Rocker Panels are stamped steel pieces that are an exterior body part of a vehicle. They are mainly found in passenger vehicles just below the side doors, in the space between the rear and front wheels’ openings. A rocker panel conceals the outer frame rail between the front and rear of the vehicle.
Purpose of Rocker Panels in a Vehicle
One purpose of a rocker panel is to protect the car’s sides from harm. For example, if the paint on the sides chips, this can result in rusting, which can be very damaging to the vehicle’s body. The rocker panel takes the damage arising from what is flung onto the vehicle from the front tires, such as debris, tar, oil, pebbles, and rocks, all of which would chip the car’s paint.
If damage were to occur to the door panels of a vehicle, for instance, this would obviously be more expensive to replace than the rocker panels. The panels can have coatings applied to them that make them more rust, chipping and other damage resistant. This goes a long way in reducing expenses related to damage to the rockers.
Another purpose of rocker panels is seen in unibody vehicles, which are automobiles in which the frame and body of the vehicle are not separate. These panels reinforce the structure in such automobiles in a way that keeps the vehicle’s bottom from hanging down in the middle. In more recent cars and trucks, the rocker panel is high strength, designed that way to keep the passenger cabin from crumpling in an accident. In still newer trucks, where frame and body are separate, rocker panels and other body parts are used to create torsional stiffness while boosting structural rigidity.
Replacement Vs Repairing
Repairing your rusting panel rocker may seem like a good idea. But if you can already see the rust on the outside on your panels, the chances are that the rusting is already too far gone within. Repairing the panels would mean cutting out all the rusted metal and welding in new metal.
Gone are the days when the rusted metal would be covered with fiberglass which would be smoothed afterward. To repair your rusted rockers, you will have to cut out all the rusted metal. This is not always such a practical idea. Some of the rust on the panels is deep in the panel, making it difficult to reach. Wielding the new metal onto the old will also have to be done by a professional, which will raise your costs significantly if you cannot do it yourself.
If you go ahead and choose to repair, you will have to ignore the difficult to reach areas which will leave some rust on the old metal. A vehicle with a rocker panel which is rusted in some places has a compromised panel. Such panels will not offer the advantages provided by those that are not rusted.
Instead of having new metal welded onto rusty panels, the best option is to replace everything. You may worry that replacing your panels may be more expensive than the total cost of your car, especially when you need to replace both. It does not need to be that costly.
You can purchase the rocker panels yourself and install them on your car. They come with easy to follow DIY manuals, and if you are good at following instructions, you will be done in at most a few hours. With new panels, your vehicle will be ready for another decade or so and will have more structural integrity.
Top 8 Best Rocker Panels – Reviews
Here are reviews of the eight best rocker panels available on the market.
- Smittybilt 76634 SRC Textured Black Side Armor, Pair
Smittybilt built this rocker panel with slight alterations from previous designs to match customer requests. Smittybilt 76634 SRC Textured Black Side Armor, Pair are designed to enable your jeep to take on the toughest terrains.
These rocker panels feature maximum protection, wheel to wheel. They are also constructed from cold rolled steel, 3/16 inch and heavy duty steel tubing, coated with 2-inch powder. Their girder system is dual. It provides a step as well as protection. These rocker panels come in two stylish designs. You can select the one that matches your needs best and customizes your Jeep.
These are very easy to install. A hydraulic jack comes in handy if you want to install them yourself. Two jack stands can hold the unit as you slide it in place. You can put the nuts back on after tilting the units onto the bolts. If you find you cannot fix it all by yourself, ask a friend to help.
You can’t go wrong with this rocker panel. It not only looks great on your jeep, but it also performs quite well. It has an excellent step. Most reviewers give this rocker panel a 5-star review. Get your jeep a stylish, new look by installing these panels.
- Putco 9751218 Stainless Steel Rocker Panel
This rocker panel is an inexpensive buy that is also stylish. The panels can be customized for your vehicle. If you drive a Silverado LD – Crew Cab -5.5” Bed and a Silverado 2014-2016 Chevrolet, this could just be what you need to replace your rusty panels.
Putco 9751218 Stainless Steel Rocker Panel has some outstanding features. The panels are made from superior quality 304 Stainless Steel. They are constructed with due regard to their function and will protect your vehicle from damage by road debris and rocks. There are applications of these available for most of today’s modern SUVs and trucks.
This Putco rocker panel is easy to install. It comes with pre-applied 3M automobile tape. The adhesive tape is excellent for any weather and will hold up your panels. It is not weakened or destroyed by water, heat or cold. The panels should fit snugly in place without you having to cut or weld. These rockers are installed at least one inch from the bottom.
