How to Replace a Car's Sill Plate

What You'll Need
Tape measure
Replacement sill plate
Flexible metal putty knife
Work gloves
Screwdriver set

The sill plate on a car is found where the door meets the frame when it is closed. The sill plate can take on many forms from a sheet of aluminum to diamond plate. You will also find a sill plate that is colored and even lighted. This type of sill plate is an aftermarket addition used to enhance the appearance of the car. A sill plate is essentially in place to protect the frame of the car from wear, provide traction and of course as a decorative element. A sill plate is unprotected against the elements and will often be the first thing to get wet when you hit a puddle (other than the wheels) and will get roadway salt caked on them. These things, among others, can cause the sill plate to rust and erode. Removal and replacement is not overly difficult and the following article will show you how to do it.

Step 1 – Determine the Size

When you are replacing the sill plate on a car you need to make certain that you replace it with one of the same size. The style of the sill plate is meaningless in the end. To determine the size you need to open the car doors. The sill plate runs parallel with the seat and is located below the opening of the door and near the bottom. Use the tape measure to determine the length of the sill plate but also its width. Some of these plates will wrap around the bottom of the frame. Use the tape measure to measure the width from one end to the crease and then from the crease down. Repeat with the other door as they can sometimes vary in size depending on the manufacturer. Take these measurements to the auto parts store along with the year, make and model of your car. They will help you pick out the right sill plate.

Step 2 – Remove the Sill Plate

Always wear work gloves as the sill plate is metal and can be very sharp. Most of the time you only need to grip the sill plate at the ends and lift straight up. It may take some effort to dislodge it and if that is the case make use of the metal putty knife by wedging it between the sill plate and the car. Apply leverage to pop it up out of the groove. A sill plate can also be screwed in place in which case you need to remove the screws. Once the screws are remove you can lift the sill plate out as previously instructed.

Step 3 – Replace the Sill Plate

Putting in a new sill plate is also very easy. Line the new one up with the empty groove. Start at one end and press it in place until it snaps and then work your way down the length of the sill plate. Repeat with the other side and install screws if needed.