Weather change is here and the cracked padded dashes are rolling in. With every weather change I get the phone calls. “My dash is cracked and what can be done to fix it.”
There are measures that can be taken to prevent the dash from getting cracked in the first place. Now I know your dash is already cracked and your wanting to know how to fix it, but this will prevent further cracks and keep your car cooler and looking nicer, and well…. for further reference.
Now on with the fix for that crack in your dash.
Depending on where the crack is and how big it is will depend on how to fix it and how expensive the repair will be. If the crack is bigger then 2″-3″ and curled up on the edges, the repair will probably not look that great. There is a limit to the size of crack that can be repaired, too big and it probably won’t hold and will look like crap. If the crack is too big, replace the dash pad, don’t try to fix it. Another thing is location, if the crack is up close to the windshield then it’s almost impossible to do a repair without removing the windshield, which can be costly. So with that said you be the judge.
Now it’s time to determine what fix you going to use.
If the crack is smaller then an 1/2″ I usually grab the super glue and do a super glue repair. I do this by spreading the glue in the crack then sanding it smooth with a 240 grit sandpaper, texture with your water based spray grain, then dye.
But there are times when your vinyl repair compound will need to be used, after all this is vinyl. The low cure usually works best because high heat tends to warp the repair area. This is where your patience comes in when doing your repairs. Thin layers of compound work best, curing and dying between coats until the area is level and smooth. You can texture while layering your compound with your grain pads. One little trick I use to help level the repair when using a grain pad is a little rubber squeegee about 3″x5″, it’s what body shops use to squeegee the water off the painted surface when they wet sand. This little thing works great, when you use your hand to imprint your grain into your repair, your hand kinda molds around the area and doesn’t leave a level area but with the rubber squeegee it gives you a little more backing when you go to imprint. Now graining your repair can be tricky, the low cure compound doesn’t grain that well, but if all else fails make sure the repair is level, this is your best hide. If that is achieved then texture with your spray grain.
Apply your compound liberally over the repair area, don’t worry about getting your first coat really smooth, all you need is to get it covered, you’ll be sanding it smooth later. Let it set up for a while, depending on the weather will depend on how long this stuff takes. You can speed it up a little with a heat gun but don’t melt it just give it a little boost.
After all is smooth and level, grain with a spray grain then dye.
Dash repair is an art and a craft, just like all automotive interior repairs. If the steps are followed right and patience is used in your repairs you success will be good.
About the author: Mike Warrenhttp://theinteriorguyllc.comThe Interior Guy, LLC., Automotive Interior RepairI’ve been in the business for a long time and know a lot of the ends and outs of repairing interiors, from leather and vinyl repair to plastic repair and dyeing of all interior trim parts including carpet and cloth. Need some advice or a tip to fix your automotive interior, I’ve put together some really helpful material with some great products I recommend and use in my repairs. Visit theinteriorguyllc.com for more articles just like this one.