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.
The Different Types of Body Side Moldings
These are some of the most common body side moldings available:
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.
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.
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 Side Molding For Your Car
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.