Body Side Moldings: Protecting Your Vehicle against Dings and Dents
Your vehicle is your investment, baby, and prized possession. You want its condition to be as flawless and pristine as possible. But what if it gets hit by a speeding grocery cart or by another vehicle door at the parking lot? You can't stand all day by your car and protect it from these run-ins. It's a harsh reality of life that the inevitable will happen: your baby will get scraped, nicked, or even dented. So, what can you do to protect your investment? Three words: body side molding.
Why do you need body side moldings? Can it really protect my vehicle? Let this guide help save money from repairs before you drive too far from your home.
The Different Types of Body Side Moldings
Body side moldings are made from a variety of components like rubber, vinyl, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), aluminum, and stainless steel. To completely protect your vehicle from road hazards, here are some types of molding available in the market:
Door edge guards -- These guards help minimize damage when you hit someone or something, after opening the door. They are made from soft rubber materials to absorb shock and prevent damage that may otherwise happen.
Wheel well molding -- This molding covers and trims the exposed area to protect it from scratches and dents. Some truck owners install it to dress up their vehicle or to cover up an existing scratch or dent.
Bumper moldings -- These thin moldings enhance your vehicle's sporty look while giving it protection against scratches. Bumper moldings are made from hard, auto-grade, vinyl materials that measure only an inch high by 1/4 inch thick, making it unnoticeable.
Benefits of Installing Body Side Moldings
External damage like bumps, paint chips, and door dings can be avoided by installing body side moldings. They can also absorb a host of fender-bending obstacles; shield the vehicle's sides, and rocker panels from flying stones or rock chips. Body side moldings can also enhance your vehicle's look to make it more upscale, preserving its integrity and value.
Installing body side molding is the most practical way of protecting your truck or car from the usual scrapes. You can ask around or shop online and purchasing the right type for your vehicle is much easier than before. There are molding kits available for each car model and some have pre-painted colors to match your vehicle. Invest in a good set of body side moldings to keep your mind at ease while you're on the road.
Side Molding Buyer's Guide
- Using a car molding is a simple way to hide dings and nicks from run-ins and even prevent damage to the body of your vehicle.
- Car moldings that are applied on the flanks of the vehicle are called body side molding or side molding.
- A body side molding, also known as car body side molding, car side molding, auto body side molding, or simply as side molding, is a cosmetic yet useful add-on ideally mounted horizontally along the sides of the vehicle.
- Side moldings usually create a raised bump running along the length of the vehicle’s flanks and is the first thing that objects hit on the side of the vehicle, absorbing the impact and any potential damage and saving your vehicle from scuffs and dents.
- Side moldings can be made from rubber, plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane, metals such as aluminum and stainless steel, or a combination of materials.
- In addition to the design and material, some other things to consider when getting side moldings are its compatibility with the vehicle and the application method.
- Some vehicle models use a specific type of side molding and the replacement would ideally have to match the original for a perfect fit.
- Nowadays, many side moldings can be mounted with automotive-grade adhesive, but there are also side moldings that have to be mounted using fasteners.
- Auto body side molding strips can cost from $11 to $268 depending on the style, features such as color matching, if it is pre-cut or not, and if it is in sets or individual units.
Even while parked, vehicles are still at risk of getting dents and scratches from being hit by things such as an errant shopping cart or a rashly opened car door. While the resulting damage to the car’s finish, paint, and body is usually minor, it is still unsightly and can cost quite a bit to get repaired. A simple way to hide dings and nicks from run-ins, and even prevent minor impacts from damaging the body of your vehicle, is by using a car molding.
Also called car body moldings or automotive moldings, car moldings are decorative and functional car accessories. They not only enhance the appearance of your vehicle, they also provide a certain level of protection from things that might scrape against your car. This accessory can be applied to almost any part of the vehicle’s body that is likely to get hit by everyday objects. There are different types of car moldings depending on their specified location. Car moldings that are applied on the flanks of the vehicle are called body side molding or side molding.
What is a Body Side Molding?
As its name suggests, a body side molding, also known as car body side molding, car side molding, auto body side molding, or simply as side molding, is a cosmetic yet useful add-on ideally mounted horizontally along the sides of the vehicle. It is usually a strip available in varying widths and can be made out of automotive-grade plastic, rubber, metal, or any combination of the three.
What Does a Body Side Molding Do?
Side moldings usually create a raised bump running along the length of the vehicle’s flanks. Since it juts or sticks out from the surface of the body panels, it is the first thing that comes into contact with objects that hit the side of the vehicle. The impact and any potential damage are absorbed by the side molding, saving your vehicle from scuffs and dents.
With various styles and designs, side moldings also let you customize your car and give it more character. When applied properly, it can create accents and highlights, giving your vehicle a unique look and personality. For cars that already have minor nicks on the flanks, side moldings can help hide or disguise the dints while protecting the side panels from further damage.
Side Molding Materials
Due to its location and its function of shielding the car’s panels against bumps that may cause chips and dings, side moldings need to be made of durable materials. Some of the materials used for the production of side moldings include rubber, plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane, and metals such as aluminum and stainless steel. Side moldings can also be made from a combination of materials such as a metal plated plastic.
