rocker panel trim. This will help you avoid painting over more than is necessary. So be sure to seal it with tape carefully. You wouldn't want your car door to be randomly splotched with paint.
Step 2: Using a clean rag, apply a thin coat of wax and grease remover to your rocker panel trim. Wait for about five minutes to let the remover evaporate before painting over it.
Step 3: Once your rocker panel trim is dry, apply three to five coats of paint to the surface of your trim. As a rule of thumb, wait five minutes before applying the next layer or coat of paint.
Step 4: Let the final coat of paint dry. After about six to eight hours, remove the masking tape from the trim.