Dash Cover Buyer's Guide
- Dash covers refer to mats or molded plastic covers that preserve your dashboard by blocking the heat of the sun. It protects the dashboard from scratches, chips, and fading.
- The types of dash covers are mat and molded plastic.
- Dash covers can preserve your dashboard from fading, chipping and scratches. It keeps the plasticizer material from evaporating to the windshield. It also eliminates sunlight glare.
- A good dash cover protects your dashboard from harmful UV rays, dust, and debris; boosts your car's interior style; and masks existing damage.
- Individual mats can cost around $50 to $127.
During the earlier years of automobiles, drivers used towels and rags to reduce the heat build-up on the dashboard caused by driving and parking under the sun. It was until the late 1970s when a company developed a better alternative material for what is now known as dash covers. Although dash covers now come in different forms and materials, they still offer the same function, which is to keep your dashboard cool, especially in summer.
There are varying dash cover looks in the market and choosing the best material is a matter of personal preference – though it could also be a concern of dashboard design. Variations offer advantages and disadvantages, such as ease of cleaning, ability to reduce heat, and windshield glare reduction. Having knowledge about the different types of materials used should help you pick the right dashboard cover for your car.
Two types of dash cover
There are two main types of dash covers, which are mat and molded cap. Dash mats are basically unshaped, fabric-type covers that are easier to install due to its ability to take the dashboard’s form upon placement. Molded dash caps, on the other hand, are sturdier and has three-dimensional surfacing, as they are designed to perfectly fit specific dashboards. They are also more complex to install because you may need to pry certain panels of the dashboard to insert the edges of the cover in between the gaps.
What are the different dash cover materials?
This is the basic material for a dash cover and has been the most common throughout the years. It is made using polyester fabric and is a more conservative material and looks compared to the others on this list. However, modern carpeted covers are sometimes combined with high-tech materials that can also be molded to fit specific dashboards. Carpeted dashboards are easily cleaned using a vacuum cleaner, though spills and blots can be tough to resolve.
Suede is soft leather made from calfskin. It comes with brushed texture to resemble the surface of fabric. It is a material that’s also used in the fashion industry due to its velvet-like appearance. Suede, however, isn’t that simple to maintain compared to carpet, as it requires additional efforts to keep it as pristine as possible. You’ll need a suede brush and mild detergent to get rid of stains, while crumbs and other debris can easily be brushed or vacuumed.
Velour is the more flashy type of dash cover material that suits luxury car interiors best. It is made from polyester that is sometimes knitted to a corduroy pattern, and is usually laminated with 3/16-inch high-density foam for that soft and cushy top dash feel. Velour fabric also comes with printed patterns and embroidery to add a personalized dashboard effect in the cabin. This foam-backed dash cover material brings the elegance and UV-protection that your dashboard needs for it to stay as good as new.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) Polymer Plastic
This material best suits those who are not a fan of fabric dash covers. Molded ABS Polymer dash protectors are made from UV-resistant polymer plastic that is molded to snugly fit specific dashboards. Polymer dash covers aims to blend with the entire cabin by negating the visual presence of any fabric matting attached on top of your dash. It also is good in concealing any damages on your dashboard and is mounted using silicone adhesive. Molded ABS polymer dash cover is the perfect option if you want to keep your interior simple and neat.
Smooth poly-fabric could be made using polyester cotton threads that are woven to patterns. It combines toughness and easy-cleaning and is more stretch-resistant than knitted textiles like velour. Because poly-fabrics are easy to clean, you can worry less about spilled drinks or fluids, which is common in family trips and long drives. This dash cover material also comes with cool printed designs that could level up your cabin’s aesthetic quality.
Dash cover colors and OE replacement part inclusions
There are tons of dash cover finishes that are out in the market, regardless of its type. The variations range from typical dash colors like gray, black, brown, or tan, to more vibrant colors like blue and red. There are also two-tone and printed covers, as well as more specific hues like presidio and graphite gray. In case you’re wondering, you can buy a dash cover as an individual piece, though you could also purchase it with instrument panel cover, or with complementing cut outs.
Importance of dash cover
Dash covers are invented to reduce cabin heat caused by the sun. However, that isn’t just the only perk you get by having a dash cover. Your dashboard faces more than the sun’s heat; it is also subject to scratches and other damages that are either caused by the passengers or natural occurrences. Also, a hot dashboard should be your main concern because when heated for a very long time, the plasticizer material of your dashboard may evaporate and clouds your windscreen.
