There is nothing more debilitating for a car than rust. And rust on your rocker panel is the imminent sign of huge expenses coming your way if it is left unattended. Despite taking the best precautionary measures, your rockers seem to have an uncanny knack to attract rust.
You may drive on the driest roads that you have ever seen but the corrosion magically starts to poke its head out in a few years. And if you live in an area where there are snow and salt on the roads, welcome to ‘rusty rocker land’. You may end up with large gaping holes in the bottom of the car in just months even.
It’s a car owner’s nightmare and an auto mechanics delight. Because the mere sight of rust, often elicits extreme reactions from car owners.
‘Yikes! Is that rust on my rockers? Should I put her up for sale?’
Oh yes, we have heard that one before.
The worst part is that the rust that is visible on the exterior, is usually the tip of an enormous iceberg that lies hidden on the inside. And once you have spotted it, you have to choose between getting it repaired cheaply (cutting corners) or going for a complete replacement.
Repairing Rocker Panels vs. replacing them
Your auto mechanic, will in all probability, take a good look at the rocker panel, tell you with an innocuous smile that it can be repaired and then give you an estimated cost that will make your head spin. This prompts many car owners to go the DIY route.
Why not? There are enough instructional video tutorials on YouTube and you are can find your way around with a grinder and a welder.
All you need to do is cut the rusted portions out, weld new metal in place and give it a thick coat of POR-15. But, before you get your grinder out and go Rambo on the car, you should spare a moment to think if the end result will be worth it. A lot of times, welding can trigger a whole new set of problems that can make rust seem like a small cog in a large machine.
The most common problems with welded metal rockers are that the seams are not coated and treated correctly, especially on the blind side and this can make the rust come back sooner than ever.
All of these problems can be avoided easily by replacing the rocker panel altogether. Gives your car a new lease of life and keeps it good to go for the next few years, provided you make it a habit to check it for even the smallest sign of rust.
With a little bit of grease and grime on your hands, you can replace it in less than an hour too.
The top 5 rocker panels
A mindboggling number of choices in OEM and aftermarket rocker panels make it one of the most difficult choices to make. That’s where we step in. We have selected the best rocker panels in the market currently on the basis of the quality, average customer rating with online retailers and the compatibility with various cars without making too many modifications on it.
Here’s our list of the top 5.
1. Classic 2 Rocker Panels (Pair)
Constructed from rugged weather-resistant automotive steel, the 1999-07 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Universal 4dr Extended Cab Outer Rocker Panels, will give you rust-free rockers for a long time to come. These are compatible with a whole range of car models out of the box and with a little modification, can also fit a lot of others.
The Universal 4dr Extended outer rocker panels are manufactured in the USA by Classic 2 Current Fabrication, who are one of the most popular and reliable companies in the business. It ensures that you are getting a quality product that will perform as advertised.
The panels replace the outer rocker sections of Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra Universal 4dr cars in almost all configurations. You can use it with the 2 doors, the crew, and even the 4 door models. The panels are 78 inches long and you may want to measure the existing panels accurately to consider the possibility of installing this over it. This a slip-on panel pair. So, the recommended method of installation is to install it over the existing panels.
The other option is to cut the old panels out completely and install these panels. The latter may demand a few minor tweaks with the sizing.
Durability: The 18 gauge automotive steel is the best-in-class and is incredibly durable when well cared for. Give it a coat of a rust-proofing spray in spring. This will also keep your electrical components and fuel lines from rusting.
Customer Rating: The Universal 4dr Extended outer rocker panels have a 90% positive rating on most online retailers which makes it a very popular choice. It is also priced under $60, which, is ridiculously cheap considering the value that it offers.
Our Verdict: Save yourself tons of hassles and buy these rocker panels for your Chevy. You can thank me later.
2. Evan-Fischer Rocker Panel
If your Jeep is suffering from a bit of rocker fever, then this Evan-Fischer EVA22672039290 Rocker Panels will be the perfect respite for it. Manufactured by Evan-Fischer who are renowned for their quality auto replacement parts, these panels are an inexpensive replacement that fit a whole range of Jeep models perfectly.
The Evan Fisher EVA22672039290 Rocker Panel Driver Side is a primed rocker panel that can be customized to match the color of your jeep. Apart from replacing rusty rockers, it also protects the jeep from scruff marks and debris that can cause minor dents and scrape the paintwork. This pack only includes the driver side panel. So, if you are replacing the whole set, you may want to buy the other ones separately.
Installation is extremely easy if you have done similar work before. While connoisseurs of the Jeep will always recommend a weld job, you can use rivets and screws also, by all means. It does not affect the durability of the rocker panels. Most customers who have purchased it find it true to size. In other words, it fits most Jeep models without the need to make any drills or holes.
Durability: Like most replacement parts from Evan Fischer, these rocker panels are manufactured in adherence with industry standards. They are made of good quality materials which will last long without rusting.
