The Motorists Guide to Buying Wings and Quarter Panels

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The Motorist's Guide to Buying Wings and Quarter Panels

Damage to a car's body, whether from rust, corrosion, or impact, can also mar the owner's self-concept. However, if a car owner ever needs to replace body parts for their car, it need not become a serious problem. Both wings and quarter panels, amongst others, are readily available online for virtually all makes and models, with eBay listing a good selection at unbeatable prices.

Car wings and quarter panel sections are dismountable but to what degree depends on how they were initially fixed to the frame. The complexity of the operation varies somewhat between make and model. Depending on how the frame and body are held together on a particular car, any mechanically experienced person with a good understanding of how the body of their car is constructed and the necessary skills could competently perform the procedure.

For wings and quarter panel replacements, the car owner may source the matching parts from wherever is most convenient; however, eBay represents one of the most cost effective places from which to order. A driver just needs the relevant knowledge to ensure they order the right parts for their car and the best way to perform the replacement operation.

What Wings and Quarter Panels Are

On a four door sedan, the quarter panel is generally regarded as the rear panel, extending from immediately above the wheel well, up beside the rear window, and down to the trunk and bumper. This principle applies to other types of vehicles also, with differences lying in the design features of the various makes and models.

The front panels, commonly called wings, refer to the two front panels of the car adjoining the front doors, immediately above the wheel wells, extending up to the bonnet, and reaching forward to the bumper. The panels are called wings no doubt because of the aerodynamic flanges on certain models that protrude horizontally along the centre plane of the panel.

Quarter Panels

Quarter panels are normally made of sheet metal but can be made of fibre-reinforced plastic or fibreglass. The disassembly of the panel is straightforward on most modern vehicles but quite difficult on others. On models where the quarter panel is welded onto the framework, the panel needs to be cut free. Such a large scale and specialised operation may make repair a better option if damage is only light.

Car Wings

Car wings are also made of sheet metal, fibreglass, or fibre-reinforced plastic. If these panels attach to the frame with screws, bolts and clamps, there should be no problem in disassembling it to replace with another panel. If the panel is welded on however, then the same applies to this panel as the rear ones—repair of the existing panel may be the preferred option.

Purchasing Considerations

Wings and quarter panels, as with most other car body parts, are made for specific car makes and models. For the buyer who wants to restore their car back to manufacturing standards, the challenge is to locate an original equipment manufacturers (OEM) panel for their make, model, and colour vehicle.

An OEM panel restores the car back to its original structural integrity. An aftermarket panel may do this also, but determining this one way or the other could be a headache. The other disadvantage of aftermarket panels is that a customer needs to go through the colour matching routine. Although this is important for replacing any panel on an old car that is faded, OEM panel replacements on new cars usually require no colour matching.

It is advisable, when possible, to always buy new panels. Second-hand panels may be fine, but there is no way of verifying their history, especially when purchasing online. On eBay, the filter system that enables them to search by make, model, and condition simplifies the buyer's task of finding the right panel. Another bonus is that a buyer can search for items listed by top-rated sellers to maximise their likelihood of receiving quality and honest service. Below are some factors that customers would be wise to think about before committing to buying panels for their car.

Fit

The obvious number one anxiety for any customer wishing to replace the front or rear panels on their car is the fit. Improper fits are possible with cheaper aftermarket options, even when the correct part has been purchased. Although rare, the possibility is enough to steer many buyers away from going down the aftermarket path.

Cost

The expense of a new car part weighs in heavily for most people, but this concern must be tempered with the quality of the final job. It is never a good option to skimp on quality when choosing car body parts. If cost is a major issue, it is advisable to research an aftermarket company with a highly reputable image and source the relevant panel from this manufacturer.

Safety

Structural differences come into play when comparing panels that have suffered no impact damage to those that have. Cars that have been involved in accidents and have had their panels hammered back into shape, are always going to be structurally weaker. It is primarily the chassis, however, that is key to structural soundness. Any vehicle that has suffered distortion to the chassis is always going to be compromised, and this is what raises questions of personal and family safety.

Choosing New Wings and Quarter Panels

Making a purchasing choice on a new wing or quarter panel should be straightforward, as it is simply a case of finding a part with matching specifications to your car's make and model. Although there are both original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and aftermarket panels available that may fit perfectly, it is advisable to choose the OEM option as this return the car to its original state. The cost is often significantly higher, but for many, the benefits are worth it.

On the other hand, it is worth keeping in mind that some high quality aftermarket manufactures produce exceptionally high standard parts. This may occasionally result in an aftermarket panel that is superior to the original. In this case, a customer needs to know which aftermarket companies to look for. Additionally, if a car owner wishes to make modifications to their vehicle, an aftermarket panel is the only option for them, as it usually allows them a range to choose from and enables the desired modifications.

OEM or Aftermarket

There are benefits and disadvantages in both OEM and aftermarket wings and quarter panels. The below chart illustrates some of each and may help a customer assess the most important points for them.

Type of Parts

Advantages

Disadvantages

OEM

Integrity of original parts; higher compatibility rates; serviceability benefits

More expensive

Aftermarket

More affordable; more options

Lower compatibility rates; possibly inferior quality

Many people who replace their car's wings and quarter panels use OEM or aftermarket considerations as their primary determining factor. If a customer chooses aftermarket, it is recommended they investigate the company's reputation to glean something of the quality they can expect.

Installing Wings and Quarter Panels

Before a customer orders their wings or quarter panels, they first of all need to determine how they are mounted on their car. If they are welded on, as is the case in many older cars, then the panel replacement procedure should be left to auto car body professionals as this is a specialised and complicated operation. If, however, the panels are simply attached by bolts and clamps, then the cluey car owner should be able to dismantle the old panel and restore a new one in place. With the assistance of a second person, this job could be completed with perhaps a moderate degree of difficulty.

The front wing panels are more commonly the ones that are bolted in and can be removed and replaced more easily. Rear panels are often welded, but not always, so it is imperative to check this before making an order for a replacement. The difference between bolted or welded may well make the difference between ordering a new panel and repairing the existing one.

How to Buy Wings and Quarter Panels on eBay

Purchasing wings and quarter panels on eBay is made simple with the selection filters as already mentioned. If using keyword searches, you could enter your car make and model details including the part you are searching for, such as Ford Focus wings. Purchasing car body parts is not a cheap exercise, so it is important to be methodical in the decision making process.

When you have found your sought after panel, go through the seller's listing in detail, paying special attention to any information pertaining to the items physical specifications. Determine if the seller has an eBay store where more items of a similar nature may be found. Also, it is important to check the seller's terms of sale and returns policy in case of any problems. Delivery options are worth careful consideration too because of their likely size.

Having cross referenced any listed information as needed with verifiable auto parts specialists, determine your potential seller's history with previous customers. This is simply a case of checking their customer feedback page and paying attention to their eBay seller rating.

Conclusion

The car owner's choice of wings and quarter panels may be straightforward enough, depending on what they wish to achieve. Irrespective of whether OEM or aftermarket panels are chosen, the final result should restore the vehicle to an "as new" condition. Whether an entire new set or the replacement of just one panel is necessary, the right parts are likely to be found on eBay, which lists wings and quarter panels for virtually every make and model on the road.

The circumstances that may lead someone to purchase wings and quarter panels for their car are quite varied, but they are most commonly due to either wear, associated with rust and corrosion, or impact damage. In the latter case, the car owner has already undergone a stressful situation in regards to the incident that caused the damage. The last thing the owner needs is to be confronted with further problems arising from having ordered incompatible wings and quarter panels, so prudence here is the key to success.

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