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The Ultimate Comparison of Side Skirts and Rocker Panels

21 Jun 2024

When it comes to car modifications and bodywork, terms like "side skirts" and "rocker panels" often come up. While they may seem similar, they serve different purposes and are distinct components of a vehicle. Let's break down the differences with some visuals.

What Are Side Skirts?

Side skirts are aerodynamic components added to the sides of a car, just below the doors. Their primary function is to improve the vehicle's aerodynamics by reducing air flow underneath the car, which can decrease drag and increase stability at high speeds.

Side skirts enhance the sporty look and improve aerodynamics.

Key Features of Side Skirts:

  • Aerodynamic Improvement: By limiting air flow beneath the car, side skirts help in reducing drag.
  • Enhanced Appearance: Often, side skirts are used to give the car a lower and sportier look.
  • Material: Commonly made from lightweight materials like fiberglass, carbon fiber, or plastic.


What Are Rocker Panels?

Rocker panels, on the other hand, are structural parts of the vehicle’s body, located along the sides between the front and rear wheel wells. They are part of the car's frame and provide crucial support to the vehicle's structure, contributing to overall rigidity and safety.

Rocker panels are integral to the car's structural integrity.

Key Features of Rocker Panels:
  • Structural Support: They contribute to the vehicle's frame strength and rigidity.
  • Safety: Rocker panels help protect the car’s sides in the event of a collision.
  • Material: Usually made from strong metals like steel or aluminum to ensure durability.

Visual Comparison

To help visualize the difference, here's a side-by-side image comparison:

Left: Side skirts add a sporty look. Right: Rocker panels are integral for structural integrity.


While side skirts and rocker panels might be located in similar areas on a car, their functions are quite different. Side skirts are primarily for aerodynamic enhancement and visual appeal, whereas rocker panels are crucial for the structural integrity and safety of the vehicle. Understanding these differences can help in making informed decisions about car modifications and maintenance.

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