Tesla Model 3 Rocker Panel Repair! (A Complete Guide)

Last updated on September 12th, 2023 at 03:03 am

Rocker panels play crucial roles in the safety of vehicles. These structures reinforce automobiles, prevent sagging and lessen the degree of cabin deformation in the event of collisions.

Unfortunately, the location of these vital vehicle parts-bottom edges of the cabin capsule- makes them susceptible to damage. 

A damaged Tesla model 3 rocker panel exposes other parts of the vehicle to harm.

Therefore, it is necessary to know how to fix the issue and have it done as soon as possible.

Repair for a damaged Tesla model 3 rocker panel depends on the type and severity of the damage. Paint damage will require repainting, while you can fix dents with fill-up repair. Total replacement of the panel is the ideal fix for significant damages

In this article, you’ll learn how to identify a damaged Tesla model 3 rocker panel.

Also, you’ll see the importance of this structure and how much it costs to repair/replace it.

Can You Repair a Damaged Rocker Panel for Tesla Model 3?

Tesla Model 3 Rocker Panel Repair

If the issue is not severe, you can repair a damaged rocker panel for the Tesla model 3.

You can fix some of these damages using DIY procedures, while others are better for professionals.

Rocker panels are susceptible to various damages which require different repair methods. The intensity of the problem determines whether you can repair it or not.

One of the common harms that Tesla model 3 rocker panels face is paint damage. These parts are very close to the ground.

Hence, rocks and other particles easily chip off their paints. You can quickly repair paint damage by repainting the affected part. 

Below are some simple steps you can follow to repaint your Tesla model 3 rocker panel:

#1. Get Your Tools

You’ll need the following tools for this procedure:

  • Paint 
  • Spray primer
  • Spray clear coat
  • Grease remover
  • Scuffing pad
  • Towel
  • Sandpaper
  • Paper
  • Tape (masking)

#2. Cleaning and Repainting

  • Clean the affected part of the rocker panel with wax and grease remover. Then, brush it with the scuff pad.
  • Use paper and masking tape to mask off the surrounding areas to avoid painting them.
  • Sand the area with sandpaper and remove the dust using the cleaning towel.
  • Prime the panel in two light coats with the primer.
  • Let the primer dry for 10-20 minutes, and apply the factory-matched paint.
  • Apply the clear coat in multiple light coats when the paint has dried for about 10 minutes. Do so from a distance of eight inches.
  • Let the clear coat dry for about 10 minutes, and remove the masking. 

Another repairable damage to Tesla model 3 rocker panels is denting resulting from collisions. 

Again, you can easily fix this problem using dent fill-up repair procedures. Rusts and corrosion are the biggest threats to rocker panels.

Unfortunately, these damages are not easily repairable, and the recommended fix for the affected panel is a total replacement.

Rocker panel replacements come in two types: welded and slip-on rocker panels.

The extent of damage determines the type of panel replacement you’ll need for your vehicle.

Significant rust requires welded panels, while cosmetic, slip-on panels will work for lesser corrosion damages.

The table below gives the differences between these panel replacements:

Welded PanelsSlip-on Panels
Completely replace the original panels.Overtop existing panels.
Require welding to stay in place.Rivets, screws, or adhesives can hold these panels in place. 
They are more expensive because they require more materials to manufacture.Cost less than welded panels.
Offer a more permanent solution.They can come loose at any time and require constant checks.

Repairing a damaged Tesla model 3 rocker panel is expensive and involves significant labor.

Therefore, maintaining these parts will prevent damage and save you a lot of stress.

Inspect them constantly and address anything that might lead to rust and corrosion. You can also protect them against paint damage with a paint protection film.

How Do You Know If Your Model 3 Tesla Rocker Panel Is Damaged?

Rocker panels are physical parts of a car. Therefore, damages to them are primarily clear and visible.

The harms themselves are the signs of damaged panels. Visible rust on a Tesla Model 3 rocker panel shows it is damaged.

Slight rust on the surface may be a sign of significant corrosion in the remote part of the panel.

Like rusts, dents are visible signs of harm to rocker panels. You can tell a panel is damaged if it has hollows or holes.

Also, scratches and clear coat peelings on rocker panels signify paint damage. Rust can also cause the panel paint to peel off.

