How Do I Remove a Dashboard in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Removing the dashboard on a Vehicles depends on how much of it you need to take off. You may just need to remove one or more of the trim panels. If you have to perform some maintenance that requires full removal of the instrument panel, you will need to remove several components along with both the upper and lower halves of the panel. This can take a lot of time and may require the help of another person.

Under The Hood:

 How Do I Remove a Dashboard in a 1995 GMC Sierra?

Turn off the Sierra's engine and open the hood. Because removing of the dashboard could set off the air bags, it is best to disconnect the battery before beginning the process.

Disconnect the battery from the Sierra. Use a wrench to remove the negative terminal. Close the hood.

Insert the small flat-head screwdriver between the upper dashboard trim and the instrument panel. Slide the screwdriver around the entire edge of the dashboard trim. Whenever you come into contact with a clip, use the screwdriver to pry it out. There are a total of eight clips, four along the top of the trim and four along the bottom. Once all clips are removed, you will be able to remove the dashboard.

Move the steering wheel to its bottom position to have an easier time removing the dashboard. Slowly lift the dashboard out of the Sierra.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Small flat-head screwdriver

 How to Remove the Dashboard in the Volvo 940

Turn the 940's engine off and lift its hood. Disconnect the negative terminal from the battery with a socket wrench.

Remove the ashtray by pulling it out of the vehicle. Pull the plastic holder behind the ashtray as well.

Uninstall the two retaining screws from the center shifter panel with a slotted screwdriver. Use a slotted screwdriver to pull out the clip attaching the shifter panel the center dashboard trim. Pull the shifter panel out of the 940. Remove the two screws holding the center compartment panel to the vehicle and pull it out of the vehicle.

Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the two screws securing the passenger and driver's side kick-panels. Remove the panels from the vehicle. Use a socket wrench to remove the glove compartment's two bolts. There is one bolt on each side. Remove the two screws from the glove compartment as well. Pull the glove compartment out of the vehicle. Remove the storage compartment on the center console by removing its two screws. Pull it out of the vehicle.

Remove the side panels of the dashboard. The side panels are held in by two screws and three bolts. Once you remove those, you can pull the side panels out. Unclip the radio from the center bezel and remove its two screws. Pull it out slightly and unplug its electrical-connector. Repeat the process with the AC unit. Pull out both devices from the 940.

Remove the three bolts from the top part of the dashboard with a socket wrench. All that's left is pulling the dash out of the 940. You may want to have someone help you with this step as the dashboard is awkward to hold and remove. Simply pull it up off of the vehicle to remove it. Reassembly is the opposite process of disassembly. Remember to reconnect the battery when done.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Slotted screwdriver

  • Phillips screwdriver

 How Remove a Dashboard on a Ford Expedition

Unscrew the attachment screws found to the left of the speedometer bezel, the dial surrounding the gauge. Set the screws aside once removed.

Unscrew the attachment screws underneath the glove box, found on the outside corner of the glove box. Set them aside with the other attachment screws so they do not get lost and are available when you go to put the dashboard back on.

Pry the dashboard at the outer edges gently using the flathead screwdriver. Pry the dashboard off the housing panel. Over time, this begins to stick together, necessitating the need to gently pry the dashboard off the panel. Pull on the dashboard once its pried off until you hear the plastic holding clips disengage.

Pull the dashboard out from the Expedition panel going straight toward the seats. Remove the dashboard to the outside of the Expedition.

Items you will need

  • Phillip's screwdrivers

  • Small flathead screwdriver

 How to Remove the Dashboard on a 2003 Lincoln Navigator

Turn off the Navigator's engine and open the hood. Use a socket wrench to remove the negative cable from the battery to prevent the airbags from activating while you are removing the dashboard.

Remove the four fasteners from the center faceplate, one at each corner. If you are having difficulty removing the clips by hand, use a flat-head screwdriver to carefully pry them out so you don't break them. Remove the faceplate. This will reveal four screws at each corner. Remove the screws with a Phillips screwdriver.

Pull the center dashboard console forward to reveal the electrical connectors to the radio, the AC unit and the cigarette lighter. Detach all three connectors by pulling them off their respective devices. Pull the radio and the AC unit out, followed by the center dashboard console.

