Since its invention in the early 20th century, automobiles have been a symbol of pride and status for car owners around the world. From engine modification parts to seat covers, the auto industry produces hundreds of new products every year to help owners work on and improve their cars. Dashboard covers are a popular product to preserve your dash and keep it looking new, but they can be expensive. Covering your dash with vinyl fabric is an easy and effective way to protect your car and your wallet.
Things You'll Need
- Vinyl fabric
- Clean rag
Decide what type of vinyl fabric is best for your dashboard. A heavy, weather-resistant vinyl, such as marine grade fabric, works best for most vehicles. If you live in a cold weather climate, a vinyl that is crack resistant is important. Your vehicle will be exposed to the elements, so a vinyl that is fade and stain resistant is also necessary to maximize the life of your dashboard cover.
Wipe your dashboard with a clean rag. Pollutants such as dirt, smoke and exhaust can coat the inner surfaces of your vehicle, and a clean dash is essential to properly attach your vinyl. You can use a cleaner designed for plastic if necessary to remove stubborn grime.
Trim the vinyl to fit your dashboard. Lay the vinyl face down on your dashboard, and trace around it with your pen. Mark any vents or gauge areas on your vinyl, as you will need to cut these out so they are not covered by the vinyl. Cut carefully along the lines, laying your trimmed vinyl over the dash and checking for proper fit before gluing it down.
Select the appropriate type of glue for your vehicle. Many types of adhesives are available for vinyl, but you need to choose one that is recommended for both your cover and the plastic of your dashboard. Spray glue will give you the most even coverage, so spray a thin layer over your entire dash according to the package directions.
Lay the vinyl over your dashboard, taking care to press if firmly and evenly over the glue. Start by pressing the vinyl into the area closest to the windshield and work your way back towards the steering wheel, pulling the material tight and smoothing out any ripples as you go. Working in one direction will help prevent air bubbles between the vinyl and dash. Apply extra glue if necessary for a tight fit.
Allow the glue to set for a minimum of 24 hours before moving your vehicle. Giving the adhesive plenty of time to set will ensure that there is a tight bond and will eliminate any rolling or creasing in your newly applied dashboard cover.
Tips & Warnings
- Make sure you select a fabric color that matches the interior of your vehicle. It might be tempting to choose a vibrant, fun vinyl, but if you are ever forced to sell your car, a dashboard that doesn't match can drastically reduce the resale value of your car.
- Never apply glue in an enclosed vehicle. Adhesive fumes can be overpowering, so roll down your windows and work on your vehicle in a well-ventilated area to prevent illness.
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