Aside from the visible impairments on the rocker panel, structural deformations on the vehicle can also signify damage.

Rocker panels prevent sagging in the middle portion of vehicles. Hence, if your Tesla model 3 sags in the middle, there is a chance that its rocker panels are damaged.

Furthermore, you can tell your Tesla 3 rocker panel is damaged if you can’t attach a jack to your vehicle. A compromised panel makes it challenging to use jacks.

A telltale sign of a damaged rocker panel is exhaust in the car’s cabin. Rust holes in panels let fumes into the vehicle.

Sometimes, rocker panel issues may not be so visible. It is, therefore, advisable to check these components constantly and thoroughly for damages.

Is It Difficult To Repair/Replace the Rocker Panel for Your Model 3 Tesla?

Repairing or replacing a rocker panel on Tesla 3 is a difficult task. It may be easy for professionals, but for DIYers with no prior experience, it’s an almost impossible job. 

Several factors are involved in fixing rocker panels, and these elements significantly determine the difficulty level of the job.

One of these factors is the type or extent of the damage. For example, you can easily fix minor rocker panel issues, while extensive damages are significantly more challenging to remedy.

For instance, paint damages require just a few steps of priming and repainting.

Conversely, fixing rust or collision impact will take considerable time, labor, and resources.

Repairing or replacing the rocker panel for Tesla Model 3 is also time intensive. Minor issues take hours to fix, and more extensive damages may take days to repair.

Getting the right part for repair or replacement is another constraint in fixing model 3 Tesla rocker panels.

Tesla sets high standards for its vehicles’ body repair and replacements.

Only approved body shops with strict requirements have genuine parts, which are usually expensive to procure.

You may want to use salvaged or non-original parts, but they do not meet Tesla’s quality standards.

In addition, using such replacements will void your vehicle’s warranty. The actual procedures for repairing or replacing rocker panels are laborious.

While professionals may find these steps easy, it will take a lot of work for amateurs.

In essence, fixing damaged rocker panels for model 3 Tesla is difficult but possible. If you don’t know how to, take your car to a professional for this service.

You should contact authorized Tesla repair centers for fixes to your vehicle. Doing otherwise might void the terms of your car’s warranty.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair/Replace a Model 3 Rocker Panel?

The cost of repairing a Tesla model 3 rocker panel depends on the type and extent of the damage. 

For example, fixing minor paint damages and dents will cost less than repairing more significant panel issues.

That said, repairing damaged Tesla rocker panels can cost you $1,000. Replacing these parts is more expensive and can cost up to $6,000.

This fix requires labor and a greater part of the cost goes for workmanship. Therefore, you will spend less if you can repair or replace your vehicle’s rocker panels.

However, you will need to buy the equipment if you don’t already have them, which will add to the cost.

It is important to note that the prices here are estimated rather than fixed.

Tesla-approved body shops have different costs for fixing rocker panels, and you may spend more or less.

Can You Drive Your Tesla Model 3 Without a Rocker Panel?

Rocker panels are vital for a Tesla Model 3 as they perform many crucial functions.

While you can drive your vehicle without these features, there are reasons why it is not safe to do so.

Firstly, rocker panels reinforce the body of the vehicle. Without them, your car will sag in the middle. 

Furthermore, driving in such a state will probably make the vehicle’s underbelly rub on the ground.

Also, these panels increase the vehicle’s structural toughness and make it safer. In a collision, a car without these parts will suffer more damage.

There are chances that exhaust fumes can enter a vehicle without rocker panels. Driving with fumes in the cabin is potentially toxic.

They also serve as shock absorbers. As a result, your Tesla Model 3 will be more sensitive to bumps without them.

Rocker panels protect the vehicle from debris, water, and mud. Driving without them exposes your car to these elements, which can result in rusting of other parts.

It is also noteworthy that rocker panels provide support for passengers getting in and off the vehicle.

A Tesla model 3 without these parts will lack such assistance. Furthermore, rocker panels facilitate the use of a jack.

Therefore, it will be challenging to use this device when driving your vehicle without its rocker panel.

Summarily, driving your Tesla Model 3 without rocker panels is unsafe. If you damage these parts, ensure you repair or replace them before using the vehicle.

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