How to Fix and Restore a Cracked Dash Panel
The dash panel is one of the things we can see all the time while inside the vehicle. It's where you check readings on the instruments and gauges and control the HVAC system as well as equipment like radio or DVD player. And it's really annoying to see cracks, scratches, or any signs of damages on the dashboard. The bad news is that it's quite expensive to replace an entire dash panel. However, there is a simple and affordable fix that you can do to restore your damaged dash panel even in your own garage.
Difficulty level: Moderate
What you'll need:
- Latex Gloves
- Painting Mask
- Dust Mask
- SEM Texture Coating, Color Coat and Plastic Adhesion Promoter
- Super Glue
- Baking Soda
- 100, 220, 400 grit sandpaper
- Masking Tape
- Newspaper/Masking Paper
- Lint free rags and regular rags
- Wax and Grease Remover
- Dash Protectant like Meguiars Vinyl/Rubber Protectant
- Razor blade
Step 1: Using the newspaper/masking paper and some masking tape, mask the area that you are working on. The cracked area should be the only part visible so you don't ruin the good part of the dash panel.
Step 2: There might be some broken pieces of the dash that are sticking out. Use the razor blade to cut out the broken pieces so you have a good surface to work on. Then, clean the area with wax/grease remover. This will give you a good bonding surface. Wear latex gloves if you want to keep your hands clean.
Step 3: Fill the crack with glue. Using the razor blade, flatten any glue that has risen at the edges of the crack. Keep moving the blade so it doesn't stick. Let the glue dry.
Step 4: You can now start on working to level the surface on the dash panel. You can do this by applying CA Glue or Super Glue and flattening it with the razor blade. Apply some baking soda to fill in the cracks.
Step 5: One the area is dry, it's time to start sanding it down. Use the 220 grit sandpaper first then turn to the 100 grit to flatten the surface. This is going to cause some scratches so be sure to finish with the 220 grit sandpaper. Wear a mask to avoid inhaling dust while sanding.
Step 6: There is a great chance that you'll take chunks off when sanding. When this happens, repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have a very flat surface again. It is very important to have a flat surface because any imperfections will surely show when you paint over it.
Step 7: Clean the surface off using wax and grease remover then wipe it off again.
Step 8: Here comes the hard part. You are going to use spray paint, so make sure to mask all areas that might get overspray on. If it's your first time using the SEM Texture Coating, we advise that you get a piece of cardboard and spray it for a couple seconds to get rid of some white goo-like substance that usually comes out of new spray cans. Keep on spraying until it comes out black. Once it is ready, you can now spray the area. Make sure to get the texture correctly. You can do this with a mix of getting the right distance to spray and sanding it with the 400 grit when it dries. It is recommended that you only do one coat.
Step 9: Using the Color Coat, paint over the SEM Texture Coat; make sure to only apply 2 coats to avoid having uneven color on the dash surface.
Step 10: You can now remove the masking tape and papers. If you have a line because the color you sprayed is a shade darker, take your 400 grit and sand it down to blend the color. Make sure to sand only the first layer of Color Coat. If you sand too much, you will sand the Texture Coating and it will turn to grey.
Step 11: Once the color is the right blend, you can now apply some Dash Protectant and you're done.