How to Repair a Cracked Dashboard

Cracking of the dashboard in your car is not very common and is mostly seen in older cars. However, in case you are facing such a problem, read the article and follow the repair instructions given.
A dashboard can crack due to various reasons. It could be either due to UV rays from the sun, a result of a car crash or even just due to regular wear and tear as a result of excess usage. A cracked dashboard spoils the appearance of your car interior and needs to be repaired or replaced quickly. Replacing it is the best potion is such cases, though a highly expensive one. In case the damage is minor, you can try out a few things to repair the problem yourself, saving the cost of replacing the whole thing.

The table below suggests the possible options, their merits and demerits to help you make the best suited decision.

Replacing with a new dashboard
  • Very good finishing
  • Post replacement, dashboard will look great
  • Best option among all others when it comes to quality
  • Takes a lot of effort to remove the old dashboard and install a new one in place
  • Cost is high for an altogether new dashboard
  • Finding a new dashboard exactly same in size and appearance as the old one is a tough job
Recover the dashboard from the company
  • Easy job considering good quality repair products available these days
  • No hassles in looking for an altogether new part
  • Most manufactures have certain repair jobs covered under warranty, like cracks
  • Car may have to be left at a workshop for repair for a few days
  • It does take some effort in repairing the dashboard
  • The repaired dash may face problems over a period of time, if the work is not done properly
  • Looks of the dashboard will take a beating as it won't be as flawless, as it previously used to be
Replacing the old dashboard with a used one
  • It is a highly cost-effective solution for the problem, compared to getting a brand new dashboard
  • The quality stands to be good as it is an original part even though used for a while
  • Again, this job takes some effort in replacing the current dashboard
  • There may be a possibility that the used dashboard can crack easily as it has already been subject to wear and tear
Fix a 'cap' on the damaged dashboard
  • This is again a cheap option as the 'cap' is largely inexpensive
  • The hard plastic cap installed is surprising more durable than the original dashboard itself
  • There is no need to remove the old dashboard or install a new one, and hence less of effort
  • Since the cap is not an original part, it looks tacky in appearance
  • There is a risk of further damaging the dashboard if the job is not done well
  • Chances of the cap not fitting well are also high, and unfortunately the only choice available to figure this out is by trying the cap
Repairing a cracked dashboard
  • Probably the most cost-effective among other options, especially when done by yourself
  • Does not take a lot of effort as in other repair and replacement jobs
  • There may be variations in quality of the repaired dashboard as compared to the original one
  • Chances of the dashboard cracking up at the same places in the future are high

How to Repair a Cracked Dashboard

The best way to repair a cracked dashboard is by using silicone caulking. Silicone has the strength to hold the cracks together and is flexible. Also, this is a simple and inexpensive method you can try out, by following the steps listed below:

Step 1
With the help of a utility knife, make a V-shaped incursion around the crack. Avoid making the cut too deep. Before you do anything else, clean up the crack from the inside as well as outside. Take out all dust settled from within using blower or a damp cloth and allow the area to completely dry.

Step 2
To ensure that the silicone stays in the crack, stick a painter's tape on either side of the crack. This will prevent it from spreading on to the dashboard, as silicone shines after drying.

Step 3
Fill the crack on the dashboard with silicone and let it dry for about 15 to 20 minutes, after which you can remove the tape. In case the rack is small, you can remove the tape first and then let it dry. If the crack is bigger, you can apply a coat of vinyl on it before it totally dries out or else it won't soak in the coating.

Step 4
Let the silicone dry on the dashboard for 2 to 3 hours, and then apply paint on the bigger cracks, so that they are not visible.

Since the major cause for a cracked dashboard is exposure to sun and UV rays, a good way to prevent this would be by covering the dashboard when the car is kept outside during daytime. You can use a towel or any piece of cloth for the same.