Remove the glove compartment by opening it and squeezing the tabs on the sides. Pull it out to remove it. Remove the kick panels on the passenger's and driver's side by detaching their two securing screws and pulling the panels off.

Remove the four screws around the instrument cluster and lower the steering wheel. Use a flat-head screwdriver to pry out all the air conditioning vents, the fuse panel to the far left of the instrument cluster, the headlamp switch cover, the two panels on each side of the steering wheel and the panel above the glove compartment. Remove the eight screws along the windshield at the top of the dashboard trim. Pull the dashboard out of the Navigator.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Flat-head screwdriver

 How to Remove the Dashboard in a Nissan Maxima

Remove the air vents in the center of the dash by placing a hook tool into the top of the air vents. Gently pry on it until the clips come lose and the vents slide out.

Remove the four bolts inside of the vent opening.

Remove the glove box by opening it. Then push in on the sides while pulling on the glove box door.

Unbolt the two bolts behind the glove box.

Unscrew the screws around the instrument panel with a Philips head screwdriver.

Remove the two bolts on the underside of the steering column. This will drop the column, so make sure you are holding it up with one hand while removing the bolts.

Remove the dashboard by starting at the passenger side of the dash and gently prying it off with your hands. Go around the entire perimeter of the dashboard until the whole thing is removed.

Items you will need

  • Hook tool

  • Wrench

  • Philips head screwdriver

 How to Remove the Dashboard of a Fox Mustang

Locate the four retaining bolts from the center armrest and remove them with a wrench. Lift the armrest straight up and place it aside. Remove the retaining screws from the center console trim with a Phillips screwdriver, and then lift the trim straight up. Unplug the wiring connectors from the bottom of the trim, and then work it over the hand brake handle and place it aside.

Remove the radio retaining screws with a socket and ratchet. Pull the radio straight out of the dash, and then unplug all of the wiring connectors from the back side of the radio. Place the radio aside. Twist the shifter handle off in a counterclockwise direction. Remove the console retaining screws with a Phillips-head screwdriver, and then lift the console straight up and over the shifter. Place the console aside.

Open the doors and remove the front screw on each sill plate with a Phillips-head screwdriver to release the kick panels. Slide each kick panel toward the rear of the car, and then place them aside. Remove the four retaining screws from the heater control panel with a Torx screwdriver. Let the control panel hang down out of the way.

Remove the four retaining bolts on the underside of the steering column (two are near the brake pedal at the firewall, and two are near the hood release handle) with a socket and ratchet. Allow the steering column to hang down away from the dashboard.

Remove the retaining screws from the plastic trim piece on top of the dashboard over the instrument gauges with a Torx screwdriver. Raise the trim up, unplug the wiring connectors from the back side, and then place the trim aside.

Remove the retaining screws from the gauge cluster with a Torx screwdriver, and then pull it straight out from the dashboard. Unplug the wiring connectors from the back side of the cluster, and then place it aside.

Carefully pry up the plastic trim piece where the windshield meets the dashboard with a flat blade screwdriver and place it aside. Remove the five retaining screws revealed after removing the trim with a Torx screwdriver. Lift the dashboard straight up and remove it from the car.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Socket set

  • Ratchet wrench

  • Torx screwdriver

  • Flat blade screwdriver

 How to Remove the Dashboard From a Toyota Tacoma

Pull the ashtray out. Push down on the metal retainer in the ashtray, and slide the tray all the way out to remove it.

Wedge a screwdriver under the bezel around the radio and pry the bezel off.

Remove the screw bolts on the driver and passenger sides of the dash. These screws are located on the ends of the dash and normally sit flush with the door when it is closed. You'll need to open the door to access these screw bolts.

Remove the screw bolts on the driver's and passenger's side kick panel underneath the dash.

Wedge the trim removal tool underneath the dash trim. Start on the driver's side. Pry up on the trim and work your way around the entire outside of the trim to pry up the dash.

Slide the dash forward. Unplug the electrical connections running to the dash cluster assembly, as well as to the radio.

Pull the dash out of the Tacoma through the driver or passenger side door.

