Perhaps you misjudged the distance of that concrete planter box while parking. Or maybe it's rusted so badly that it's got more holes than a cheese grater. Either way, your car's rocker panels have certainly seen better days. Luckily, there are repair panels available for almost any automobile that can make your dented or deteriorated rocker panel looking brand new. In this guide, we are going to teach you how to install rocker repair panels on your own.
Difficulty level: Moderate to Difficult
- Angle grinder
- Wire brush
- MIG welder
Step 1: Sand the damaged part until bare metal is exposed at least 2-3 inches around the area to be repaired.
Step 2: Mark off the area to be removed with a pen or marker. You can use the repair panel as a guide on where to cut.
Step 3: Using your angle grinder, carefully cut out the damaged portion of the rocker panel. Make sure not to stray from the lines.
Step 4: Clean the surface underneath the removed section of the panel with a wire brush and rust converter spray.
Step 5: Fit the repair panel against the rocker panelso that it will be even with the area you've cut out. You may have to do some trimming here or there to make the fit perfect.
Step 6: Place some tack welds at the bottom of the repair panel, where it meets the pinch weld (that flange of metal extending down the body of the car on each side) at the lower part of the car.
Step 7: Press the repair panel against the upper portion of its mounting point and apply tack welds on the side and top to hold it in place. Continue welding the panel with spot welds until it is completely shut.
Step 8: Grind down the spot welds (using a grinder) until it is level with the surrounding metal. Once it's smoothed out, apply some self-etching primer onto the sheet metal to prevent the exposed surface from rusting until it is painted over.
- Avoid making long welding beads. Doing so may warp the thin metal.
- Make sure you wear safety goggles, dust masks, and protective gloves when welding, cutting, and grinding metal.
- Purchase a rocker repair panel that matches the exact make and model of your vehicle.