How to Repair a Peeling Dashboard

by Robert Russell

Dashboards take a lot of abuse from exposure to sunlight and UV rays. The result is faded and peeling paint. The sun exposure also causes the vinyl to dry out and crack. Repairing your dashboard before the damage is too severe is the best way to protect it. By removing the peeling paint and repainting the dashboard, you prolong the life of your dashboard as well as improve the appearance of the car.

Carefully inspect the dashboard for peeling paints and cracks. Sand the peeling paint with 200 grit sandpaper. Sand the cracks and damaged areas with 400 grit sandpaper until the surface is level and smooth.

Clean the dashboard with a mixture of warm water, grease cutting dish detergent, and an abrasive pad or sponge. Rinse the dashboard with a clean damp cloth. Dry the dashboard with a towel.

Protect the surrounding areas around the dashboard with newspaper and blue painter's tape. Cover the windshield with newspaper and tape around the edges of the newspaper. Tape over the radio and gauges.

Lightly sand the entire dashboard with 220 grit sandpaper. Sanding the vinyl surface helps the paint adhere better.

Clean the surface with isopropyl alcohol and a clean cloth to remove the last traces of grease and other contaminants.

Fill in gaps and cracks with a primer/sealer, which can be purchased at an auto parts store.

Apply two light coats of primer, which also can be purchased the at the auto parts store. Priming the dashboard provides better adhesion for the top coat. Hold the nozzle of the can eight to 10 inches above the dashboard and apply the primer with slow, even motions. Let the primer dry before applying the second coat.

Apply two light coats of vinyl spray paint. Vinyl spray paint is also available at the auto parts store. Hold the nozzle eight to 10 inches above the dashboard and apply the paint in slow, even motions. Let the first coat thoroughly dry before applying the finish coat.

Items you will need

About the Author

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images