Covers and panels are important parts of a vehicle's body. They're both cosmetic and functional parts. In this guide, we'll discuss the differences between both types of auto body parts.
What Is A Ford Cover?
A Ford cover is a complete part that covers an entire assembly. Bumper covers are great examples. A bumper cover is an auto body part that's fitted over the impact bar. It's designed to:
- Cover the front end or the rear end of the vehicle
- Absorb some of the impact in a crash
A bumper cover has a complex design that may:
- Fit around the headlight and grille
- Come with fog light holes, parking sensors, etc.
In other words, a cover is a body panel that doesn't only cover a part or assembly. It also serves a functional purpose. In the case of bumper covers, these parts offer some protection in a crash.
What Is A Ford Panel?
A panel is a "supporting" auto body part. It's not an entire part. Rather, it's a component within an assembly that's meant to cover something. For example, this Ford trim panel covers part of the lower grille on 2015-2017 Ford F-150 trucks.
A panel can also be an exterior auto body part, such as a car hood. These panels are made of stamped steel and they're painted in the same color as the rest of the car's body.
There are many different types of panels, including:
- Car hood
- Valance/air dam panel (such as this one)
- Cowl panel
- Roof panel
- Rocker panel
- Wheel arch panel
Some panels are made of stamped steel. Others are made of plastic, or a reinforced composite. For example, a roof panel is a part of the vehicle's body. That means it's made of the same material as the rest of the vehicle's body. Usually roof panels are made of stamped steel. An example of a plastic panel would be wheel well cover inside a car trunk or suv cargo area.
The Difference Between A Cover And A Panel
A cover is a complete part that:
- Covers an assembly
- Serves a functional purpose
A panel is a "supporting" part which purpose is to cover something. A panel doesn't cover an entire assembly, but rather only a part of it. Many assemblies come with holes or exposed areas that need a "finishing piece" to be made complete. That's where panels come in.
Replacing A Cover Vs. Replacing A Panel
Replacing a cover can be a time-consuming task. Depending on your Ford model and the type of cover you're replacing, you may need to:
- Remove other parts to make the screws accessible and to make the cover easier to remove
- Unscrew/unbolt/unclip the cover
Replacing a panel is usually easier than replacing a cover. It depends on the panel you're replacing, though. For example, roof panels are very hard to replace. It's a big job best left to professionals. But what if we're talking about splash shields, door panels, or grille panels, for example? The replacement process is usually easy and straightforward.
In some cases, all you need to do is:
- Unclip or unscrew a panel and remove it
- Clip or screw the new panel in place
Some panel replacement processes are a tad bit more complicated. For example, if you want to replace a cowl panel on some cars, you would need to:
- Remove the wiper arms
- Remove some weather strip
- Remove a bunch of screws
In many cases, replacing a panel is easily something you can do at home with the right tools.
Why You Should Always Use OEM Ford Covers And Panels
Do you want the replacement process to go as smoothly as possible? Do you want your new cover or panel to last as long as possible? Get an OEM replacement part. It's because:
- OEM panels have the right dimensions
- This guarantees perfect fitment, which means installation will be easier.
- Many aftermarket manufacturers don't design their covers and panels with OE specs. If you use an ill-fitting cover or panel, installation won't be easy. Most likely you would need to alter the panel or a related part to get it to fit. This can be a huge problem. Many panels provide protection from dirt, moisture, and debris. An ill-fitting panel won't be able to serve its purpose well.
- Ford builds its panels with high quality materials.
- This ensures longevity and durability.
- Many aftermarket manufacturers cut corners with low grade materials.
If you're hesitant to use OEM replacement panels because they're expensive, we have good news. You can save a lot of money on genuine OEM parts with us! We offer wholesale pricing and fast shipping. Look up your Ford to see all the panels and covers we have available for your vehicle.