How To Prep To Paint Rocker Panel With Bedliner In 4 Simple Steps?

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Written By Waylon Joe

Hey, It’s Waylon “Joe” Kite here. I am a West Virginia native and a die-hard pickup truck fan. My story with trucks started with my dad’s 1989 Ford F-150, and it's still going on. I'll share all my trucking experiences (both great and gross ones) with you. I have a garage full of tools to fix and renovate trucks and a freezer full of ales. Do you want to join me?

Can you name an essential part of your car that is probably the most ignored? It’s rocker panels – the unity creator of your car’s front and back features.

Rocker panels are usually located under the door close to the ground. For this reason, it gets damaged and rusty very often, and once the rust is created, it will not stop.

But is there any solution to this problem than replacing the panel? Well, replacing it every time is impossible, as it costs quite a lot of money.

How about applying a spray-in bedliner on your rocker panel? But before that, you need to know how to prep to paint the rocker panel with the bedliner.

Today we will guide you through the simple step-by-step procedure, and you can do it yourself. Stay with us till the end because there will be more about Rocker Panel.

How Do Rocker Panels Get Damaged?

In the middle of 19’s, cars had a unibody structure, meaning the parts were not appropriately attached. Rocker panels then came to overcome this problem, bringing a revolutionary change.

You will notice a rocker panel at the bottom edge that runs along with the car length to protect the cabin. Well, we may not pay the attention it deserves; it’s the only option to connect your car’s rear and front parts.

Today, modern cars and vehicles contain rocker panel that ensures safety and solid structure. Thanks to it, you can be safe inside your vehicle without getting harmed.

But as we rarely notice it, we notice the damage of a rocker panel not so early. So what can cause damage to rocker panels?

They stay too close to the road or ground, and while driving, they can be hit with several things or hit by rocks. There are several other distinct reasons, are off-road driving, corrosion, or accidents.

Therefore, they get dents, scratches, tears, fading color, and many other cracks. If you are a truck or car lover, you will definitely not like any parts of your truck does not look good.

Also, as the rocker panel plays a significant role, they need proper maintenance, and every car owner should protect them.

How To Prep To Paint Rocker Panel With Bedliner 4 Easy Step

Paint the rocker panel with a bedliner is probably the wisest decision you have ever made. It is the safest way to put some new color on your rocker panel and ensure the highest protection.

Spray-in bedliners now come in different colors so that they can match any color of the truck. The finish is as well very smooth and nicely textured.

On the other hand, paint can easily remove or get scratched, and any rust underneath gets bubbles under the color. But with a bedliner, these problems will not bother you anymore. 

It is a reason we always consider bedliner the best option instead of some paint.

But slight preparation is needed before applying a spray-in bedliner on your rocker panel, bumper, or other parts. With the proper preparation, you can get the desired finish you want to see on your car parts.

Gather All Required Supplies

Before starting the preparation, you should assemble certain things that will make your job far more manageable. After all, once you start, you will not like it to stop halfway if you do not have all the necessary supplies.

We have enlisted all required supplies for you, so you do not need to waste time listing them.

  • Bedliner.
  • Latex gloves.
  • Sandpaper.
  • 1″ painter tape.
  • A heavy-duty cleaner and primer.
  • Soap.
  • Brush.

If you have all the necessary tools gathered, let’s get the job done with these simple steps.

Step One: Covering Other Areas With Painter Tape

The first step to prep to paint the rocker panel with the bedliner is to cover the areas around the rocker panel with painter’s tape. When applying a bedliner, other parts can get the paint mistakenly – no one wants that.

Since you only want to paint your rocker panel, you should cover beside areas with painter’s tape. Be careful and cover as much as possible to avoid mess.

Use automotive masking tapes – it’s safe for your car. But if you want to save money, you can use some old newspaper for covering; newspapers are an excellent alternative to painter’s tape.

Step Two: Cleaning The Part

Now you are done with covering the areas, it’s time for cleansing. You can also do it before using painter’s tape – it’s totally up to you.

Firstly start with plain water and soap to clean the part. Take time to remove all the dirt and mud because the rocker panel gets much dirty as they are close to the roads.