Customer Rating: The Evan Fischer EVA22672039290 Rocker Panel has more than 90% positive customer rating with online retailers. Priced at under $60, this is a perfect replacement rocker panel that is cheap, durable and easy to install.
3. Classic 2 1993-98 Rocker Panels (Pair)
Classic 2 Current Fabrication brings to you some of the best rust replacement parts in the market currently. This is an outer rocker panel set for the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4DR. It is manufactured in the USA with 16g steel and is a durable replacement for the Jeep which often tackles its fair share of the rugged outdoors.
Finding a rocker panel set that fits perfectly out of the box for the JGC is always a challenge. This rocker panel set from C2C, fits most of the models perfectly. It is made of industrial grade steel which will deter rust and also keep your jeep protected from minor damage. Each panel weighs around 4 lbs which gives it a solid feel, unlike flimsy plastic models which are frequently sold online.
This is a replacement rocker panel that needs to be installed fresh by cutting out the old one and it will replace both the driver’s side and the passenger’s side.
Installation can be a combination of welds and pop rivets. Riveting may be necessary on the top portion where they can overlap with the closing doors and also on the bottom lip.
The manufacturer’s replacement part number is 080-040-1 and 080-040-2. So, you can cross check it to verify that this will fit your Jeep model. Not to mention that this is at least 60% cheaper than other brand replacement parts which are sold online.
Durability: If customer ratings are to go by, then this is an extremely durable rocker panel set that should last for years with proper care. The package also includes a POR 15 solution which you can spray on the inside and on the external portion to keep it rust free.
Customer Rating: As with any other C2C rust repair panel, this rocker panel set has an unblemished customer satisfaction rating. Most of the customers are thrilled with the perfect fit that requires very little modification and also with the durability. If you own a Jeep GC and are looking for a cost-effective replacement rocker set, look no further. This is a great buy.
4. KeyParts Rocker Panels
When your old Chevy starts showing signs of frostbite near the rockers, then maybe it’s all the salt they dump on the roads that are to be blamed. Either way, replacing the old rusted panels is always a better option than going for exhaustive repair work which may not even yield the same results. If you are looking for a budget-priced replacement, then check out this 99-06 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra Extended Cab Lower Slip-On Metal Rocker Panels (Set of 2).
Manufactured to replicate the exact same quality as the OEM part at a fraction of the cost, this is a pocket-friendly replacement that will increase the stability and also give your car an aesthetic makeover.
Out of the box, you will be amazed at the quality of these rockers. They are fabricated from 20ga. Galvanized steel and weigh close to 6 lbs. each. If you have ever bought cheap aftermarket parts before, you’d know right away that these are not the same thing. They look and feel durable. In addition to this, they are die stamped which ensures a snug fit for the truck.
The name of these rocker panels can be slightly misleading. It says slip-on making a lot of people think that they can just stick this over the existing panels using industrial grade GM adhesive tape. In reality, this is a replacement rocker panel that has the exact same dimensions, bumps, and bullets as the original. So, to install this, you will have to cut the old one out and weld this in place.
Durability: 20ga. Galvanized steel is the best-in-class for aftermarket rocker panels for the Chevy Silverado. These are one of the most durable and weather resistant rocker sets that you can buy.
Customer Rating: Near flawless customer rating on most of the online retailers. This is the real deal folks. It’s a no-brainer. The under $90 price tag is what makes this such a value-for-money proposition. The best-in-class steel construction, the easy installation, and identical design make it a great buy.
5. Auto Metal Direct Rocker Panel
The Jimmy Suburban and GM Pickups commonly have problems with rusty rockers and it doesn’t always make sense to buy expensive factory replacement parts. This OE Style Outer Rocker Panel for the Right-Hand side will be the exact replica of your original rusted rockers without blowing a hole in your wallet.
Auto Metal Direct is known for their superior quality metal replacement parts. This outer rocker panel is one of their most sought-after models due to the inherent rusting problem with these trucks. Also, since it has the exact same dimensions, bends, seams and holes, it is extremely simple to install without requiring any additional drilling or welding.
The rocker panel is stamped from highest quality 19 gauge steel which makes it a very durable replacement for the old rusted rocker. Unlike flimsy replacement parts which are crafted from 23 gauge steel, this rocker panel from AMD will keep the rust away for long.
The protection that it offers is compounded due to an Electro Deposit Primer coating on the inside of the panels.
If you wish to replace the panels on the left side as well, then that needs to be ordered separately.
Durability: Top notch! AMD has a reputation for durable products and it isn’t without reason. This is an extremely durable rocker panel and will outlast most other higher priced products from other brands.
Customer Rating: As expected, it has a 100% customer satisfaction rating. No problems with the fit or the quality. It is priced at under $20 which makes it, an absolute steal at this price point.
These are the top 5 rocker panels in the market currently. We will update this list frequently as and when we spot a newbie enter the ranks. Adios!