How to Repair Cracks in a Car Dashboard

Lead Image
  • 2-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25-50
What You'll Need
Utility knife
Vinyl paint
Painters tape
Silicone caulking

Your car dashboard can degrade over years of sun exposure and general wear and tear. Time and other factors will lead to the appearance of cracks. Some tender loving care is necessary to bring your car dashboard back to life. You will need patience, a few tools, and filler to do the job. It is a job that takes several hours to do properly.

Step 1: Preparation

Clean the car dashboard well. Any accumulation of dirt and grime must be removed. Sugar soap is useful for this task as it really gets rid of grime build-up on wood and vinyl. Once cleaned the car dashboard needs time to dry properly before proceeding.

Step 2: Widen Crack

With your utility knife, you need to widen the cracks into a V shape. If there are large quantities of cracks you need to work slowly across the entire dashboard and prepare each one by making the V shape. Try to make each V as small as possible but large enough to fill. Leave no jagged edges. This will allow for filling the cracks. Just widen it enough but don’t go overboard.

Step 3: Clean the Area Well

Clean the area well and get rid of any little stray bits of dust and debris. A smooth, clean surface is required on the car dashboard for application of the silicone. Wipe it down gently and allow it to dry out completely before proceeding. One to two hours of drying time is required before proceeding.

Step 4: Mask

Place masking tape on each side of the crack you are about to fill. This is so the silicone doesn’t spread onto good areas of the car dashboard. You don’t want the silicone dripping on any spots that don’t need filling.

Step 5: Silicone

Silicone is a good substance to use for this job as it dries clear and has expansion and contraction elements which will prevent future cracking from temperature changes. It is like rubber; it stretches. This makes it the perfect compound to use on the car dashboard which can be subjected to sun as well as heat and cold. The interior temperature of your car is constantly changing from using the air conditioner and the heater. Fill the cracks with the silicone and make sure it is smooth. Leave it to dry. It will take about 15 minutes. Once it is dry you can take the tape off. If your silicone surface needs texture, it needs to be created during the drying time and prior to removal of the tape.

Step 6: Color with Paint

You have the option to paint the large crack using a vinyl paint made for vehicle interiors. If you intend to do so you should allow a drying time of about three hours before applying it over the silicone. This will make your car dashboard as near to new as you can make it without replacing it.