Getting a door sill protector for your car is one of the easiest ways to safeguard your door jamb from everyday wear and tear.
But even when you get a door sill guard for your car, it can be a bit tricky to install it properly. It’s because unlike bumpers and mats, door sill protectors are not a common accessory. Additionally, installing them can require a few steps that you may not experience with other components of your car.
This gets even more challenging when you have to install these protectors over a larger car such as a sport utility vehicle (SUV). As a popular compact SUV, the Toyota RAV4 is a perfect example of vehicles that fall under this category.
If you have recently purchased a door sill guard for your Toyota RAV4 and now feel a bit out of place with its installation, you are not the only one. Many car owners go through the same process with an accessory as selective as a door sill protector.
To help you get over that nervousness and complete the installation process like a pro, here’s a guide to fitting a door sill protector on Toyota RAV4.
Check the Type of Protector You Are Installing
Toyota RAV4 has a variety of protectors available for its door sill. Apart from different colors, they also come in a range of materials.
A few of the most popular and durable material choices are:
- Polyurethane (PU). This is usually available in a clear and transparent film.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This comes in an opaque and often patterned design.
- Heavy-duty rubber. This is usually black in color, but can also have other shades.
While PU is available in strips of paint protection film (PPF), PVC and heavy duty rubber come in strips and pre-cut segments. Depending upon your preference and budget, you can select a material that goes right in line with your requirements.
The installation process for PPF is a bit more complex than PVC or heavy-duty rubber coatings. This is why it's essential that you determine what type of material is used in your door sill protector.
From there, you can move forward with installing the protector on your SUV.
How to Install a PPF Door Sill Protector on Your Toyota RAV4
A PPF door sill protector is often packaged as a kit. Apart from the film, it may also contain small tools such as squeegee and decals to help you properly settle the protector on your door sill.
PPF protectors typically have an adhesive backing, which means that you don’t have to use any additional components to make them stick to your car. But there are certain precautions that you need to take before executing the installation process.
The process requires you to clean the door sill area to get rid of external elements such as dust, grime, and grease. You can use a soap and water solution along with a squeegee to clean the area. But if you want more advanced cleaning, you can make an alcohol solution with 3-parts water and 1-part isopropyl alcohol.
After you have cleaned the door sill, you should wait for it to air dry. Make sure not to use your car during this period so the area remains free of external particles.
Apply the PPF
PPF door sill protectors typically come in a universal fit. But since it’s usually a long strip, you need to adjust it to your car’s size. For best results, make sure to take your time and cut the strip in a way that fits perfectly on your Toyota RAV4.
Afterwards, you can start installing the PPF on your car’s body.
- Strip the covering at the adhesive end of the film.
- Apply the film to your door sill.
- Use proper pressure to make sure it sticks.
- Use felt liners to get to the curves and bumps of your door sill.
- Make sure to eliminate any air pockets from underneath the film.
The process needs the utmost care and precision. If you notice any excessive bubbles underneath the surface, make sure to rub them out using careful pressure. However, if the air pockets are excessive, you may need to repeat the installation with another piece of PPF.
How to Fit a PVC Door Protector on Your Toyota RAV4
Unlike PPF, PVC door protectors are available in universal fit as well as pre-cut segments. You can easily find a strip that you need to cut by yourself or a complete set of protectors that is already adjusted for use on your Toyota RAV4.
But no matter what type of PVC protector you select, it follows almost the same installation process.
Pay Attention to Cleaning Your Door Sill
The first rule of installing a protector is to thoroughly clean the area. This ensures that your car’s body is clear of any contaminants. Along with helping the protector stick to the SUV firmly, it also ensures long lasting use for the material.
You can clean the area using a solution of soap and water, or a mixture of alcohol and water. Either way, make sure to wait until the surface has dried properly before you move forward with the actual installation.
Apply the PVC Coating Properly
Once you are done with the cleaning process, you can get ready to install the custom-adjusted or pre-cut segments of your PVC door sill guard.
- Pull off the adhesive backing from your PVC protector.
- If an adhesive solution was provided by the manufacturer, make sure to use it.
- Apply the protector onto your door sill.
- Use careful pressure to evenly stick the material onto the auto body.
- Let it stay according to the provider’s instructions.
It is essential that you properly install the protector to your door sill’s surface. If it doesn’t stick in even a small area, it can run the risk of peeling off within just a few days of usage.
How to Put a Rubber Door Protector on Your Toyota RAV4
Heavy-duty rubber door protectors are most commonly available in the form of pre-cut segments for specific cars. But they also come in universal fit applications such as general segment size and longer strips.
If you get a heavy-duty rubber protector set that’s specifically made for your Toyota RAV4, you don’t need to make any size adjustments to it. But if you get it in the form of a strip, you need to get your shears ready to cut it to a size that fits on your car.
Other than that, the rest of the process for installing a heavy-duty rubber protector stays similar for both types of door sill guards.
Put Cleaning Front and Center
No matter the type of protector you are installing, it’s necessary to clean your door sill before you start the application process.
The soap and water method is quite accessible here. But you can also use a mix of 75 percent water and 25 percent alcohol to make your cleaning solution.
Once you have gently rubbed off any external contaminants from your door sill, you can wait for the surface to dry before you move forward with fitting your protector over the area.
Apply the Heavy-duty Rubber Protector
Rubber door sill protectors often come with their own adhesive backing. This means that cutting the protector is the only factor that influences the installation process.
- Pull off the cover from the adhesive backing of the protector.
- Gently apply the protector to your door sill.
- Make sure to clear any air pockets from under the rubber material.
- If the adhesive doesn’t stick properly, use an air dryer to make it more effective.
- Let it stay according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Similar to other types of door sill protectors, it is essential that your rubber door sill guard sticks to the surface of your car properly. Otherwise, it can cause performance issues and not last as long as it should.
Don’t Hesitate to Contact a Professional
Regardless of the type of door sill protector you purchase for your Toyota RAV4, the installation and fitting process can be challenging to the point of being frustrating. This is especially true if you aren’t used to doing automotive work even for the simple accessories of your car.
But you don’t have to put yourself through any undue stress. If you don’t want to install the door sill protector yourself, you can easily reach out to a seasoned mechanic or auto body expert.
Since these professionals handle such installations on a regular basis, they can easily take care of the process for you in a quick and affordable way. This ensures that you can protect your precious SUV without compromising your comfort.
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