How to Replace a Car's Dashboard

by Contributor

A car's dashboard is a vulnerable part that endures continual exposure to the sun. In the winter, the dashboard cools when the car is parked, but receives a blast of hot air when you turn on the heater. The extreme temperature fluctuations can leave ugly cracks in the dashboard. These cracks are almost impossible to repair. Learn how to replace a car's dashboard by following these steps.

Disconnect the battery before doing any repair work on the car. This can prevent an injury to you and damage to your car's electrical system.

Remove the steering wheel, instrument cluster, glove box, air vents and all remaining screws/panels on the dash. Unplug any connections to the instrument cluster and remove it completely. Also, remove trim pieces on the A-pillar running from the dash up to the ceiling along the windshield.

Take the dashboard out slowly and carefully. Remove any bolts or screws still holding it in place. Be careful to not break any plastic tabs or parts that remain inside the car. Use a flathead screwdriver to help remove the dashboard.

Lay the old dash face down next to the new dash. There may be parts that need to be taken from the old dash and used on the new dash. Some clips and brackets can be reused. Remove the vehicle identification number (VIN) tag and screw it in place on the new dashboard.

Fit the new dashboard into the car. Having someone to help at this stage makes the installation easier. Carefully fit the dashboard in position and slide it into place.

Assemble the dashboard in the reverse steps of disassembly. Fit the air ducts back into the dash, replace bolts and screws, glove box, air vents, instrument cluster and steering wheel. Remember to connect plugs back into the instrument cluster before screwing it into place.

Connect the battery and test everything to make sure it works. Test the radio, lights, air, heat and instrument panel.

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