Your Silverado’s rocking panels are not just a piece of aesthetic equipment. They actually serve an important part in keeping you safe! If your rocker panels are damaged or worn, you may be wondering how much it will cost to fix them.
Generally, a professional mechanic will charge anywhere between $1,000-$4,000 to fully replace your Silverado’s rocker panels.
This is a very laborious job that takes a lot of time to complete. If you choose to replace your rocker panels yourself, you will only have to pay between $150-$350 for the rocker panels themselves.
Below, we’ll discuss more about the total cost of replacing your Silverado’s rocker panels. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about professional versus DIY replacement.
- How Much Does It Cost to Replace Rocker Panels on a 2002 Silverado?
- Slip-On vs. Full Rocker Panel Replacement
- How Do You Replace Rocker Panels?
- Final Thoughts
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Rocker Panels on a 2002 Silverado?
The cost of replacing your Silverado’s rocker panels can vary significantly.
If you have the tools and welding skills to do it yourself, the total cost should not exceed $400. If you opt for professional installation, however, plan to spend anywhere from $1,000-$4,000.
The Cost of Professional Rocker Panel Replacement
A full replacement for a vehicle’s rocker panels is not an easy job. Each side takes approximately eight hours to complete, so you’re looking at 16 hours total for both sides.
Professional installation may be the easiest choice for you, but it is significantly more expensive.
Most mechanics charge anywhere from $75-$125 per hour for their labor. Because this is approximately a 16-hour job, your total labor cost could be anywhere from $1,200-$2,000.
There is a lot more work that goes into this job than you may expect. The mechanic may need to remove the doors, cut off the old panels, or even remove the seats to do the replacement well.
Depending on how much preparation work is required, the shop may charge an additional fee.
Replacing rocker panels is a big job for any mechanic. When you add the cost of replacement rocker panels, the labor, and any additional fees, you get an average replacement cost of about $3,500.
The Cost of DIY Rocker Panel Replacement
You should only attempt to replace your rocker panels on your own if you have the skills and tools necessary. This job requires a lot of welding, grinding, and sanding, so make sure you have experience in all of these areas.
To do the replacement well, you will need to follow the same steps as a professional mechanic. This may include removing your truck’s doors and seats.
Depending on the extent of the damage, you may choose slip-on or full rocker panels. Slip-on rocker panels typically cost between $150-$200, while full rocker panels cost around $250-$350.
Slip-On vs. Full Rocker Panel Replacement
You have two options when it comes to your rocker panel replacement: slip-on and full panels. Each option is best suited to different scenarios, and the main differences between the two are the installation methods and the price.
Slip-On Rocker Panels
Slip-on rocker panels are the more affordable of the two options. The price varies based on where you buy from, but the average cost will be between $150-$200.
This type of replacement works best for rocker panels with some cosmetic damage, but little to no structural damage.
Unlike full rocker panels, you will not need to weld them onto your truck. However, they are typically thinner and less durable than full replacement panels.
Full Rocker Panels
As the name suggests, full replacement rocker panels completely replace the old damaged panels.
Because they are more durable and secure, they cost more than slip-on panels. Generally, full rocker panels will cost $250-$350 on average.
This type of panel is typically better if your current rocker panels are severely damaged.
They provide more security and safety than slip-on rocker panels. However, they do require more time and effort, as well as some welding, to install.
How Do You Replace Rocker Panels?
As mentioned, the installation process differs for slip-on and full rocker panels. Below, we’ll discuss how to replace both types.
Remember that you should only replace your rocker panels on your own if you have the tools and skills needed. If you do not have any previous experience working on a truck body, it may be best to call a professional.
How to Install Slip-On Rocker Panels
To successfully install your new slip-on rocker panels, you will need the right tools. These include:
|Adhesive or fasteners||$5-$20|
|Electric or pneumatic drill||$40-$200|
Once you have all the tools on hand, you can begin installing your slip-on rocker panel. Follow the steps below to do so:
- Remove any rusted metal from the old panels with your angle grinder. If your door and rocker panel bow out, you may need to cut the majority away so the new panel fits in place. Make sure to cut no more than half of the seam to ensure everything fits as it should.
- Using your pry bar and hammer, remove any remaining flakes of rust from the area underneath your doorways.
- Now, use your angle grinder with a 50-grit disc to clean off any remaining rust or paint. Ensure there are no burrs or warped edges that will prevent the new panel from sitting flush.
- Spray the edges of the remaining old panel with a rust inhibitor to prevent the metal from rusting prematurely.
- Mark evenly-spaced holes for your rivets, approximately every 2”.
- Use clamps or have someone else hold the panel where you want it. Using your drill, create ⅛” holes lined up with the marks.
- Attach a flat disk to your grinder, and use it to smooth out any drill spurs on the panel and the truck’s edge. Apply etching primer to any bare spots on the panel.
- Now, you can finally attach your new panel with your fasteners or adhesive. Start in the middle and work towards the edges to keep the panel from shifting.
- After the new panel is attached, use your hammering tools if necessary to adjust any points that don’t line up.
- Apply your body filler as needed, then sand and prime the new rocker panel.
- Finally, paint the new panels to match the color of your truck.
How to Install Full Rocker Panels
Installing full rocker panels is a much more time-consuming process than installing slip-on rocker panels. To get started, you’ll need the following tools:
|Sandpaper (180 and 220-grit)||$5-$10|
After gathering your tools, follow the steps below to install your new rocker panels:
- Start by measuring your new panel against your truck. Using a marker, mark the new panel according to the truck’s edges to ensure you cut it to the right size.
- Now, you can cut your panel to size. Make sure to wear leather gloves and eye protection while doing so. Use your grinder and cut-off wheel to cut along the marks on the top, bottom, and sides of the new panel.
- Put on your welding mask and gloves, then start clamping the new panel to the truck with body clamps. Rocker panels are relatively lightweight, so you shouldn’t need to use too many.
- Start welding the panel’s edges to the truck’s surface once the panel is in place. You’ll need to do one tack weld at a time. Go along the entire length of the panel, making sure there’s enough space in between each weld. Once you’ve finished welding, add as many more tack welds as you need.
- Using your grinder, grind the welds down so they lay flat with the panel’s surface. Make sure not to grind excessively, as this could create cracks.
- Using a squeegee, apply your body filler over the welded line to create a coating. Let it dry for about an hour.
- Come back to the project by using 180-grit sandpaper to sand the seam until it’s smooth.
- With 220-grit sandpaper, sand the entire panel including the seam. This will ensure it’s smooth enough to paint.
- Apply your paint primer all over the seam and panel. Then, let it dry for at least 30 minutes.
- After the primer has dried, apply the same color of paint as your truck.
Rocker panels connect the front of your truck to the rear. They are a crucial part of your vehicle’s structural body, and reduce the chances of severe injuries in an accident. Severely rusted or damaged rocker panels may not serve their integral purpose.
If you need to replace your rocker panels, expect to pay between $1,000-$4,000 for a professional job. However, if you replace them yourself, you’ll probably spend about $150-$350 total.