Rocker panels are the steel sections that run on the sides of your Porsche between the wells of the front wheel and the back wheel just under the door. Rocker panels exist for many reasons. One of those is safety. Unlike the front and back areas that are designed to crumple in the event of an accident to absorb the impact, the cabin of the car should ordinarily not deform in case of an accident. Rocker panels play a significant part in reinforcing the car cabin thus keeping the people inside safe. Rocker panels also improve the overall structural integrity of the body of the car. Over time, it might be necessary to change the rocker panels of your Porsche under the following circumstances.
Structural damage to rocker panels can happen due to a variety of reasons. One common reason is if the car has been involved in an accident that damaged the rocker panels. That would mean that the panels no longer have the structural integrity to perform their function. The other common reason for damage to the rocker panels could be from road debris. Sometimes, uneven surfaces, objects like rocks on the road or even curbs can damage the underside of the car and especially the rocker panels. Normally, this kind of damage leaves the panels bent and it is best to have them replaced under those circumstances.
Because rocker panels are made of steel, they can sometimes be affected by rust. This happens especially in older cars and part of restoring an older car is replacing the rusted rocker panels. Rust not only destroys the structural integrity of the panels but may also make the car look unsightly and old. Changing rusted rocker panels usually makes the car look new and shiny again.
In some models, a plastic trimming is placed on the outer side of the rocker panels in order to make the car more aesthetically appealing. This plastic cover however may prevent proper cleaning of the inner rocker panel so the moisture from rain, dirt and grime can accumulate underneath the plastic cover and on the rocker panel itself. The result is severe corrosion of the panel which, even though it might not be visible, will severely compromise the structural integrity of the rocker panel. This then makes it impossible for the panel to perform its safety role. If your car has a plastic cover on top of the rocker panel, it is wise to periodically remove the cover and inspect the panel underneath. If severely corroded, you should consider replacing it.
These are some of the reasons why you could need to replace your rocker panels. For some models, a damaged or rusted rocker panel will be highly visible. In some models, you might need to check underneath the plastic trimmings to see the state of the panel. If you are not sure if the panel needs changing, check with a car body specialist who will advise on the state of your rocker panels.