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How To Fit A Car Body Kit

Updated on July 22, 2010
BMW 3-Series Raven kit from Ibherdesign
BMW 3-Series Raven kit from Ibherdesign

Fitting a bodykit to your motor is one of the biggest modifications you can perform to the bodywork of your motor. Unfortunately an easy to follow guide about how to fit a styling kit is hard to come by, so I decided to write one myself. This guide shows how to fit a body kit to your car.

Whilst the majority of people may consider a styling kit to be the reserve of modified car enthusiasts congregating around their cars on a Friday evening in Pizza Hut car park, the installing of bodystyling kit is in reality a lot more common than you may anticipate. In fact, a body styling kit is more often than not on the extras menu when buying a new motor, from virtually every manufacturer. From the Ford Focus with a body styling kit upgrade available on the Zetec S model, to the Range Rover sport with it's optional deeper side skirt kit. Body styling kits are available for virtually every motor on the road.

For those who fit an aftermarket styling kit (a bumper and skirt kit not supplied by the motor manufacturer), many will choose to take on the task of installing it themselves, primarily because they can save a substantial amount of money by doing so. Here, we examine how this is done.

Important notice about installing styling kits

Please ensure that you only tackle the job of adding a body styling kit yourself if you have the required level of competency, as once altered in any way, a body styling kit cannot often be returned to whoever you bought it from. Remember that if you prep, prime, paint, drill into, install, or modify the part in any way whatsoever, you often assume full liability for the part and may jeopardise your ability to install the part appropriately.

Audi Q7 Kaiser kit from Ibherdesign
Audi Q7 Kaiser kit from Ibherdesign

Fitting of complete body kit bumpers

Remove all stock bumpers, vehicle plates, mud flaps stock indicators and side skirts that are being replaced, or they may obstruct the fitting of the bodykit. Bear in mind that the pieces you have removed can be valuable, so list them on an auction site or stash the parts just in case you need to revert your car to stock.

Offer up to the car the panels. It is recommended that at least two people help with this part of the fitting. To avoid marks caused when pre-installing ensure you tape off appropriate paintwork. Non standard parts often need to be trimmed to guarantee a close fit. Bear in mind if the car on which the modification parts are being installed has been in a crash or been subject any other alteration whatsoever, it may increase the complexity of the fitment process.

Take off the aftermarket kit from the vehicle. At this point, the body kit parts can be colour coded if preferred, in which case please view the paint information below. Alternatively, please take note of the further installation steps and prepare the parts for spraying retrospectively to the fitting process.

If grille mesh has been purchased for the styling kit, you should read the instructions further on in the mesh section and proceed with the remaining installation instructions. Failing that, please skip this step.

After parts are attached appropriately, mark holes to be drilled during the last fitting stage. This is recommended with a permanent felt pen. Body kits normally fix on similar bracket points as OEM parts. For side valances, usual fixing locators are in the wheel arch cavities. Fixing locators for the back panel can usually be located on each quarter panel, under the tailgate, and positioned between the rear lights.

When appropriate holes are located, take off the third party bumper. Then, utilise a drill bit to drill appropriate holes. Take extreme caution when drilling to avoid damaging your goods.

Re-align the panel back on the car. It is suggested that at least two people take part in this exercise. Reset the created holes to the aligned position and employ standard fixing bolts to fix the panel. Do not over-tighten fixings, but fix the panel up enough to ensure a perfect fit. In many cases fixing might need the use of strong tape, epoxy and counter-sunk screws.

Alfa Romeo 147 Samurai kit from Carzone Specials
Alfa Romeo 147 Samurai kit from Carzone Specials

Fitting bumper spoilers and extensions

Tape off the part of the stock part where the extension is going to be fixed. Offer up the spoiler  to guarantee positioning, then take off the extension including tape stuck the standard bumper.

Now, the parts can be colour coded if preferred, in such a case we encourage you to refer to the paint section further down. Alternatively, you may execute the further installation procedures and prep the panels for spraying following the installation.

If radiator mesh has been sent alongside the body kit, follow the steps below in the mesh section and proceed with the remaining installation processes. Alternatively, you can forego this stage.

Wipe the part of the panel on which the spoiler is due to be fixed. A grease cleaner is recommended for this purpose. Apply the same step to wipe the inner of the extensions being fitted.

Use high grab double-sided tape to fix the extension to the standard bumper. Usually, the width of fixing tape suggested is ½ inch wide. Run the tape across the inner of the extension, then line up and secure the lip to the bumper.

Utilise suitable screws under the arch areas to reinforce the fixing of the lip to the standard part. We recommend two screws in each corner of the extension.

Mercedes SL body kit from Prestige, designed to replicate the SLR McLaren
Mercedes SL body kit from Prestige, designed to replicate the SLR McLaren

Preparation for spraying

Dry sand the panel using 300 rated sandpaper. Sand until any small imperfections are filed away. If any gaps exist in the panel, fill them with body filler and allow to set.

Gently file the treated parts of the bumper. Sand until the bumper has a perfectly even sheen.

Before adding primer, the parts should be cleaned. Apply acetone and wipe the items all over.

The parts are prepared for primer once these stages are complete. Once the priming solution has been applied, give time for the primer to set. Then wet sand the panel. At this stage, the items are prepared for paint.

BMW X6 body kit from Prestige
BMW X6 body kit from Prestige

Adding mesh to aftermarket bumpers

Remove the part to which bumper mesh is planned to be installed. It is sometimes necessary to adapt the aluminium so it can fix ideally in any area of the bumper and skirt kit.

Bend the edges of the mesh to an angle to provide a lip roughly an inch wide to adhere to the inner of the side skirt.

Fix the aluminium to the body kit panel using the lip made in the previous step as a area of adherence. After executing the gluing process, you should allow enough time for the bonding agent to set prior to fixing the panel on the vehicle.


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    • profile image

      Mico 6 years ago

      I always like nice wheels.

    • profile image

      Car Tuning and Styling 7 years ago

      Having set up my own business for Car Tuning and Styling, I have to say I am very impressed with this article. You have summed up the main aspects involved with car body styling in a very clear, coherent manner. It is very easy to understand and follow and it allows anyone who wishes to upgrade the exterior of their car to follow your instructions, implement your advice and leave them very happy

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Well, it sounds like you are passionate about your topic and really know your stuff. Interesting read. Congrats to you on the hubnugget nomination, and good luck.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Vote and promote your hub to be in the top 5 of the Hubnuggets! Congrats for being a Hubnugget wannabe! Go, go, go!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      I am not car savvy either but this is a good hub for those that are/ Congrats on your nomination.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      Have to admit this is way over my head, since I'm not really that car savvy. However, Congrats on being a nominee in this week's HubNuggets Wannabes contest. Good luck to you!