This material is elastic, flexible, resilient, tough, and resistant to heat, chemicals, and weathering.
Due to their adjustable malleability and tensile strength, plastics are used to create a wide range of products from food wrapping to electrical equipment housing.
PVC, a type of vinyl plastic, is the most commonly used plastic in the production of side moldings. It is tough, lightweight, and resistant to weathering, moisture, chemicals, solvents, and sun damage. Depending on its composition, PVC can either be rigid or flexible.
A versatile plastic, polyurethane can be formed into hard plastics, durable elastomers, and flexible or rigid foams. Its chemistry can be adjusted according to the needed properties such as resistance to oils, chemicals, heat, ultraviolet (UV) light, and oxidation.
Some classic cars feature side moldings that are made of metals used in the automotive industry like aluminum and steel. This type of side molding can be purely metal or accommodate rubber or plastic inserts.
Aluminum is used in cars because it is a strong and hard-wearing yet lightweight metal.
Most of the metal in cars is steel. Being durable while also flexible, steel bends on impact instead of breaking, making it ideal for use in vehicles
Getting a Side Molding
Adding a protective element to your vehicle can help keep it in good condition for a longer period of time. While a dint is usually a minor kind of damage, if the impact is significant, it could become a tear on the car body. Water and other elements might enter this gash and cause more serious damage to the body panel and the components underneath it.
Vehicles will sometimes come with a side molding right from the factory or from the dealership. However, this built-in part will eventually wear out or sustain too much damage and will have to be replaced. In addition to the design and material, some other things to consider are its compatibility with the vehicle and the application method.
Some vehicle models use a specific type of side molding and the replacement would ideally have to match the original for a perfect fit. As for cars that can use any kind of side molding, the major point of consideration would be the method of mounting.
Nowadays, many side moldings can be mounted with an automotive-grade double-sided tape or other kinds of heavy-duty adhesive. However, there are side moldings that will have to be mounted using fasteners such as the rivet-on body side molding. This might require drilling a hole on the body of the car where the rivet will go.
Side moldings can cost from $11 to $268 depending on the style and any other feature these might have such as if it is paint ready for color matching. These are available as pre-cut auto body side molding strips or as customizable strips you need to cut to the length that you need, and can be purchased in sets or individually.
Replacing Your Vehicle's Body Side Moldings
Body side moldings are not just decorative pieces; they protect your beloved vehicle from nasty door dings and even flying rock chips. Others would like to upgrade their car or truck's look to make it leaner and meaner. Whatever the reason is, replacing the body side moldings is an easy job. You just need a bit of patience and care to pull of this project.
We prepared the steps, tips and tools to help you replace your vehicle's body side moldings.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Tools that You'll Need:
- Sharp cutting tool
- A bottle of rubbing alcohol
- Clean white rags
- Masking tape
- Rubber gloves
- WD-40 spray
- Blow dryer (optional)
- Plastic spackle spatula
- Body side molding replacement parts
Tips and Reminders:
- Be careful not to scratch your vehicle's paint and take your time with this project.
- Let the body side molding adhesive cure for at least 24 hours before washing your vehicle.
- Check your replacement parts and make sure that they are compatible to your vehicle's make and model.
- Soften the body molding's rubber and glue by applying heat from a blow dryer to easily remove it.
- Make sure that your work area is free from dust, oils and dirt that may contaminate the side molding's adhesive tape, which will reduce its bond.
- Do not reuse the clean white rag once you've used it to remove the adhesive from the body panel. That rag may contain wax and other contaminants that will affect the new molding's adhesive tape.
Removing the Body Side Molding and Adhesive:
- Wear your rubber gloves and spray WD-40 along all the sides of the body side moldings that need replacement.
- Let it stand for about 10 minutes to soften the adhesive. Wrap a cloth rag tightly over the spackle spatula.
- Separate the body side molding from the vehicle's body panel by inserting the spatula between the end of the molding and body panel.
- Gently push the spatula across the body side molding while using your other hand to peel the molding away from the body panel. Continue running the spatula and peel it with your other hand until you reach the molding's end.
- Put rubbing alcohol on a clean white rag to remove the residue from the double-sided tape and any adhesive bits. Make sure that the area is thoroughly clean before proceeding to the other body side panels that needs to be removed.
- Proceed to the next body side molding and repeat steps 1 to 6.
Installing a New Body Side Panel:
- Line up the body side molding with the vehicle's rear and front bumper for proper alignment. Mark the desired installation area with a masking tape, which will serve as your guide.
- Use a sharp cutting tool to trim the new molding at the body seams and door jams. Make sure to that you leave enough space for the vehicle's door to open properly.
- Check for signs of grease, dirt or oil on the body panel before peeling off the liner from the molding's adhesive tape.
- Apply enough hand pressure when installing the molding on the vehicle's body panel, to avoid any cracks. This also prevents the build up of air bubbles between the molding's adhesive and body panel.
- Slightly tap the new body side molding to ensure that there is good tape adhesion.
- Repeat steps 1 to 5 when installing the other body side moldings.
Installing new body side moldings will take about 30 minutes for an expert DIYer and an hour for a beginner. Take your time and be careful not to scratch your vehicle's paint. Have fun and be safe!