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I just drove my new Volt from Michigan to Florida for the winter. Nice trip, the car ran great and the adaptive cruise is great in a traffic jam. I cleaned up the car from the trip and that included cleaning up black rocker panel covers with a bug and tar removal product to get off the road tar kicked up by the tires. While cleaning I noticed small gravel stones lodged between the covers and the rocker panel/floor pan flange. A little tug on the plastic cover and the bulk of the gravel fell out. All is well--for me anyway, but how was the gravel getting in? This is a 2017 but in researching the Forum I found a similar problem reported as rattles in the Gen 1 Volt.

When looking at the ends of the plastic rocker panel covers, there is an opening in the cover to allow access to the flange area on the body where you would put the vehicle jack to lift the car to change a tire (if you happened to opt for the spare tire and jack) or to place a hoist pad. The front openings are directly behind and in line with the front tires. Putting you hand into the opening you will find that there is a gap that will allow anything that gets kicked up by the tires to get into the area between the plastic cover and the metal rocker panel on the car body--hence the gravel I found. Not much of a problem for me who will not be driving the car in Winter weather or on dirt or gravel roads. But for those who do, this area will eventually pack with dirt, road salt, road kill or anything else picked up by the tires. The opening in the panel is larger than the gap between the plastic cover and the floor pan so once something gets in there, it's not coming out. In the Gen 1 tread, some people were hearing rattles from ice that had built up in the cover and would go away after it melted. I am sure the road salt that was in that ice is still there in many cars.

The solution would be to block or restrict the area around the jack point openings in the rocker panel cover. Either cover the opening or make a part to prevent debris from entering the rocker panel cover behind the opening. I think a front mud flap would help as some things would be deflected further back on the cover. Maybe one of our aftermarket vendors should look at this issue and come up with a simple fix.
 

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I just drove my new Volt from Michigan to Florida for the winter. Nice trip, the car ran great and the adaptive cruise is great in a traffic jam. I cleaned up the car from the trip and that included cleaning up black rocker panel covers with a bug and tar removal product to get off the road tar kicked up by the tires. While cleaning I noticed small gravel stones lodged between the covers and the rocker panel/floor pan flange. A little tug on the plastic cover and the bulk of the gravel fell out. All is well--for me anyway, but how was the gravel getting in? This is a 2017 but in researching the Forum I found a similar problem reported as rattles in the Gen 1 Volt.

When looking at the ends of the plastic rocker panel covers, there is an opening in the cover to allow access to the flange area on the body where you would put the vehicle jack to lift the car to change a tire (if you happened to opt for the spare tire and jack) or to place a hoist pad. The front openings are directly behind and in line with the front tires. Putting you hand into the opening you will find that there is a gap that will allow anything that gets kicked up by the tires to get into the area between the plastic cover and the metal rocker panel on the car body--hence the gravel I found. Not much of a problem for me who will not be driving the car in Winter weather or on dirt or gravel roads. But for those who do, this area will eventually pack with dirt, road salt, road kill or anything else picked up by the tires. The opening in the panel is larger than the gap between the plastic cover and the floor pan so once something gets in there, it's not coming out. In the Gen 1 tread, some people were hearing rattles from ice that had built up in the cover and would go away after it melted. I am sure the road salt that was in that ice is still there in many cars.

The solution would be to block or restrict the area around the jack point openings in the rocker panel cover. Either cover the opening or make a part to prevent debris from entering the rocker panel cover behind the opening. I think a front mud flap would help as some things would be deflected further back on the cover. Maybe one of our aftermarket vendors should look at this issue and come up with a simple fix.
There is a thread on this with pictures of what you are describing. Don't remember what the solution was.
 
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