How to Paint My Plastic Dashboard

Written by mark morris
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Dashboards take a lot of abuse. They spend their entire lives in harsh sunlight. They are subjected to extremes of temperature. Many get beaten in frustration on a regular basis. Dashboards are one of the main elements of an auto interior. Over time the dashboard colour begins to fade. If left unchecked the UV deterioration will cause splits and cracks. Sealing the surface of the dash and restoring the UV protection can slow down the degradation.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Haynes or other repair manual
  • Screw drivers
  • Pliers
  • Spray primer
  • Spray paint

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    Painting the Dash

  1. 1

    Remove the dashboard. Consult a repair manual such as Haynes to get specific information about how to unclip and remove your specific dashboard. In general, proceed slowly and don't force anything. Keep track of screws. Separate the screws and other hardware according to the section of the dash they were taken from. Keeping hardware in baggies labelled with a Sharpie works well. Draw a diagram, if one is not available, to mark where the hardware goes.

  2. 2

    Clean the dash thoroughly with detergent and water. Be sure to get all the oil and dust from the surface. Towel off excess moisture and allow the dash to dry before continuing.

  3. 3

    Spray a coat of primer evenly over the dash. Be sure to cover the entire surface. Spray from eight to ten inches away. Keep the can moving in short bursts to avoid runs or drips. Allow the primer to dry.

  4. 4

    Paint the dash in your choice of colours. Use a plastic spray paint, such as Krylon for plastic. Make sure you keep the paint can moving and use short, even bursts to cover the surface. Use at least two coats of paint to be sure the dashboard is evenly coated.

  5. 5

    Reinstall the dashboard into the car. If directions are provided in your manual, follow them. If not, reverse the process of removal. Remember not to force anything. Be sure to reattach all screws and snug them down securely to avoid dash rattle. Use a dashboard sun visor to keep your newly painted dash from fading too quickly.

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