Rocker panels: these accessories are as old as the car itself. Or, more precisely, these are practically identified with the history of vehicles.
Their origin and exact time of appearance are unknown. However, the images show that rocker panels, of various sizes, have been mounted on carriages since the 17th century. Later they were used for passenger cars and vehicles, and their purpose was to facilitate access to the interior, or the exit of people.
Without rocker panels and cab corners, your vehicle would lose much of its structural integrity. You don’t need to worry about these parts because they’re rarely replaced. Anyway, if you need new ones the cost to replace them depends on the make, model, year of your vehicle, and the quality of the panels.
How much does it cost to replace the rocker panels and cab corners?
The cost to replace the outer and inner rocker panels may cost anywhere between $750 and more than $4,200, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Only the panel may cost between a few hundred dollars and $2,100, plus the labor and other materials.
If you choose to replace the rocker panels at a garage or with the help of a professional auto body shop, be prepared to pay $1,200 to $4,100. The cost will be greatly influenced by the labor because this is a process that takes time, as the doors and other car pieces have to be removed in order to replace the rocker panels. In the table below you will find some price estimates for replacing the rocker panels.
|Low-Range Cost||Around $1,200|
|High-End Cost||Around $4,500|
|Average Cost||Around $3,500|
Depending on the type of rocker panels, expect to pay anywhere between $180 and $370 only for the parts alone. For example, the cost of slip-on panels is anywhere between $180 and $270, while the full panels are more expensive, with a cost of $260 to $370.
If it is to be charged by labor hour, most of the body shops charge around $80 to $100 per hour, while at a dealership you must pay more than $140 per hour. It means that you would have to pay at least $1,280 for labor costs.
- Low Range Estimate – $900 – $1,100
- Mid-Range Estimate – $1,200 – $1,360
- High-End Estimate – $1,800 – $2,500
- Average Cost – $1,175 – $1,280
For replacing the cab corners you will have to pay anywhere between $720 and $2,700, depending on how much work is involved in this process. The majority of the people say that they paid around $1,300 for this replacement. The final price is greatly influenced by the labor involved as the cab corners cost only $125 or even less.
Cost for Cab Corner Replacement
- Low-End Cost Estimate – $850 – $1050
- Mid-Range Cost Estimate – $1250 – $1700
- Average Cost Estimate – $1175 – $1225
- High-End Cost Estimate – $2400 – $3000+
The same is with the rocker panels; the price for replacing the cab corners depends on the labor amount required to perform this job. At most body shops, you will have to pay anywhere between $85 and $90 per hour for labor.
Labor Cost for Cab Corner Replacement
- Minimum Cost Estimate – $700
- Average Cost Estimate – $1,000
- High Cost Estimate – $2,400
If you choose to replace both the rocker panels and cab corners at the same time, which is cheaper than doing it separately, be prepared to pay anywhere between $1,700 and $4,200. Most of the people say that they paid around $2,700 for a basic replacement but with good quality parts.
Rocker Panels and Cab Corners Replacement details
There are two types of rocker panels: full panels, that have to be welded onto the vehicle and slip-on panels, that go over the top of the current rocker.
You should take into consideration that, in general, the slip-on rocker panels might be less durable and also thinner than the full rocker panels. Even though the full panel is welded, it can break off if the welding job is not well done.
You can choose the right type of rocker panel for your vehicle by evaluating the damage of the vehicle. For example, if the actual panels are very rusted and damaged it means that the structure is not that strong so you should buy full panels.
On the other hand, if the car is not that affected by rust and is not damaged, then it’s better to choose the slip-on rocker panels. The time needed to replace this type of panel is shorter and the costs would be lower.
The cab corners can be made from stainless steel or metal alloys. Anyway, both of them can be affected by rust damage or physical damage caused by debris that flies off the ground or by collisions.
If there are only small areas affected by corrosion and rust, they can be removed, then the damaged area can be polished. But, if there is severe damage, broken cab corners, or excessive rust, then these have to be replaced.
Important things to consider
The average time to replace the outer and inner rocker panels is around 16 hours, with 8 hours for each side. Here the time needed for painting and sanding the new panels to match the color of the car is not included.
Also, in some cases, it may be necessary to remove the seats, carpets, and other vehicle parts in order to protect them from the welding debris.
Many people choose to have both the rocker panels and cab corners replaced at the same time because this job is similar. By doing it this way you can save on the labor costs and it will be easier to fix and paint more rust damaged areas.
Removing the rust is a slow and laborious process. It’s almost never guaranteed that you will be able to fix your problem after removing just one coat, as there could still be more underneath with this type of damage. It can take hours or even days before knowing how much work needs to be done.
It is important to know the difference between minor and major damage so you can avoid wasting money on repairs. Minor cosmetic damages are often fixable with some sandpaper while more severe bodywork may require the replacement of components.
You can avoid the rust from reoccurring by treating the area with anti-rust products.
The most important consideration is whether or not the new parts will match perfectly with your current body. If you’re welding on replacement joints, it’s likely that they won’t be a perfect color and alignment, which could lead to issues in durability over time as well.
What are the extra costs?
Rocker panels and cab corners replacement implies welding, which results in an extra cost.
In case you choose to replace the rocker panels yourself you will have to budget for some basic tools such as:
- a welding machine that costs $120 to more than $3,000;
- an angle grinder that is anywhere between $45 and $150;
- a rust inhibitor spray that costs $10 to $18;
- a wire brush that cost anywhere between $18 and $50;
- an electric or pneumatic drill which costs $45 to more than $200;
- a hammer that can be bought with $8 to $35;
- an adhesive or fasteners which cost anywhere between $15 and $35;
- a pry bar that cost $12 to $30.
Also, you will need cleaning products, paint, primer, and other materials, which means additional costs to consider.
If you have to replace the rocker panels and the cab corners for an older model truck there will be some preparation needed beforehand.
In some situations, electrical wiring repairs or glass repairs are required to make the vehicle work properly.
How can I save money?
It is almost always cheaper to do both jobs at once than it would be if you only did one job. The installation of new rocker panels and cab corners or refinishing the old ones can take up quite a bit of time, so by doing them in tandem the cost will go down even more.
It’s important to compare the prices before you make a decision. Shop around and get multiple estimates from different shops, because some body shops may match their competitors’ labor costs if they have an estimate written down.