GMC Truck Dashboard Removal

by Lauren Treadwell

The General Motors Truck Company, better known as GMC, is renowned for its rugged truck models. Removing the dashboard from a GMC truck is a tricky process but it can be mastered by an enthusiast looking to upgrade or change the front panel elements of his truck.

Materials Needed

Before you remove your truck's dashboard, make sure you have your GMC service manual on-hand. This will help you to navigate all of your model's features so you can avoid damaging sensitive equipment like the odometer and speed gauge. You will also need a screwdriver and something flat to slide along the edge of the dashboard and components. Since older GMC dashboard covers are usually made out of PVC that cracks easily.Some areas of the plastic that are out of view may be sharp and using your fingers to pry it off could lead to cuts. Try using a flat head screwdriver or smooth lever. Avoid power tools, as the PVC plastic can easily crack if twisted too hard, and work gently at all times to avoid snapping the dashboard panel.

Removing the Dashboard

Older GMC dashboard panels through the mid-1980s can be easily taken out by removing the screws holding the dashboard in place. Work with the truck door open and the seat pushed as far back as possible for extra maneuvering room. Unplug the battery before you begin to avoid any surprise shocks. Start near the radio console and work your way toward the door from right to left. Once the screws are removed, hold the dashboard cover securely and gently lift it up and over the steering wheel. For newer GMC models that do not have exposed screw holes, you'll need to locate the clips or hidden bolts that hold the dashboard on. Most are located on the underside of the dashboard, and some are located in the left-hand space between the dashboard and the driver-side door. After the bolts or clips have been loosened and removed, gently pry the dashboard off starting with the lowest portion. This will prevent the dashboard panel from falling and damaging the steering wheel while you're working below it. Slide the screwdriver or smooth lever along the division between the dashboard and the body of the truck, and gently pull the cover up and away from the steering wheel. Disconnect the individual components from the truck interior starting with those that are most obtrusive (such as the steering wheel, glove box and radio console) and carefully unplug all wiring. Some wires may be connected under the hood, though most are contained within the cab.

Last-minute Considerations

Many new dashboard covers might not come equipped with elements like adjustable air conditioning and heating vents. Remove these parts before you dispose of your old dashboard cover even if you think you might not need them. Some newer elements might fit correctly but can malfunction when the car is running. Also, don't forget to measure the size of your GMC's radio especially if you installed it yourself. Most dashboard panel replacements aren't pre-cut for radios and need to be manually sized and sliced using a hand-held jigsaw. File all sharp edges before installing it in the truck.

About the Author

Lauren Treadwell studied finance at Western Governors University and is an associate of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Treadwell provides content to a number of prominent organizations, including Wise Bread, FindLaw and Discover Financial. As a high school student, she offered financial literacy lessons to fellow students.