Body Side Molding

Body Side Molding

There are lots of reasons to install body side molding on your car or truck. Some may want body side molding for protection, helping to avoid those nasty door dings we seem to get when we park at a shopping center. Others may want to install body side molding just for looks alone, seeking to upgrade the appearance of the outside of the vehicle.

In either case, once you have found the molding that you like it is important that the installation process goes smoothly, and that you get your molding installed perfectly straight. Otherwise having wavy moldings on the side of your vehicle will make your vehicle appear to be dented, or the panels appear misaligned.

So here’s what you need to do in order to install body side molding professionally. You will need some masking tape, rubbing alcohol, anvil pruning shears (garden type), a grease pencil, a ruler, and a couple of clean towels.

First, use rubbing alcohol to clean the area where we are going to place the molding. Do not skip this step. Even brand new vehicles need to be cleaned in the same way. You need to remove any waxes or oils that are on the surface. This is to ensure a proper bond between the adhesive and the vehicle. Wipe on a generous amount of rubbing alcohol with a clean towel, and use another clean towel to remove the residue left behind by the alcohol.

Next, locate a spot on the door of the vehicle (usually the highest point) and make a mark with a grease pencil. Use your masking tape to create a horizontal line in this area. Tack the masking tape at the front of the vehicle where you are installing the molding and roll off enough masking tape so you can reach the other end. Keep the masking tape taunt like you would a string or chalk line. Keeping the tape tight, tack the other end of the masking tape (at the same height as your grease pencil mark) at the back of the vehicle. You can use your ruler here to verify your measurement. Then, press down all masking tape and repeat on the other side of the vehicle.

Next, cut your body side molding to fit, and to install, remove the release liner backing from the adhesive and follow along your masking tape line to get your molding perfectly straight. Make sure you bevel your molding 45 degrees at the front of each door so not to interfere with the door jam areas.

Once cut and pressed onto the vehicle, take a clean rag in the palm of your hand and press the molding firmly onto the vehicle. Make sure you do this step twice so to ensure full contact with the vehicle.

Remove your masking tape and clean up any residue left behind.

Thats it! Once installed you will have protection from dents and dings as well as upgrading the appearance of the outside of the vehicle.


About the Author

Mike Briglia is the owner of Custom Auto Trim, an auto accessories company based out of San Diego CA. Find more information on body side molding at