Items you will need

  • Philips head screwdriver

  • Flat tip screw driver

  • Torx head screwdriver

  • Socket wrench with socket set

  • Trim removal tool

 How to Remove the Dashboard From a 2002 Chevy Malibu

Detach the negative battery cable from the battery terminal with a socket wrench. Remove the fuse box cover on the left end of the dashboard. Pull out the fuse for the airbags. Find the correct fuse using the diagram inside of the fuse box cover. Disconnect the yellow airbag connector, located just above the fuse panel, to disable the driver side airbag. Pull the same connector from above the fuse panel on the right end of the dashboard to disable the passenger side airbag.

Remove the dash light dimmer switch trim and switch. Place a flat head screwdriver behind the switch trim piece and pry it away from the dashboard. Pull the nearby grille out a couple of inches and detach the electrical connection to the dimmer switch. Remove the dimmer switch from the dashboard.

Remove the steering column covers. Unscrew the three retaining screws on the bottom of the lower steering column cover with a Torx screwdriver. Pull the tilt lever away from the steering column to remove it. Detach the two steering column covers from each other and remove the steering column covers.

Remove the instrument cluster trim and instrument cluster. Remove the instrument cluster trim retaining screws with a Phillips head screwdriver. Place a flat head screwdriver behind the trim piece extending to the passenger side of the dashboard and pry it away from the dashboard. Pull the instrument cluster trim piece from the instrument cluster and dashboard. Remove the retaining screws holding the instrument cluster in place with a Phillips head screwdriver. Pull the instrument cluster from the dashboard, detach the electrical connections from the back of the cluster and remove the cluster from the interior.

Remove the driver's and passenger's knee bolster under the instrument cluster. Place a flat head screwdriver under the center of the retaining push-pins and pop out the center of the pin. Pull out the retaining push-pins after popping out the center of the pin. Remove the retaining screws with a Phillips head screwdriver. Pull the two halves of the knee bolster away from the dashboard to detach the retaining clips and remove them from the interior. Repeat this process on the passenger's knee bolster.

Remove the center instrument panel trim piece. Place a flat head screwdriver behind the ignition trim piece on models that have the ignition located on the dashboard. Pry out the ignition trim. Place the flat head screwdriver behind the center instrument panel trim and pry it away from the dashboard to dislodge the retaining clips. Detach the electrical connectors from the back of the panel trim piece and remove it from the interior.

Remove the glove box. Squeeze the two tabs on the lower edges of the glove box together and pull the glove box away from the dashboard until it clears the bumper stops on the dashboard. Remove it from the interior.

Remove the defroster and vent grilles. Place a flat head screwdriver behind the defroster grille and pry it away from the dashboard. Repeat this process for the remaining vent grilles located on the dashboard.

Slide the ashtray out in the open position. Depress the retaining clip on the top of the ashtray and remove it from the dashboard. Remove the retaining screws securing the ashtray housing with a Phillips head screwdriver, then pull the housing away from the dashboard. Detach the electrical connection from the rear of the housing and remove the housing from the interior.

Remove the climate control assembly and stereo. Remove the retaining screws for both the climate control assembly and stereo with a Torx screwdriver. Pull the climate control assembly away from the dashboard, detach the electrical connections from the rear of the assembly and remove it from the interior. Pull the stereo out and remove the wiring harness and antenna connection from the rear of the stereo. Remove the stereo from the interior.

Remove the steering wheel and steering wheel components. Unscrew the retaining screws on the wiper switch on the right side of the steering column, and the light switch on the left side of the column, with a Torx screwdriver. Unplug the electrical connections and remove both switches from the column. Remove the two screws on the rear of the airbag module that secures that module to the steering wheel with a Torx screwdriver. Pull the airbag module away from the steering wheel. Twist the electrical connector counterclockwise to detach the horn connector. Depress the tabs on the module electrical connector to unplug the connector from the module. Remove the module from the interior. Remove the center steering wheel nut with a socket wrench. Place a steering wheel puller onto the steering wheel, aligning the center bolt on the puller with the shaft of the steering wheel. Turn the center of the puller with a socket wrench to dislodge the steering wheel from the shaft. Remove the puller and wheel from the interior.