This rocker panel from Putco comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer. That should speak volumes about its quality. Get a customized pair for your vehicle and replace the rusty old set on your car.
- Fits 2000-2006 GMC YUKON XL, NO Flares (4″ Width)-Stainless Steel ROCKER PANEL
These stainless steel rocker panels are made in the USA, so you won’t have to worry about the difficult to understand instructions that come with Chinese made products. They fit the YUKON 2000-2006 GMC XL. These rockers are available in some widths.
The rocker panel may or may not include bend or shaping effect when you buy it. This stainless steel rocker panel trim kit can include any number of pieces dependent on if it covers from wheel wells up to the bumpers, rear, and front. For each vehicle model, the rockers, the molding insert, and the body accent accessory trim is constructed from highly polished stainless steel, to give it an elegant chrome look. This steel is fully covered by a 3M acrylic foam bonding agent to improve vehicle’s appearance.
Installation of this rocker panel is very easy as it comes with a pre-applied 3M automobile tape on each piece. Installation involves peel and stick. There is no cutting, drilling or alterations required. The adhesive is all weather and lasts a lifetime.
The entire kit of this rocker panel is made in the USA. It has attributes which make it one of the best in the market. And if for you only something made in America will do, this is just the piece for you. It is also relatively affordable.
- Smittybilt 76871 XRC Black Textured Rocker Guards with Step
These rockers are constructed from steel that is handcrafted for a perfect fit. Smittybilt has built these rockers to improve their function. They are ideal for that person who values a step for getting on and off their vehicle, as they come with one.
These panels come with stainless steel hardware. They can also be used with XEC Corner Guards. They fit, whether or not they come with factory flares. They look great and as well offer excellent protection. The step also comes in handy on the trails.
This is very easy to do. Installation instructions that go with these rockers are easy to follow. For those who may find the instructions accompanying this rocker panel ineligible, a written guide can be obtained online. One of these online guides is a twelve step process in understandable English in PDF form and complete with pictures. The installation instructions also include a list of included parts and a helpline to call in case of any issue. A floor jack will be a handy tool when installing this. All existing rockers on the vehicle must be removed and the car cleaned before installing this particular one.
These are some of the best rockers for your jeep. Their price is not that high for the near perfect function they perform.
- 1999-07 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Universal 4dr Extended Cab Outer Rocker Panels (Pair)
These rocker panels are made in the USA by a most reputable rust repair manufacturer. No rockers for Sierra and Silverado vehicle models come close to these regarding quality. They are made with precision. They are slip on over old panels but often require cutting to size to fit.
They are highly durable as they are constructed from 18ga automotive steel, 78” length and extremely well made. They come in pairs for both driver and passenger sides of the vehicle.
These are not difficult to install even though they are not plug and chug. With a little patience and handiness, you can fix this rocker and save yourself quite a bit of cash in professional fees. You have to cut them to fit length and warp them a little before installing to get a close fit. You may not need to cut out the old corroded rockers but can go over the top. Pre-paint inside out. Pre-punch holes that are wider at the bottom than at the upper part for rivets. Check the correct size of the holes, so they are not too small or too large. After every 4”, use large head rivets. You can then install, but prior run a bead of silicon, around both ends and the top to act as a seal against water/ mud getting within and doing more damage.
These rockers are not only cheap but some of the best that you can get for your vehicle. They are excellent as you cut them to the desired size. The high-tech construction process that they go through makes them a must have for those a Sierra and Silverado vehicle model suited for the panels.
- Lincoln Town Car Lower Rocker Panel Chrome Stainless Steel Body
This is a quality product from a renowned manufacturer. These rockers are an eight piece set, four pieces for each side. They are installed at the very bottom of the rockers between the wheels.
These rockers are made of superior quality stainless steel, Gauge 26. They have an attractive mirror polish finish. Every part of these stainless steel rockers comes with red 3M automobile adhesive tape (0.025 inches) on the back and two protective layers on the front in white color. This bonding agent is for easy installation and lasts a lifetime.
Fixing the rockers onto the vehicle is easy as each of the four parts for each side comes with pre-applied automobile adhesive tape. The parts to be installed are first fitted as once the tape is peeled off and used, it cannot be reused again. If the parts fit, the tape is peeled and the parts installed in place. The white tape is peeled off after installation.
The rockers get good reviews online with more than 78% of reviewers giving them a five stars review. The bonding agent is weather resistant and lasts long. These rockers come with a lifetime warranty. Get these for your vehicle, and you will be very satisfied.
