If you have a cracked dashboard, it is likely caused by direct sunlight and temperature changes. Sometimes, incorrect cleaning methods and impact can cause damage to the dashboard 

The dashboard is made from vinyl installed over a foam padding ,and the UV rays eventually penetrate the surface. Luckily, you should be able to fix dashboard cracks yourself by following these tips.  

Prepare to Fix the Dashboard

To fix the dashboard, gather:

  • work gloves
  • dashboard cleaning cloth 
  • mineral spirits or mild dish soap
  • utility knife 
  • painter's tape 
  • coarse sandpaper 
  • scuff pad
  • silicone caulk and caulk gun 
  • auto body filler 
  • fiberglass resin 
  • old sheets or towels
  • leather sealant
  • matching vinyl paint or dye

The crack must be even to seal properly. Cut dried foam and frayed or peeled vinyl around the crack with the utility knife. Use the rag to clean the dashboard. If the dashboard is extra dirty or greasy, clean it with mineral spirits or mild dish soap. Avoid using harsh cleaners on dashboards.

Fix a Small Crack

Sand the area to smooth the surface, clean dust using a damp cloth, then let it dry. Seal around the edges with painter's tape to help hold the caulk in place. 

Fill the crack with a thin layer of caulk, and let it cure fifteen to twenty minutes. Use your fingers or a damp rag to smooth the caulk until it is even on the surface, and scrape excess. After the caulk cures, add another layer, if needed.  Brush on a coat of vinyl paint, or rub a small amount of dye into the surface. 

Fill Large Cracks

Inject enough silicone to fill the crack until slightly overflowing. Alternately, you may apply a metal filler or a two-part epoxy. If you use a metal filler or epoxy, sand the surface lightly after it dries.

Add fiberglass resin to the top of the crack to seal it tightly. After the resin dries, apply a thin layer of auto body filler. Paint or dye the area to match the rest of the surface.

Prevent Dashboard Cracks

Clean the dashboard as instructed above, and moisten a rag in two tablespoons of vinyl or leather sealant. Spread it over the dashboard, fold the cloth in half to expose the clean side, and dab excess.

Purchase a dashboard cover for your model, and push the adhesive strips down to secure. The cover should have pre-cut holes to fit over vents. If no cover is available, make a dashboard cover from old towels or bed sheets to deflect the sun rays. A better option is a full UV cover to spread over the entire vehicle.

For more information or assistance, contact a local auto body repair shop.