Then you can apply some heavy-duty cleaner or de-greaser cleanser to remove the grease, oils, or hard dirt.

The cleansing part is essential for the smooth finish of the bedliner coating. So, be very careful and patient.

Step Three: Roughing The Surface With Sandpaper

Sandpaper is the most useful for removing the existing paint or rust. It helps the surface to become aggressive, or you can say rough.

This process will take a good time and your muscle’s strength. You can take a break while doing this and start again.

But do not leave any part if you want a beautiful painting finish.

Step Four: Time For Primer

You get your rough surface on the rocker panel with all rust and paint that has come off. Now they need a wipe for the last cleaning.

Then use a good quality primer so the bedliner can attach to the surface quickly. You may need to give 2 or 3 coats of primer. It helps any metal to connect with paint or bedliner

Now that all your preparations are done, your rocker panel is ready for getting the bedliner coating.

How To Apply Bedliner On Rocker Panel?

It’s essential to focus on preparation to ensure that your bedliner texture becomes nice and smooth with a beautiful finish. And we are sure the prep part went super well following the 4 steps.

Now, let’s apply the spray-in-bedliner. Follow my steps.

  1. Put on your hand gloves and take your spray-in bedliner.
  2. Mix the bedliner by shaking it well or following the instruction in the manual book.
  3. Start applying the first coat, and do not leave any part. Be very careful while using.
  4. After the first coat, leave the panel to dry out totally.
  5. Once it dries out, go for the second coating.
  6. Repeat the same reapplying process until you get the desired color you want to put on your panel.

This bedliner coating process will take several hours. So have some patience.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Everyone makes a few common mistakes or faults while dealing with rocker panels with bedliners. We are highlighting them for you so you don’t repeat them.

Mismatching The Bedliner Color With The Existing Car Paint

It is a silly mistake, but people often do it because of carelessness. When buying a bedliner, be sure about the color; a mismatched color will look very odd.

Check it while buying because no return policy will remain once you spray the bedliner. And we all know that spray-in bedliners are so costly.

Lacking patience

You must have patience if you want a new look on your rocker panel. You can get into trouble if you are in a rush or hurry. Try not to mess with the things and the supplies, and gather them first so you can use them anytime when needed.

Choosing The Right Weather

Check the weather first if you are doing the process outside of your garage. With cloudy or rainy weather, you cannot do it properly.

Read Also: 5 Common Retrax Bed Cover Problems

Which Is The Better Way: Replacing A Rocker Panel Or Bedliner

When we are talking about applying bedliner on rocker panels to avoid damage and rust, some may consider replacing them.

So, which is the best way – replacing a rocker panel or applying a bedliner?

The reply to this question depends on some criteria.

  • Firstly, how much damaging level of your rocker panel? If your rocker has broken totally or partially, then the best thing would be to replace it without considering the cost. A bedliner can not fix the broken parts.
  • If your panel is fine and gets some dents, rust, or scratches, then a bedliner is the best option. It helps to keep the new color for years and protects them from off-road usage or UV rays.

Replacing a rocker panel can cost around $2000 or more, whereas a spray-in bedliner costs around $700.

However, if you are still interested in spending on replacing the panel and you can afford that, go for it. Otherwise, nothing can be the best option than a bedliner.

Read also: Bakflip Mx4 Problems


How long bedliner last?

Bedliners usually last long, for one or two years. It usually damages due to weather (sun, rain, etc.) and how you use the car.

Is bedliner waterproof?

Bedliners are both water-proof and weather-proof. They have the best properties while providing your truck with maximum protection.

Read also: How To Patch A Hole In A Tonneau Cover?

Final Thought

Rocker panels are like some of those ignored parts essential for the car. They are parts that hold the rear and front parts together, thus ensuring safety.

Therefore, protecting them is paramount, and what can be best than applying a bedliner on them?

Bedliner has multiple purposes while protecting, and nothing can work better than these. But for the beautiful finish, several steps need to be taken.
But now you know How To Prep To Paint Rocker Panel With Bedliner. So, follow them and get the right bedliner paint-finish on the rocker panel.

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