Some dashboards, on the other hand, are more likely to crack than cause your windscreen to get blurry, which is unlikely to happen if you have a dash cover, due to its ability to preserve the plasticizer material. Another major help you get from dash covers is its ability to reduce or eliminate sunlight glare on the windshield. Most dashboards are made of plastic that are light reflective. The windscreen is angled perfectly to catch the glare from the bouncing light, which causes mildly blinding on-road vision.
Your guide to finding a dashing dash cover
Are you getting tired of the dull, plastic look of your dashboard? Well, then it's time for you to spice up your interior like Tijuana Tabasco sauce using a brand-new dash cover. An inexpensive dash cover won't only protect your dashboard against dirt and sun damage, but it will also provide your interior with a sweet style upgrade. Such covers come in a number of different materials, colors, and styles that are sure to fit your fancy. So keep reading and get the low down on what to look for in a dash cover.
A good dash cover should be able to:
Shield the dashboard against harmful UV rays.
Nothing beats the feeling of some warm sunshine on a chilly day, but unfortunately your dash doesn't share this sentiment. Overexposure to sunlight and UV rays can cause your dash to fade or even crack, which leaves it looking unattractive. Luckily, covering up your dashboard with a dash cover is sure to save it against the onslaught of the sun. But don't just grab any dash cover. Make sure it's coated with a UV-resistant material that offers longer-lasting protection.
Protect your dashboard against dust, debris, and scratches
Your dashboard is like a self-conscious pregnant woman: very sensitive. In fact, it doesn't take much to scratch, nick, or blemish your dashboard with dust, mud, or even your own car keys. With a handy dash cover, though, this won't be a problem. That's because dash covers are designed to armor your dashboard against damage, keeping it well preserved for a very long time. So, a reliable cover should be made of a material that won't easily get damaged even when regularly exposed to dirt and scratches. It should also be easy to clean to make dashboard maintenance a hassle-free task.
Boost your car's interior style
Dash covers come in various styles that are sure to breathe new life into your interior. You can go for a sleek and classy look with a monotone cover, or step outside the box with a printed one. You're free to choose how you'll jazz up your dash, which will be all too easy with the help of a solid aftermarket dash cover.
Effectively mask existing damage
If your dash is already beat up by scratches and nicks, then fear not because you can mask these marks with a handy dash cover. After installing this great accessory, you'll be able to cover any signs of damage and give your dashboard a clean slate.
When shopping for a new dash cover, don't limit yourself to just one variety. You have plenty to choose from including carpet, velour, suede, and fashion printed covers.
You may want to add a rear deck cover to match your new dash cover, providing your whole interior with a uniformed upgrade.
How much is a dash cover?
Individual, one-piece dash covers would cost you $50 to $482; the mat ones are around $50 to $127, while molded dash covers come at around $88 to $482. Sets of two range from end cap covers only to covers with raised display cut-out and are typically priced at $152 to $480. Meanwhile, kits come with one molded dash cover piece and an instrument panel cover priced from $272 to $383.
How to install your new dash cover
So you've picked out the dash cover you want and it's just been delivered to your door step; now it's time to install your new auto accessory. Lucky for you, setting up your awesome dash cover won't take up much of your time. However, bear in mind that unlike more recent dash covers, older dash covers may require some minor trimming. Nevertheless, you'll be able to easily install your new dash cover by following these simple steps.
Difficulty Level: Easy
What you'll need:
- Rag / duster
- Double-sided tape
- Heat gun (optional)
Step 1: Before installing your new dash cover, be sure that you have ample lighting so that you can avoid any slip ups. We recommend you do this during the daytime or in a well-lit garage.
Step 2: Use a rag or a duster to clean your dashboard; be sure to eliminate all kinds of dust and small particles. This is very important because if these particles were to get stuck between the dash and the cover, then they could seriously damage the surface of your dashboard.
Step 3: Test fit the dash cover over your dashboard and take note if/ where you might need to make some trimmings.
Step 4: If there are any issues regarding cover fit, then remedy this using a heat gun; just make sure not to distort the cover or damage the grain pattern. On the other hand, if there are no problems regarding fit, then no modifications will be required.
Step 5: Use your scissors to cut double-sided tape, which usually comes with the dash cover, into one-inch strips and place them at the front and back of your dashboard.
Step 6: Apply the cover to the dash beginning with the front end.
Step 7: Gently apply pressure onto the cover, over the taped areas. This is to ensure that your cover is securely attached to your dash.
Step 8: Sit back and enjoy the fresh, new look of your dashboard.