Rocker Repair Panel
Rust is your metal car parts' worst enemy. Once it starts to spread, there's no way of stopping it unless you remove the rusty part. Your vehicle's rocker panels, unfortunately, are some of the most vulnerable components to corrosion. This is because they're located at the lower bottom areas of your ride, making them prone to water and road salt damage. If your car's rocker panels are showing signs of corrosion, check out the steps below on how to remove a rusty panel and install a rocker repair panel.
- Vice grips
- Pneumatic angle grinder
- Air compressor
Step 1: Test fit the rocker repair panel.
Open your car door and place the new panel over the old one. It should fit tightly but not exactly since the repair panel is designed to fit over the old panel. Using a marker, trace the edges of the new panel along the sheet metal. These marks will serve as guides later on during installation.
Step 2: Cut out the rusty areas.
Once you've test-fitted the rocker repair panel, set it aside. Cut out the rusty areas with an angle grinder that has a cut-off wheel.
Step 3: Grind the edges of both the new and old rocker panels.
Using an angle grinder with an 80-grit sandpaper, grind the edges of both the old and new panels. This way, you'll have a smoother surface that's ideal for welding.
Step 4: Put the rocker repair panel in place.
Place the new panel in position on top of the remaining old panel. Make sure all sides are properly aligned. Because the rocker is big and heavy, use vice grips to temporarily clamp the new panel in place.
Step 5: Weld the new rocker panel in position.
Once you've properly aligned the new panel on top of the old one, tack weld it with an MIG welder. Hold the welder's trigger for one second at a time to deliver short, quick welds. This technique is effective in lessening warping that can be caused by the heat coming from the welder.
Step 6: Grind down the welded areas.
Using an 80-grit disc, grind down the welded areas until they are smooth and even.
- When cutting out the rusty parts, be sure to cut inside the marked lines since it's easier to cut out extra sheet metal than to buy and install a new one because you cut out too much sheet metal.
- When temporarily clamping the replacement panel in place with vice grips, you can have someone assist you since the metal panel is very heavy.
- If the rusty patches are very small and shallow, you can easily sand them down and repaint the damaged areas. However, if the rusty patches are big and deep or are too many, it's best to remove these parts and weld in a rocker repair panel.
- After fixing the rusty panels, give them a good wipe with a microfiber cloth to remove metal grinding residue and dust.