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Dash Guides

Things to Consider When Buying a Replacement Dash

If your car's dash is already cracked or scratched, you should consider replacing it. Though oftentimes overlooked, the dash or dashboard is very important. It serves as a housing and protection for various car controls and instruments such as the fuel gauge, speedometer, and tachometer. Once it gets damaged, debris and dust will pile up inside these controls, so you'll have difficulty seeing them. Luckily, replacing the dash is fairly easy. However, choosing the perfect replacement dash isn't. To help you with this task, here are some things that you should consider if you're in the market for a new dash.

The dash material

Nowadays, car parts manufacturers make dashes out of different kinds of materials. Listed below are three of the most common kinds of materials used by dash makers these days.

  • Aluminum: If you want a cheap replacement dash, then an aluminum dash is good for you. Despite its price, you can be assured that it's strong enough to last for a long time. However, one downside to this kind of dash is that it's a good conductor. This means that if the weather is hot, your dash will heat up, too. And if it's cold, your dash will feel as cold as ice.
  • Vinyl: This type of material is used to make dashes that can be installed through screws or adhesive tape. Though it's more expensive than aluminum, vinyl dashes are very easy to install. However, if you'll settle for a vinyl dash, you should be extremely careful because once it's attached, it will very difficult to remove.
  • Plastic: Typically made from polyurethane, plastic dashes are known for their ability to withstand heat. Also, unlike vinyl dashes, they don't easily crack. However, because of their durability, plastic dashes are relatively more expensive than aluminum and vinyl.

Warranty

One thing that you should always look for when doing a business transaction is warranty. Though it may add up to your expenses, getting a warranty plan for your new dash will guarantee that the part is free from material and workmanship defects. Thus, you'll be spared from unexpected repairs. Usually, car parts stores offer 1-year, 3-year, and lifetime warranty plans. But regardless of your choice, you will still save a lot of money in the long run.

Cracked Dash: Quick and Easy Repair

The dash or dashboard is a very important part of your vehicle because it houses most of the controls and instruments that you need to operate your car. However, due to extreme temperature changes, the dash cracks. These cracks are very unappealing and may even cause dust or debris to enter some of your car's controls. Once dust enters the instruments or controls, it will be difficult for you to see your speedometer or fuel gauge. So, if your car's dash is cracked, it has to be fixed immediately. Luckily, repairing a cracked dash is an easy job. This guide will teach you how you can do this repair at home.

Difficulty level: Easy

What you'll need:

  • Dashboard vinyl paint
  • Sand paper
  • Dash repair kit
  • Silicone filler or vinyl filler
  • Utility knife
  • Rag
  • Masking tape

Safety tip: Always wear safety gloves when handling sharp tools to avoid cuts.

Step 1: Clean your vehicle's dash with a wet rag. Once you're sure that all dust and debris are gone, allow the dash to dry for a few minutes.

Step 2: Locate the crack in your car's dash. Then, with your utility knife, reshape this crack into a V. Make sure that the crack is wide enough to contain the vinyl filler or silicone caulking.

Step 3: Clean the dust and debris that you created when you sculpted the crack. Do this with a dry towel or a wet rag. If you will use a wet rag, allow the dash to dry for fifteen minutes.

Step 4: Surround the V-shaped cut with masking tape to avoid getting silicone filler on the other parts of the dash.

Step 5: Squeeze enough silicone or vinyl filler onto the crack. Then, spread it using your finger. Once the filler is even, clean the excess filler that may have spread to other areas of the dash.

Step 6: Wait for the filler to dry. Once you're sure that it's completely dry, sand it with sandpaper. This will make the filler even with the dash.

Step 7: Spread some dash repair compound onto the dried filler. This compound will serve as adhesive for your chosen texture paper.

Step 8: Cut the texture paper, so it will match the crack. Afterwards, attach the texture paper to the repair compound. If the crack can't be covered by a texture paper because it's too big, spray it with some dash vinyl paint. However, make sure that the paint matches your car's dash.

Step 9: Allow the texture to settle or the paint to dry. Once it's settled or dried, clean your dash again.

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