The Average Cost for Rocker Panel Replacement Is $2,200-$5,600, Depending on If You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. Related repairs or maintenance, such as replacing the inner rocker panels and the cab corners, might also need to be done at the same time. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Cost at the Mechanic: $2,200-$5,600
It takes a lot of heavy labor to replace the rocker panels, so the cost of labor has a significant impact on the total cost of the repair. The process includes removing the doors and panels, cutting out the old rocker panels, and welding in new panels if you used welded panels. If you use slip-on panels, they can go over the old rockers, but there is still a lot of prep work needed before they can go on. It can take up to 16 hours or longer to replace the rocker panels on both sides.
Cost to DIY: $1,000-$4,000
- Difficulty Level: Advanced
- Parts Needed:
If you already have the required equipment and knowledge, it is possible to save money by replacing the rocker panels yourself. The cost of the rocker panels varies depending on what type of vehicle you have, and it might increase if you need to buy the equipment you’ll need. However, this is an advanced task that should only be done by someone who knows how to use the equipment needed to complete the replacement. It should not be done by a novice.
Keep in mind: There are different rocker panels for all makes and models of vehicles, and there is a long list of tools needed. Replacing rocker panels is not a job for a novice. The list of equipment and tools you need to complete this task is extensive, and you’ll end up spending more money if you have to purchase them along with the rocker panels.
What Is Rocker Panel Replacement?
Rocker panels are the pieces of metal that are along both sides of the vehicle just under the doors between the wheel openings. Since they sit close to the ground, the panels are prone to rust and often get damaged by road debris. There are two different types of replacement rocker panels: welded rocker panels and slip-on rocker panels.
The type of rocker panel you’ll need depends on the amount of damage. If there is significant rust, you’ll need new welded panels to keep the vehicle’s structural integrity intact. If there is only a small amount of rust, and the fix is more cosmetic, slip-on replacements might do the job.
What Does Rocker Panel Replacement Include?
A rocker panel replacement is a big job, and welded rocker panels are more difficult to replace than slip-on rockers. In both cases, the doors and running board need to come off first. Once the doors are off, you’ll need to remove any plastic panels from the door jamb and determine the correct placement of the new panel before removing the old one. If using welded panels, the old panel will need to be cut off before installing the new rocker panel.
Replacing the rocker panels is a long job. It can take an experienced mechanic over 16 hours to replace the panels on both sides of a vehicle, allowing eight hours for each side. This estimate doesn’t take into account the work that’s done before and after the rocker panels are installed. Significant prep work is required before starting the job, and cosmetic repairs must be made after the replacement. After the new rocker panels are installed, they will have to be sanded and painted to match the rest of the car.
The cab corners are commonly replaced along with the rocker panels because this is a similar job. You can save on labor costs if you have the cab corners replaced at the same time.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace the Rocker Panels?
When rocker panels become rusted, it affects the integrity of the vehicle. If there is significant rust, the cabin might not hold up as well if you get into an accident. Holes in the rocker panel as a result of rust may also allow harmful exhaust fumes to get into the cabin.
If you notice rust on the rocker panels, you should have them inspected and replaced if necessary.
How Often To Get Rocker Panels Replaced
In most cases, if you regularly clean the outside of your car and keep up with maintenance, you will not have to replace the rocker panels. It is a good idea to have the rocker panels inspected for rust when you bring in your vehicle for regular service, but there is no set schedule for rocker panel maintenance or replacement. For more information about your vehicle’s rocker panels and their maintenance, check your owner’s manual.
Common Symptoms You Need to Replace the Rocker Panels
- Visible rust on the rocker panels
- Impact damage to rocker panels
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed with rocker panel replacement:
- Cab corner replacement
- Floor pan replacement
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