- Evan-Fischer EVA22672027253 Rocker Panel Driver Side LH Primered
These Evan-Fischer rocker panels are budget friendly when you need a replacement. Evans-Fisher upholds only the highest standards. They only sell brand new items, not refurbished or re-manufactured in any way.
This Evans-Fischer replacement rocker is built to the highest industry standards for reliability and durability. This rocker will serve its purpose for a long time. It is an OE comparable item. This particular item fits the driver’s side only. If a pair is required, the rocker for the passenger side will have to be purchased separately.
This is a slip on and can be put on top of an old rusted rocker panel. You can spray paint the new rockers, and they will look great. Alternatively, you can cut out the old rusted parts on the old one and weld in the new one. Unless you are adept at it, welding should be done by a professional. You can also use rivets and screws to fix this rocker into position as well. For some vehicle models, the rocker won’t fit, and you have to cut it to size.
This panel comes with a one-year unlimited warranty, which makes it ideal for your jeep. If you consider durability and reliability, you just might want to go for the Evan-Fischer EVA22672027253 Rocker Panel. It also looks great on your vehicle.
- Silverado/GMC Sierra Extended Cab Lower Slip-On Metal Rocker Panels (Set of 2)
This rocker panel fits the GMC Sierra Extended and 99-06 Chevy Silverado Cab Trucks. These rockers are specially made with high tech technology. They are not uni-fit, and the left and right pieces are different and unique.
The rockers are made of galvanized steel, 1mm thick or gauge 20. They are not slipped over and fit as excellently as Original OEM parts. They are die-stamped for an exact fit. These rockers bow exactly like the original ones, with bullets or bumps in the same position as the old rockers as well.
Installation is done by cutting out the old rusted metal and welding in the new. These rockers cannot be placed on the old.
These rockers have good reviews online averaging 4.6 out of 5 stars. Their unique construction makes them ideal for your Sierra or Silverado car trucks. Go out there and get your set.
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Rocker Panels Buying Guide
Rocker panels on modern cars serve an important role in enhancing the structural integrity of the vehicle. Because of this significant role rockers play in a car and that they can be expensive to repair, it can be disappointing to see rust on a rocker panel on your vehicle. Such decay indicates that your car will perform badly if involved in a crash. This poor performance is a result of compromised rockers.
Whether you reside in a dry area, or in a region where there is plenty of snow and salt on the roads, you will sooner or later begin to see the rust on the rockers of your car. You would want to be prepared to know what to look out for when you go out to buy rocker panels for your vehicle. Here we have compiled a brief buying guide to help acquire rockers with minimal confusion. Consider the following points.
- Look for a rocker panel that is specially made for your vehicle. Different cars have different appearances and designs. There is nothing like a one fit all when it comes to rockers. Inquire about rockers for your particular vehicle model and fit.
- Consider your specific needs. Some drivers just take to the highway and never on rough terrain. Others are off-roaders and frequently take to the desert, snowy tracks and muddy regions. Consider if the rocker you want to buy will handle the terrain you typically take. Rockers for off-roaders will require being made of very durable and sturdy materials. If you drive your 4×4 off road and take to rocky terrain, your vehicle will not be damaged if it has the right rockers. Changing your rocker panel is one of the best ways to customize your vehicle, and you should make maximum use of this.
- Consider if you need to replace or repair your rocker panel. If you plan to replace your rocker panel, you must go for an exact match to the one that was on your car. This is because not just any will fit and you must remove the old rusting one and replace it with new. Often, you do not remove the old one, but you can get a new one and slip it on the old one.
- For the preceding two options you can DIY by following the instructions that come with the rocker panel. A third option is to cut out the rusted parts and weld on new metal. You can weld in the new metal, but if you are not good in welding, don’t do it first time on your vehicle. Get a professional to do it. This will obviously increase your spending than if you do it yourself, but it will save other costs that you can incur if you do an amateurish job welding. You can also get a panel rocker with a bonding agent for easy installation by a non-expert. These rockers may come in parts and are usually adhered to specified positions using the pre-applied automobile adhesive.
- Consider your budget. Budget consideration is important because you can only remain within your budget. Also, consider the installation process before you purchase rockers. You could buy an affordable rocker panel, only to find you can’t install it yourself, which brings on additional costs. You need to get a fair picture of price and installation costs, to get the best offer that is within your budget.
Still looking for a rocker panel for your car, consider the above points and go out there and get a perfect fit for your vehicle. You can use your new set of rocker panels to alter the look of your vehicle.