Remove the steering column. Depress the snap ring holding the clockspring to the steering shaft with pliers. Follow the clockspring wiring and cut any wire ties holding the wiring for the clockspring in place with wire cutters. Detach the electrical connections for the clockspring and remove it from the interior. Pull the steering column boot back from the steering column and remove the shaft pinch bolt with a wrench. Remove the two mounting bolts on the lower part of the column with a socket wrench. Place a flat head screwdriver between the lower column and shaft joint and pry the two pieces apart. Remove the two upper column mounting bolts with a socket wrench. Lower the column, turn it slightly counterclockwise, then remove it from the dashboard.

Remove the center console. Engage the parking brake and place the vehicle in Neutral. Place a flat head screwdriver under the gear shift trim on the center console and pry it away from the center console. Rotate the trim piece while lifting it over the shift knob. Remove the center console retaining screws with a Phillips head screwdriver. Lift the center console up over the shift knob and out of the interior.

Remove the pillar trim on each side of the interior. Place a flat head screwdriver behind the trim on the pillars on both sides of the interior. The pillars stretch from the dashboard to the roof. Pry the trim away from the pillars and remove it from the interior.

Remove the dashboard. Remove the retaining screws on the left and right ends of the dashboard with a Phillips head screwdriver. Remove the bolt attaching the electrical connection on the left end of the dashboard with a socket wrench. Detach the electrical connection on the right end of the dashboard. Place a flat head screwdriver under the front window trim, located near the bottom of the windshield, and pry the trim from the dashboard. Remove the bolts under this piece of trim with a socket wrench. Inspect the dashboard for any remaining retaining screws and remove them with a Phillips head screwdriver. Pull the dashboard from the firewall and away from the cowl supports and remove it from the interior.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Phillips head screwdriver

  • Flat head screwdriver

  • Torx screwdriver set

  • Steering wheel puller

  • Pliers

  • Wire cutters

 How to Remove the Dashboard on a Pontiac Vibe

Removing the Trim Panels

Disconnect the negative terminal of the Vibe's battery, loosening the cable clamp with a wrench.

Pull out the center knob on the heating/air conditioning controls and remove the screw behind the knob with a screwdriver. Pry out all the switches on the lower center panel with a flat-head screwdriver. Disconnect the electrical connectors behind the switches and pry the panel off its clips.

Pry out the upper center trim panel in the same manner as the lower one and disconnect the electrical connectors behind it.

Detach the screws for the lower half of the steering column cover with the screwdriver. Separate the two halves of the cover.

Open the armrest compartment on the center console. Remove the screws for the console, some of which are in the compartment, and remove the console.

Open the glove box and remove the single screw in the right corner. Squeeze the box on its sides to clear the stoppers and pull the box off its clips.

Pry off the scuff plates at the lower corners of the inner door frame. Remove the one screw for the kick panel that is behind the plate and remove the kick panel at each side of the dash.

Removing the Instrument Panel

Unplug the electrical connector for the passenger's air bag, which is located inside the glove box opening.

Loosen the screws for the driver's air bag with a Torx wrench until the screw's grooves catch on the screw case. Remove the air bag module from the wheel and disconnect its electrical connectors with a screwdriver.

Mark the steering wheel's relationship to the shaft with a marker if there are no marks already. Unplug the cruise control's electrical connector if so equipped. Remove the wheel's retaining nut with a wrench. Remove the wheel with a steering wheel puller.

Lower the steering column and pry the instrument cluster bezel from the panel. Remove the cluster's top mounting screw with a screwdriver. Pry out the bottom clips with a flat tool. Pull out the cluster and disconnect its connectors.

Pry out the air vents in the upper instrument panel and the trim panels along the windshield pillars using a trim stick.

Remove the three screws for the upper instrument panel with your screwdriver. Release its clips and claw tabs. Pull the panel toward the rear of the car to remove it.

Disconnect the hood release handle from the lower instrument panel. Pry open its clip with a flat tool. Release the cable end and pryi off the plastic housing. Pry up the pins fastening the lower air ducts.

Remove the fasteners for the lower panel, which were concealed by the upper panel, and pull off the panel. If it doesn't come off easily, you have not removed all the fasteners.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Screwdrivers

  • Trim stick

  • Thin, flat tool

  • Steering wheel puller